What is Literature?
Literature is any form of writing which deals with the significant human experience -- his society
and his experiences -- which is artistically conceived for an effect.
All writings in prose, or verse, especially those of imaginative or critical characteristics.
Literature is the enactment of human possibilities, or a vehicle that will help us discover more
about ourselves and the meaning we can make of life.
It has two major features: Language and Imagination --- that when combined, they produce a
fictional world that reflects reality.
Literature vs. Other Academic Branches
forward-looking or futuristic backward looking
selective; aims to achieve ultimate beauty detailed and chronologically arranged
presents universal or general idea presents the specific and the particular
ideas are presented indirectly presents ideas directly
has its own specific subjects deals with issues
deals mainly with fiction deals with the facts of life
includes every aspect of human
includes every aspect of human social
focus is on the story more research oriented and causal in nature
cultivates creative thinking leading to
scientific study of mental processes and
expresses the deepest of human
explores thoughts, feelings and actions
emphasizes the cultivation of human
emotions and values
focuses on the working of the nervous
Two major types of Literature
Forms of Literature
1. Fiction - Literature of Power. Deals with fictitious characters/ persons that presents actual
2. Non-fiction - Literature of Knowledge. Deals with actual facts, experiences, ideas or
Genres of Literature
1. Prose - is any writing or speech in its normal continuous form, without the rhythmic or
visual line structure of poetry.
Drama – theatrical dialogue performed on stage, consisting of five acts.
Sub-types of drama
Tragedy – the major character faces bad luck, tragedy, elements of horror and
struggle; usually concludes with the death of a person.
Example: The Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer
Comedy – the lead character overcomes the conflicts and usually has a happy
– Comes from the Greek word “komos”, meaning festivity or
Melodrama – is a blend of two nouns, ‘melody’ and ‘drama’
– A musical play, can have a sad mood but has a happy ending for
the principal character.
Example: Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Tragicomedy – begins with a serious mood but has a happy ending.
Myths – fairytales with lots of adventure and magic. It lacks scientific proof.
Examples: Ramayana and Mahabharata
Folktale – religious story, magic and superstitions such as fables, proverbs, etc.
Novels – a narrative or tale of considerable length in which characters and actions
represent the real life (past or present times). It can also cover the social and political
aspects. Examples are El Filibusterismo and Noli Me Tangere.
Short Story – a prose or narrative which concentrates on a uniform effect and the totality
of the effect is the main objective. Usually consists of 2,000 to 10,000 words.
Elements of Fiction (Short Story)
1. Plot – it is the skeletal framework of the story wherein the events are arranged in a
Parts of the Plot:
Exposition – refers to the layout of the materials of the story or introduction.
Complication – rising action where the major conflict of the story are presented.
Climax – the peak of the story or action where the dilemma is faced by the main
Resolution – falling action.
Denouement – ending/conclusion.
2. Setting – the time and place of action. It refers to the physical locale, climatic conditions
and historical period where the story is taking place.
3. Character – the set of people embodied within a human experience. The two major
characters are the protagonist and antagonist.
4. Theme- the generalization about human life or character that a story explicitly or
implicitly embodies a philosophical truth. It is the central idea of the story and revolved
around the significant human experience.
5. Point of view – the narrative voice of the story. It is the vantage point from which the
characters, actions and events are seen.
First Person POV – “I or We” limited to himself.
Dramatic/ Objective POV – story revealed through the dialogues between the
characters and through their actions.
Omniscient POV – the voice is outside the work which allows the descriptions of the
inner thoughts and emotions of any and all the characters in the story.
6. Conflict – the dilemma faced by the main character of the story.
Types of Conflicts:
Person Vs. Self
Person Vs. Person
Person Vs. Society
Person Vs. Nature
Person Vs. Supernatural
Person Vs. Machine or Technology
2. Poetry - relies more o the figures of speech, symbolism ad imagery. It also relies more
than pose on the sound and rhythm of speech and how it explains why it often uses rhyme
- Comes from the Greek poiesis — with a broad meaning of a "making" (making:
a forming, creating, or the art of poetry or poem)
Poetic License – the liberty given to poets to do whatever they want to do with the
language. It can violate the rules of grammar, insert new words and follow unusual
syntactical arrangements to meet the requirement of their poem.
Two types of poetry:
a. Narrative poetry - describes important events in life, real or imaginary.
Types of Narrative Poetry:
Epic - An extended narrative about heroic exploits often under supernatural control. It
may deal with heroes and gods.
Metrical Romance – a long rambling story which embodies the ideals of the medieval
times (age of chivalry); talks about the lives and adventures of the nobility, of
chivalry and knighthood Ex. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Metrical Tale – a long narrative poem which tells of the lives of ordinary people; has
element of realism. Ex. Decameron (Giovanni Boccaccio), The Canterbury Tales
Ballad – a narrative about (1) a heroic deed, (2) love episode/romantic encounter or
(3) a supernatural element, but simpler than the epic, metrical romance and metrical
tale. Ex. Sir Patric k Spens, Lochinvar, Lord Randal.
b. LYRIC POETRY - refers to the kind of poetry that is meant to be sung with the
accompaniment of a lyre, but now this applies to any type of poetry that expresses
emotions and feelings of the poet.
Types of Lyric Poetry:
A. Folksongs (Awiting Bayan)
These are short poems intended to be sung. The common theme is love, despair,
grief, doubt, joy, hope and sorrow.
A lyric poem of 14 lines dealing with an emotion, a feeling of an idea.
This is a lyric poem, which expresses feelings of grief and melancholy and whose
theme is death.
A poem of noble feeling, expressed with dignity, with no definite syllables or
definite number of lines in a stanza.
E. Psalm (Dalit)
It is a sound praising god or the Virgin Mary and containing a philosophy of life.
f. Song (Awit)
Has a measure of 12 syllables per line (dodecasyllabic) and slowly sung to the
accompaniment of a guitar or Banduria.
Has a measure of eight syllables per line (octosyllabic) and recited to a martial
Elements of Poetry:
a. Theme – the soul of the poem. It tells what the poet wants to express through is
words which may either be a thought, a feeling, an observation, a story or an
b. Symbolism – the expressions that are not directly stated in the poem to express deep
hidden meaning behind the words used by the poet.
c. Meter – it is the basic structure of a poem which is determined by the number of
syllables in line.
d. Rhythm – this refers to the resonation of words along with the sounds and the music
produced when the poem is read aloud and not he rhyming between two words of
f. Alliteration – use of the same consonant at the beginning of each stressed syllable
in a line of verse.
g. Figures of Speech