Literary Genres 8th Grade Literature Notes • Genre: a class or category of similar pieces of writing. • Fiction is a story that is fake, made-up, or not real. • Non-fiction is a story that is not fake, or in other words, real. FICTION:Realistic Fiction Drama • Set in modern times • Includes a script • Could also be a mystery, adventure, comedy • Performed for audiences • Characters face conflict that could happen in • EX: Plays such as Annie, Jr., Romeo and Juliet real life • Realistic setting, events, & characters Mystery • Any time period • EX: The Outsiders, The Shadow Club • Suspenseful, clues, crime, red herrings,Science Fiction suspects, victims • Typically set in the future • Mystery is solved by the end of the story • Science or technology alters the plot • Can be realistic setting, events, & characters • Includes a human element, explaining what • EX: Nancy Drew, Goosebumps, Hardy Boys effect new discoveries, happenings and Poetry scientific developments will have on us in the • Written in verses or poems future. • May have rhyme scheme, figurative language • Characters may face unusual or unreal conflicts • Mood may be serious, humorous, sad such as robots, end of the world, aliens, etc. • May tell a story • EX:The Hunger Games, The City of Ember • EX: “Nothing Gold Can Stay”Historical Fiction • Set in the past • Setting, especially time period, is important • Characters and events could be real or imaginary • Accurate portrayal of life during that time NON-FICTION: • EX: Soldier’s Heart Biography • Written about real people, dead or livingFantasy / Fairytale • True and factual • Contains elements that are not realistic • Uses magic and other supernatural phenomena • EX: The Real Story of Malcolm X as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting Autobiography • Settings: castles, magic worlds • Written about you by you • Characters: kings, princesses, dragons, • True and factual wizards, witches, ogres • EX: 3 Things About Me Essay • EX: “Cinderella,” Eragon InformationalFolktale / Legend / Myth • Factual • Passed down through the generations • Purpose is to convey information to the • Fables usually teach a moral or lesson with audience animals that are like humans • May have index and/or glossary Ex: “The Tortoise and the Hare” • Can be magazines, textbooks, brochures, • Tall tales use exaggeration online databases, manuals, etc. EX: “Paul Bunyan” • EX: Time for Kids, All About Elephants, • Myths and legends explain a phenomenon in National Geographic nature, include gods and goddesses
EX: “How the Tiger Got its Stripes” 8th Grade Notes: Telling Tales OverviewFolktales: • Passed along by word of mouth • Over time, changed by the teller (details omitted, altered to suit listener)
• Have no single author • Creations of an entire culture, belong to everyone in itFables: • use talking animal characters to teach us a practical lesson about lifeMyths: • society’s oldest stories and reflect deep religious traditions/beliefs • explains how the world came to be, how humans were createdLegends (Tall-Tales): • come from society’s recent past • inspired by real people or events • abilities & achievements of folk heroes are exaggerated and sometimes humorousUrban Legends: • modern day tales of bizarre, horrible, spooky, or hilarious events, which seem believable Literary elements specific to telling tales:Motif - character, image, event or theme that appears in literature of many cultures.Trickster- clever, mischievous character seems to appear in every culture.Plot Twist- an unexpected development or turn of events.Exaggeration- overstating something, usually for the purpose of creating a comiceffect.Standard English – the most widely accepted form of English in the United States(this is what’s taught in school, used in newspapers and spoken by newscasters).Dialect – a way of speaking used in a particular region or by a certain group of people. 8th Grade Notes: Telling Tales Folktales & Fables: Stories of a PeopleStories of all kinds have always been an important part of the American experience. Native Americanpeoples began our storytelling tradition, using tales to teach as well as to entertain. When othergroups of people came to America, they brought their own tales with them from their homelands. Asthese groups adapted to life in this country, the stories changed to reflect their new circumstances.
Folktales: • Folktales are often referred to as fairytales, but should not be limited to this definition. • Folktales have been used for centuries as a way of teaching children about the truths of the culture in which they live. • Folktales are traditionally passed along by word of mouth. • Over time they have changed as tellers added, omitted, and altered details to suit their listeners. • Folktales have no single author; they are the creations of an entire culture and belong to everyone in it. • Characteristics most commonly found in folktales are: o The story often takes place in a distant land or remote past: “Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a long time ago,” etc. o The story establishes a clear difference between good and evil, right and wrong, good and bad; and will often label characters as such early in the story. o The story will most likely be repetitive, rhythmic, or will use rhyme to engage the audience. o The characters in the story will often be aided by trickery, magic, or the help of a powerful friend. o Folktales often contain a “stock” setting such as a forest, a castle, a bridge, a cave, etc. o In the end, good is rewarded and evil is punished. The conclusion is satisfying to the listener because everything comes to a nice, neat finish.Fables: • Fables are a kind of folktale that usually uses animal characters to teach us practical lessons about life. • Fables will generally contain the following characteristics and patterns:
o The story will be very brief and concise. o Time and place are usually irrelevant. o The characters are usually animals, and will be named in the title. o The downfall of a character will lead directly to the conclusion and moral of the story. o The moral will be stated in one sentence and will teach an easily understood lesson. Myths: A Matter of BeliefMyths, a society’s oldest stories, reflect some of its deep religious traditions and beliefs. Nearly everyculture has creation myths, stories told that explain how the world came to be or how human beingswere created. Other myths explain different aspects of life and the natural world.Myths: • A myth can be considered a “religious story,” and will involve the existence and activities of a supernatural being. • Certain themes, truths, and elements of myths can often be compared to myths from other cultures. • In order for a story to be classified as a myth, it must contain all of the following specific characteristics: o The story must demonstrate the existence and activities of gods and demigods. o It will seek to explain at least some aspect of the origin or manner of things (where people came from, how rainbows first came to be, why whales have blow spouts, why people and animals feel hunger, etc.). o It is not an isolated tale but connects in some significant way with other similar stories within a culture. o Mortals will have direct access to and communication with the gods of their culture. Legends & Tall Tales: The Historical ConnectionLegends come from a society’s more recent past; most were inspired by real people and real events.Pocahontas, Gregorio Cortez, Annie Oakley, and Davy Crockett did exist, like many other Americanswhose names became legendary. Yet the abilities and achievements of the folk heroes often bearlittle resemblance to those of the people on whom they are based. Some of these legendary figureshave been immortalized in tall tales.
Tall Tales: • A tall tale is a uniquely American type of humorous folklore not meant to be believed. • Throughout history people have told and written stories about their heroes, but a tall tale is a special kind of hero story because the heroes’ attributes are always exaggerated and their accomplishments are always outrageous. • Tall tales can be identified by the following characteristics: o Details will be exaggerated to ridiculous proportions to describe something as larger, or more overwhelming, than it really is. o The story, although clearly unbelievable, will be told as a matter of fact. o The narrator and characters will often use the dialect and slang of the region in which the story takes place. o Tall tales are similar to myths in that they often explain the origin of something in nature, but they are told in a humorous way. Urban Legends: “This Really Happened”Folktales aren’t just stories from long ago, told by people to pass the time before TV was invented.Folk tales are being created all the time – and you may have participated in passing them on withouteven realizing it. Have you ever heard a story about someone who found a rat in an order of friedchicken? How about stories about alligators in sewers, or the tale of the hitchhiker who vanishes likea ghost? Modern day tales of the bizarre, horrible, spooky, or hilarious; many of which seembelievable, are known as urban legends.
Urban Legends: • Urban legends are popular stories alleged to be true. • They are passed from individual to individual via oral or written (e.g. forwarded email) communication. • Because they end up being repeated by many different people in many different places, the stories tend to change over time. Hence, no two versions of an urban legend are ever exactly alike; there can be as many variants as there are tellers of the tale. • Urban legends can be identified by the following characteristics: o Urban legends are typically about outlandish, humiliating, humorous, terrifying, or supernatural events. o Urban legends always seem to happen to someone other than the teller. You’ll rarely find anyone who had it happen to them (e.g. "I heard this from a friend of a friend"). o People who tell urban legends claim that the story comes from trustworthy sources to strengthen the story’s credibility (e.g. "This really happened to my sisters co-workers hairdresser"). o Sometimes, but not always, theres an implied moral message, (e.g., "Be careful, or the same horrible [or embarrassing, or enraging, or inexplicable, etc.] thing might happen to you").