Meaning, Components of Functions of literature and narrative techniques/point of view

Literature is an imaginative composition oral or written which conveys ideas and pleasant or unpleasant experiences of life through a peculiar use of language. It is a work of art that imitates life, it can also be seen as a mirror of life through which our society can be seen.


Some important components of literature includes:-

  • Imagination: In literature imagination is a constructive power which plays a significant role in the writer’s and readers’ mind. It is the creative part of the mind that invent things
  • Reality: This is gotten from the expression “pleasant and unpleasant experiences of life”, it presents real obtainable events but may not be the exact truth in a particular situation.
  • Peculiar language: Literature does not only use ordinary language of the day to day conversation. It uses emotive (strong feeling of emotions) and connotive languages. Most words have denotive and connotive components.

Talking about denotive meaning of words it is the meaning of words in the dictionary, which is generally obtained in everyday communication e.g white is a color and goat is an animal.

Connotive meaning of a word is the implied meaning given too a word depend on the content it is used for. For instance, the use of red goes beyond a type of color it can be used to Connot danger.


Literature performs certain functions for the society and individuals:-

1) Entertainment:

One leading function of literature is to make the audience/reader laugh and be happy. Many oral performances are geared towards entertaining people.

2) Information/Education:

Literature is an embodiment of people’s culture, world view and collective experience. Literary works gives the reader the opportunity of being informed about other people’s culture and world view. Through literature people get to know about things happening in other parts of the world and why certain things in life happen the way they do.

3) Recreation/Relaxation:

Literature afford the reader or listener the opportunity to refresh the mind and some times the body can relax with a novel after the day’s hectic activities.

4) It serves as a special regulation, persuasion and change:

This reflects issues happening around the society. As such some writers through their work make comment about the government, religion or culture. These types of literary works are aimed at regulating human activities, excesses, persuasion and possible change.

5) It teaches morals:

It helps to teach moral lessons to the people. It helps the children to make a choice between right and wrong and avoid going the wrong way, this helps them to confirm to society’s need.

6) It also helps in building and improving audience linguistic armourny. This they do by getting new words and improving on the already known words.

Those listed above are functions of literature


Narrative technique is the angle a novelist uses to present his story, it refers to the identity of the person who records the events of the novel.

a) Autobiographical narrative technique(first person):

This tells a story in the first person “I, me, we, mine, our, my” the narrator is seen as the person who has experienced or witnessed the actions or events of a novel. In this point of view the narrator is a character in the story and the reader learns about events as they the narrator learns about them.

The advantage of this point of view is that you get to hear the thought of the narrator and see the world depicted in the story through his own eyes, examples of such are purple harbiscus by Chimamanda Adichie, Invisible man by Ralph Ellisin.

b) Second person point of view:

This is a point of view where author uses “you and your”, it is usually rare because authors seldom talk directly to the reader. Most times second person point of view draws the reader into the story almost making the reader a participant in the action.

c) Omniscient/Eyes of God point of view(third person):

This is also called the all knowing narrative this point of view the story is told by an outside observer , someone who is not in the story whereby the writer has direct access to explore the mind and dreams of the characters in his work. The author uses the pronouns “he, she, they, him, her, them” this narrative is the most commonly used.

The Epistolary narrative method: This takes the form of series of long letters.

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