Of the genres that have been tackled so far, the novel is the genre that has had the widest impact on me. The novel which is a prose narrative is a very enriching literary genre especially due to the presence of the story and the story teller. The most alluring thing about a novel is that it presents stories in a serial or sequential manner and this is what has made it to be the most prominent form of literature worldwide (McKeon 34). The novel is the best example of what a man can write.
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There are some characteristics that make the novel to be the most alluring and influential genre of literature. To start with, a novel may be written in a narrative form but it is not narrated, it exists in written form which means it is not an oral account. Secondly, very few novels contain factual accounts and almost all of them are fictional in nature. This differentiates them from myths which are near factual accounts (Readorn 99).
The fictional nature of the novels enables the writers to be more creative when they are writing and also ensures that the genre is able to focus on the totality of life and history in an artistic way. This is done through the construction of a plot in a way that a work of fiction appears as reality through the innovations and the creativity of the writer. The artistic merits in a novel are shown by the creative use of language and style to deliver the meaning.
The modern novels are even more captivating because they are characterized by landmark elements of style which the old school novels lacked. Looking at the Novel called the stranger by Albert Camus; it is radically different from the works of Dickens and Mary Shelley. This is because the creativity of the modern novelist is higher than that of the medieval or the romantic novelists especially because of the levels of civilization. The novel has since gained reputation as the most authoritative forms of literature, though it did not gain this reputation very easily. This is because the popularity has been waning and rising over time before it stabilized (Spufford 56)
According to my observation during the course, it is now evident that, the novel has become the most acceptable, popular and common mode of literature blazing the trail ahead of published plays, non fiction works and poetry. The aforementioned genres used to enjoy popularity when the novel was still struggling to make an impact. Novels are especially popular for the way they create a fantastic, spectacular world using characters that the audience either empathizes with or likes to emulate. For example, in the novel stranger by Albert Camus the author presents a man that exists only through the experiences of the senses.
The life of this man called Meursault is presented in a way that makes this book to appear simple though everything has been carefully planned to communicate the details of the fictious life of the character from an existentialist point of view. The creativity of the writer is evident through the main character who is oblivious of the issue of human existence which makes the situation to be a bit absurd. This is because his actions are real and he also undergoes human experiences.
This creative weaving of the plot creates an episodic significance that can only be found in a novel. The way this novel is divided into two parts that give two stories gives credibility to the fictious story to an extent that the readers can find themselves suffering from affective fallacy. This is especially because the thematic dispensation of the novel is likely to raise emotion because in this case absurdity overshadows responsibility (Camus 78). The absurdity in this case is the creation of a justice system so that murder can be justified through capital punishment.
The arguments and the sequences that are created in a novel are well though out and present a realm of exploration, innovation and creativity that doesn’t have borders. They have within them, various subgenres that sprout out tackling every type of subject that can be thought of in the world.
There is a wide arrange of imaginary elements that can be put in a novel in a manner that is cost effective as opposed to movies which present the same information as the novel but in a way that really stretches the financial muscle of the creator (Andersen & Sauer, 5). No form of literature in the contemporary world can rival the novel in the way it uses language and style to create an art that portrays the totality of human life and history in a very creative manner that makes things that are outright fictious to appears so real that the audience almost suffer from the affective fallacy because of the way the novel brings them closer to the real world.
The novel is the only literary genre that gives a panoramic outlook to the social and cultural issues from a historical perspective. In a novel, there is a hero. The hero in a novel can be a tragic hero, an epic hero or a romantic hero. In a novel, the hero is usually separated from the issues being tackled by the novel (Madden 105). This means that the hero in a novel is alienated and very realistic because the values that the heroes have do not integrate with those that are there in the cultural system. This makes the novel to be a unique form of literature because the alienation of the hero from the cultural values makes it possible to perform a character study (Reid 44).
The novel has also the rare ability to create a disenchanted world that has natural governance systems where the human beings are powerful instead of the supernatural worlds created by epics and romances. The inability of the novel to take a definite form is an advantage to the genre because it gives it the ability to cannibalize other forms of literature and the best form of cannibalization is the quixotic romance that succeeds in making a very good novel.
The novel does not have a definite linguistic or stylistic convention and this enables it to adopt various social and literary discourses. This makes it a very enriching and deep genre of literature. Unlike other forms of literature, the novel is dialogic and its dialogism makes it to be the most flexible literary form giving it a room for constant evolution. Its incompleteness makes it an open ended subtype which means that the novel will forever remain dynamic because its territories have not been marked (Armstrong 59)
This is why the writers are constantly experimenting with different modes creating different results. In this cycle of experimentation, the most notable presentation that has emerged is the role of the narrator. This is because one of the strongest qualities of a novel is the perspective from which the story is being told. The person that is talking to the reader is very important and the point of view from which the story is being told has a very strong bearing on the reception of the message of the story by the reader. For example, the novel titled stranger by Albert Camus has two parts that utilize two different points of view. The first part is told from a first person point of view while the second part uses the omniscient narrator and this interplay of perspectives help in the appreciation of the existentialist message that the novel is communicating.
The framing of the story by the narrator, whether by an omniscient or a first person is the one that determines the reliability of the narrator and it is also the one that determines the effectiveness of the perspective used in the novel (Spencer 90). Other genres can utilize points of views but not as effective as the novel does. A short story comes close to another in terms of the utilization of the points of views but the problem with a short story is that it has a very short plot to effectively utilize the points of view to frame a good story.
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The use of the omniscient narrator by Albert Camus in the novel stranger is one of the strongest points of the novel because this narrator is all aware of what is happening and everything that is motivating the protagonist. The omniscient narrator takes the reader into the mind of the character which really helps the author because he does not have the burden of explaining all the events to the reader. In actual fact, anyone who has read the novel stranger by Albert Camus will confess that the mind of the protagonist is the real centre of interest in this novel. This is because of the introspective manner in which the author uses a third party to reveal what is going on in the mind of the protagonist.
Virginia Wolf is another novelist that has tried to experiment with the examination of the consciousness of the human being (Davis 67). Her ability to present the judgments, perceptions, misconceptions and all the other human variables that are generated by the mind as they occur is one of the things that has made her novels to stand out. She does not struggle to shape them using grammar and logic and this brings her characters closer to the reader which makes it easier for the readers to relate with the characters.
In conclusion, there are no limits when it comes to the novel. There is a very big avenue for experimentation and the open ended nature of the genre helps it to keep evolving, creating a dynamism that has helped it to remain the most popular, creative and interactive form of literature. The autonomy the novelist are given by the indefinite nature of the novel means that experimentation with different styles will continue to produce exciting masterpieces and one generation of novels will forever remain different from another.
Armstrong, Nancy. A Political History of the Novel. New York: Oxford University Press. 2000.
Camus, Albert. The stranger. St Germaine: Le Havre. 1942.
Doody, Margaret. The True Story of the Novel. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. 1996.
Davis, Leonard. Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel. New York: Columbia. 1993. University Press.
Madden, David. A Primer of the Novel: MD: Scarecrow Press. 2006.
McKeon, Michael. The Origins of the English Novel, 1600-1740. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1997.
Reardon, Bryan. Ancient Novels. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1999.
Reid, Arthur. The Novel before the Novel Chicago: Alley and Bacon. 1977.
Spencer, Jane. The Rise of Woman Novelists. Oxford: OUP.
Spufford, Margaret, Small Books and Pleasant Histories. London: Alley and Bacon. 1991.