This is an overview of what I learned this year in English Literature. There are three main types of literature, prose, poetry, and drama. Prose is writing that is not poetry. Poetry is the reading and writing of poems. Poems are “an arrangement of words, especially a rhythmical composition, sometimes rhymes, in a style more imaginative than ordinary speech or prose”, according to Webster’s Dictionary. Drama is “a composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or to tell a story usually involving conflict and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance”, also according to Webster’s Dictionary.
Some examples of Prose writing are Robinson Crusoe, books by G.A, Henty, Little Men,
Robin Hood, and A Christmas Carol. Examples of Poetry that I read are “Idylls of the King”, “The Odessey”, and “The Raven”. Examples of drama pieces I read are “The Taming of the Shrew” and
“Macbeth”. I enjoy watching movies and television shows that are dramas, but when I am reading, I prefer prose writing.
I learned about the elements of a good story. They are the characters, theme, and plot. One of my favorite books this year was A Knight of the White Cross, by G. A. Henty. The characters were brave, perseverent, and they were skillful in fighting. Some of the themes in A Knight of the White Cross are friendship, bravery, and adventure. A good plot makes a good story. A plot is the storyline of a book and is the most important part of a book. It introduces the character, themes, and other elements that make a good story. The plot of A Knight of the White Cross is that Gervaise leaves England to join the Knights of the White Cross and helps defend the Island of Rhodes from the invading Turks.
A good book has five parts to the plot. First, the exposition, which is the beginning of a story in which the characters and the setting are introduced. Then the rising action, which is where the conflict is introduced. For example, the rising action in a mystery story happens when the characters are discovering clues and getting closer to solving the mystery. The climax follows the rising action and is when the problem reaches a dramatic height. Again, for example, in a mystery story, the climax is when the characters solve the mystery by catching the bad guys or when they find the missing object. The falling action happens next and is when the story slows down and the problem or problems are resolved. Lastly comes the resolution which is the ending of a story.
Literature is often influenced by the author’s worldview and by his or her own writing style. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word worldview as “a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world”. Daniel Defoe was most likely a Christian because in his book Robinson Crusoe, Crusoe read his Bible and prayed every day while he was stranded on the island. Howard Pyle seemingly believed that all people should be free because in his book Robin Hood, he featured men and women who wanted to be free from taxation and oppressive government rule. Homer’s works were influenced by early Greek and Roman culture. This was probably what influenced the writing of “The Odessey”, a Greek mythological story. Greek mythology influenced many of Homer’s writings. We know this because in his writings he included several mythological creatures like the Cyclops, Siren, Scylla, and Charybdis.
Every author has a different writing style. G.A. Henty included numerous details in his books. He used historical facts and explained the elements of warfare to make his books informative, but also exciting! Mark Twain wrote his books in order to encourage young children to be brave and adventurous and to remind older people what is was like being a kid. William Shakespeare wrote plays, which are dramatic pieces performed on a stage. The Taming of the Shrew was a romantic comedy, but Macbeth was a tragedy. Poetry is another style of writing I read this year. Edgar Allen Poe put several dark elements into his poems, like “The Raven”. “The Raven” alludes to Heaven, Hell, and the Devil, even though it is only a four to five page poem. “Idylls of the King” is another example of poetry. It is written in the form of blank verse, which is “verse without rhyme, especially that which uses iambic pentameter”, according to Webster’s Dictionary.
Vocabulary words help analyze literature. To analyze something means to study it in greater detail. “Setting” is a vocabulary word that I learned. It tells me where the story is taking place. “Plot” is another vocabulary word I learned. This one is important because it is the “main event of a novel, play, movie, or similar work”. The vocabulary word “Metaphor” is “A figure of speech in which one thing is spoken of as if it were another”. Vocabulary words are extremely helpful if you are trying to find the meaning of the book you are reading.
I had the opportunity to read numerous famous works of literature. I had heard of some of these books, but I had never read them before. Two of my favorite books from this year are A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. They were both written by Mark Twain. Other works of literature I liked were The Taming of the Shrew and Macbeth, both written by William Shakespeare, who was an extremely famous literary author. “The Odessey” is an exceptionally famous work of literary art. It was written by Homer in the 8th century B.C. “The Odessey” has been alive for thousands of years!
Another famous book I enjoyed reading was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This book is ready by thousands of people, every year at Christmas time. It is one of my favorite books. Even though it was written over 150 years ago, it is a timeless tale. It teaches men, women, and children alike that there is more to life than making money. It teaches us to be compassionate and generous to the poor and needy. This is why it is a timeless tale.
Journey to the Center of the Earth was a favorite of mine this year. It was written by Jules Verne. Jules Verne is sometimes called the “Father of science fiction”. He even made subterranean fiction popular with his book Journey to the Center of the Earth. This book inspired a number of people to
begin using science fiction in their books and movies like, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Star Wars and many others.
Another book I read that I enjoyed reading was Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol. It is a children’s classic and it is also a timeless tale. Boys and girls, young and old, have enjoyed reading this story for dozens of years. This book has been made into several motion pictures. Its first publication was 155 years ago, but it is a book still loved and read today. I am glad I was able to read so many fantastic books this year, and learn about the authors, and expand my knowledge and understanding of literature.