Everyone is interested to know
something about someoneand about
the experiences of other people.
Whenever we hear story that is all
made-up and is not presented as
objectively as possibloe, it is called
Because fiction is not factual, we are transported
to a make-believe world. The world of fiction,
however, resembles our world for we can see
real-life characters that play roles in situations
and places almost similar to our conditions and
surroundings. Sometimes, we even see ourselves
in the characters or we relate them to some reallife people we know.
Since the beginning of time, human beings have
taken pleasure in following and participating in
the imaginary adventures and experience of
The first stories belong to the realm of myth and legend –
of origins and extraordinary events as our ancestors told
about their wars, conquests, births, deaths, as well as the
phenomena of nature. Thus, even before the invention of
the printed page in the middle of the 15th century, oral
literature, which included epics, myths, legends, and fables
had been circulating by word-of-mouth for centuries.
The elements of oral storytelling became the bases for all
later narratives but with the invention of writing the basic
form of the story changed.
Fiction is any imaginative recreation and reconstruction of
life. It includes short stories and novels. The novel and
short story differ from each other only in length and
complexity. The novel is made longer because of several
complications and twists to its plot.
Fiction as a literary form is distinguishable because of its
elements, which are as follows:
Setting is the time and location in which the story takes
place. This also consists of the use of local colar that is
defined as the superficial elements of setting, dialects and
Characters are the representations of a human being – the
complex combination of both inner and outer self. There
are five ways of revealing lietrary characters:
1. what the characters do along with the circumstances
in which the do it.
2. how the characters are described – both by their
persons and their environment.
3. What the characters say and think
4. What other characters say about them
5. What the author says about them
In addition fictional characters are classified ito two
The round and flat characters. The round character is a
fully developed character that recognizes chnages with
or adjusts to circumstances.
The flat character does not grow and remains the same.
This type of character exhibits conventional traits and is
known as the stock or stereotype.
Plot is the way the actions are arranged in the
story. The following are examples of plotted
Linear actions or events arranged
chronologically. This is the most common plot
because it follows the natural order of events.
Circular – this type of development combines
linear with flasback. The opening scene will be
repeated in the series toward or at the end.
En medias res – the story begins in the middle
part of the action.
Point of view determines who tells
Omniscient point of view delves
into the minds of the characters at
any point in the story.
First person point of view, the
narrator may be the protagonist, an
observer, a minor character, or the
These three types of plots are called closed plots because
they normally follow the pyramid pattern of devlopment.
The following aspects form the skeletal pattern of closed
Exposition lays out the main characters, their backgrounds,
characteristics, interests, goals and limitations, potentials,
and basic assumptions.
Complication is the onset of the major conflict in the plot.
Crisis is the point in which curiosity, uncertainty, and
tension are greatest.
Climax is the story’s highest point which may take the
shape of a decision, an action, an affirmation, or a
Denoument is the finishing of things right after the climax.
Theme is described as a significant truth about
life and human nature that is illustrated in the
actions, preoccupations, and decisions of the
characters. Some principles in stating the theme
of the story have to be observed:
1. It should be expressed in complete
2. It must be stated as a generalization about
3. It must account for all major details of the
4. It may be stated in more than one way.
5. It should avoid statements that reduce the
theme to some familiar saying or moral.
Fiction follows a complex design. The narrative technique,
point of view, and plot contribute to form patterns. Other
elements like setting, characters, theme and conflict help
develop a certain effect or unity.
The language of fiction, which is as important as patterns
and structures, relies on images and symbols. These
images and symbols convey meaning that appeal to the
senses, emotions, imagination and intellect.
Images are usually characterized by concrete qualities
rather than abstract meanings. They appeal to the senses
of tastes, smell, feel, sound or sight.
Symbolism can appear almost anywhere in fiction, in
characters, plots, objects and situations.
Symbols stand for something other than themselves. They
bring to mind not their own concrete qualities but the idea
or abstraction that is associated with them.
Enjoyment is the first aim and justification of
reading fiction. Unless fiction gives something
more than pleasure, it hardly justifies itself as a
subject of study. If fiction does not expand or
refine our minds or quicken our sense of life, its
value is not greater than watching a movie or
playing basketball. Therefore, the reading and
teaching of fiction must yield not only enjoyment
but also understanding.
The following strategies proposed by Purves and beach
(1987) point out five basic categories of response
strategies, for literature assignments that would contribute
to student’s appreciations and understanding of short
Engaging: defining one’s emotional experience or
relationship with a text.
Connecting: relating similar experiences, attitudes,
knowledge of other texts to the texts.
Describing: describing the nature of a charactre’s acts,
traits, beliefs, plans, goals or an author’s use of language.
Interpreting: inferring, explaining or interpreting the
symbolic meaning of acts, author’s intentions, character’s
perspectives, themes, social norms, predictions, or
difficulties in understanding the text.
Judging: judging the characters ot the quality of the text.
It is important to establish a number of ways in
which a text can be explored. Role play,
questionnaires, visuals and many other activities
can help encourage and sustain the students’
interest in reading fiction specially the longer type
of narrative which is the novel. Studen-centered
activities are particularly important when working
with students who are not literature speacialists
and who may not as yet have developed the
desire to read literature on their own initiative.
Journal writing is a good example of an engaging
task. The recording of experiences, ideas,
insights, or reflections on a regular basis
encourages students to articulate their ideas than
merely restating or recasting information. In a
study by Newell and Weingart (1986), students
who were asked to write their own opinion about
a text wrote significantly longer essays at a
higher level of interpretation than did students
who were assigned a definite topic.
The more involved the students are in narrative
writing, the better able they are to write. In the
process of writing their journals, students become
more aware of and begin to trust their own
increases, more students, including those
reluctant writers, compose with passion and
Alice Stalker suggests five ways to help firsttime journal users:
• Explain the journal assignment in detail by
using students’ examples as much as possible.
• Set aside regular class time for journal writing
as a way of establishing routine.
• Stimulate journal writing through quotations ,
songs, poems, stories, etc.
• Encourage disgressions in the entries.
• Enclose clippings and cartoons and other trivia
that the students may be familiar with.
A show-and-tell activity provides
opportunity for students to talk
about their choice readings and
share their journal entries on a
Movie poster making is a novel way of
discussing the important elements of fiction.
Instead of the typical question and answer
discussion, the students present their arguments
with regard to their ‘production’ that is, their
choice of performers, setting, costumes, and
highlighting of events. In addition, their choice of
illustration and ad blurb induicate their
understanding of the theme. Overall, the
students are more involved and interested.
Overall, the reading and teaching of fiction or
literature for that matter must take into
consideration the following reasons:
• Maintain interest and involvement by using a
variety of student-centered activities.
• Tap the resources of knowledge and
experience of the students.
• Help students explore their own responses.
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