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202074 VCE Literature Cover 2pp - Macmillan · PDF fileVCE LITERATURE STEPS TO SUCCESS VCE ... Different genres have their own unique conventions, ... but also psychological and

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  • Title978 1 4202 3263 9

    TitleDigital-only version978 1 4202 3270 7

    TitleDigital Teacher Support 978 1 4202 3264 6

    Title978 1 4202 3263 9

    TitleDigital-only version978 1 4202 3270 7

    TitleDigital Teacher Support 978 1 4202 3264 6

    Title978 1 4202 3263 9

    TitleDigital-only version978 1 4202 3270 7

    TitleDigital Teacher Support 978 1 4202 3264 6

    Title978 1 4202 3263 9

    TitleDigital-only version978 1 4202 3270 7

    TitleDigital Teacher Support 978 1 4202 3264 6

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  • ISBN: 978 1 4586 6479 2 2 FEATURES OF LITERARY TEXTS 23

    2 FEATURES OF LITERARY TEXTS It might be useful to start with the type of text that

    has been set for your fi rst outcome, and then read the information relating to the other texts when you need to.

    The features of various kinds of texts are described in this chapter. Before you engage in a more in-depth analysis and start working on your Literature outcomes, you should read through this information carefully, focusing on the text types that are relevant to your course. Do this in conjunction with your second readings.

    NOVELSIt is widely accepted that novels written in English, as we know them today, fi rst appeared in the early 18th century with texts such as Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (published in 1719) and Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift (published in 1726). Defoes work marked the beginning of realistic fi ction as a literary genre, and while novels were not held in very high regard at fi rst, over the years the novel increasingly became accepted as an important art form.

    GenreAs you know, there is a variety of genres of novels, such as crime, romance, comedy, fantasy, science fi ction, historical fi ction, magic realism, gothic horror, and mystery/thriller, to name a few. New genres appear all the time, such as chick lit and queer literature.

    Different genres have their own unique conventions, which limit what the text can say and help to convey the views and values expressed in the text. It also means that we have certain expectations when we read or view texts belonging to a particular genre. Some examples of generic conventions are listed below.

    Romantic fiction ) There will be resolved or unresolved sexual tension. ) Fidelity and constancy in the relationship are valued and will be rewarded. ) There will be complications in the relationship, but these complications will be resolved. ) Usually, the romantic relationship will have a happy ending.

    Note that the information about novels in this section is also relevant to short stories.

    Note that generic conventions are not fi xed. Novels can resist them as well as follow them.

    Not to be confused with 'romance fi ction'. See page 26.SAMP

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  • ISBN: 978 1 4586 6479 224 VCE LITER ATURE STEPS TO SUCCESS

    Crime fiction ) If the detective thinks logically, the truth will be revealed and the criminal will be caught. ) The detective will be brave, tough, intelligent and street-wise. ) There will be clues and mysteries along the way and the denouement will be plausible,

    but not predictable.

    Fantasy ) The forces of good will triumph over evil. ) There will be male and/or female heroes who save others from disaster. ) The hero may be a reluctant hero.

    Gothic horror ) There will be monsters, nightmares, dark places and death. ) The protagonist may suffer not only physical pain, but also psychological and

    emotional pain. ) Innocence will be threatened.


    1 What is the genre of the novel you are studying? List the title, author and genre below.

    2 What conventions would you expect the novel to have, given its genre?

    3 As you study the novel, think about whether or not it fulfils the expectations of its genre.

    4 Think about what happens if a text does not live up to the readers expectations. For example, why would the author of romantic fiction not provide a happy ending? How would you feel about this? Would you feel somehow cheated? Why/why not?SA




  • ISBN: 978 1 4586 6479 2 2 FEATURES OF LITERARY TEXTS 25

    Novels vary in genre, subject matter, language and style, but they all have certain features in common and these are described below.

    SettingsWithin the novel, and also in other narrative texts, there will be a number of different physical environments inhabited by the characters. These environments may have an impact on the characters and the plot, and may add mood or atmosphere. The physical landscape may take on symbolic signifi cance and refl ect the emotional state of the characters. The landscapes and houses in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bront, for example, refl ect the natures and personalities of the characters who live there.


    Draw up a grid or table of the various settings in the novel, play, film or short story that you are studying for an analytical outcome and add information about how the settings influence the characters.

    Your table might have the following columns:

    What are the main settings?

    Who lives there?

    Why is the main character there?

    What significant events occur there?

    What impact does this setting have on the main character and other characters?

    Is there a symbolic aspect to the setting?

    The table is available as a template and can be found in the online resources.

    For example, if you were studying Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bront, you would complete details about the following settings (and you might consider the symbolism of the names of these places):

    ) Gateshead Hall ) Lowood Institute ) Thornfi eld Hall

    ) Moor House ) Ferndean Manor Settings should not be confused with sociohistorical contexts

    (see page 68).


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  • ISBN: 978 1 4586 6479 226 VCE LITER ATURE STEPS TO SUCCESS

    PlotThe writer, EM Forster, in Aspects of the Novel, explained the difference between storyline and plot in the following way:

    A story is a narrative of events, arranged in their time sequence. Plot is also a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. The king died and then the queen died is a story. The king died and then the queen died of grief is a plot.

    Sometimes there will be a main plot and one or more subplots. If there is a subplot, questions to ask include:

    ) Why is there a subplot? ) How is it linked to the main plot? Is it through

    characters, events or some other literary device, such as a motif?

    ) Does the subplot reinforce, challenge, qualify or extend a key message or idea or insight gained through the main plot?

    Sometimes there will be several different plots running concurrently and readers must keep track of this complex arrangement. Works of the fantasy genre often do this. The epic fantasy novels by George RR Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire, are an example. (You might know the fi lmed versionGame of Thrones.) In Martins work, the complex plot structure gives us the point of view of multiple characters, as each chapter focuses on a different character. In this kind of narrative, it is a good idea to use a Whos Who concept map of characters as a bookmark!

    Any plot depends on some kind of confl ict. Realist or naturalist fi ction will draw on everyday life for confl icts. The short stories of Cate Kennedy are a good example.

    On the other hand, romance fi ction will portray confl icts and events that are more dangerous or mysterious or adventurous than those in normal life. Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness is a good example. This is not to be confused with the romance genre, or romantic fi ction, which is essentially a love story.

    The exposition (or orientation) at the beginning of the story will introduce the characters and the plot. After a series of crises, culminating in a climax, the story will reach a resolution, or a denouement. There may be an unexpected twist at the end, and this must be plausible. You might know Roald Dahls short storieshe was a master of the sting in the tail kind of narrative.

    The events of the plot can be related in

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