English Literature


Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

The Impact of Narrative Style on Literature and Readers

When diving into a new novel or text, many readers may overlook the importance of narrative style. However, it is a crucial element in setting the tone of a story and eliciting emotions in readers. Just as individuals have their own unique fashion styles, writers also have their distinct writing styles that shape their works.

Understanding Style in Literature

In essence, style in literature refers to how a writer crafts their words and sentences to convey their message. It encompasses elements such as tone, voice, and word choice. Each writer has their own narrative style, which is a reflection of their personality and influences how readers perceive and experience their writing.

For instance, let's consider these three sentences that essentially convey the same meaning: "He kicked the bucket," "He was sleeping in the heavens," and "He was gone." While the literal message is identical (he passed away), each sentence evokes a different mood or feeling. This illustrates how different writing styles can convey the same message in unique ways, highlighting the impact of a writer's style on the reader's emotional response.

When imagining which character would speak each line, it becomes clear how their word choice and style would influence the overall tone. This showcases the power of a writer's style in shaping the reader's experience.

It's important to note that a writer's style is not fixed and can vary depending on the genre or intended audience. A notable example of this is Rupi Kaur, known for her distinct writing style in her collection of poems, "Milk and Honey" (2014). Her simplistic language, lack of capitalization, and relatable topics make her writing immediately recognizable.

In contrast, Ernest Hemingway's style is characterized by plain and clear language, likely influenced by his background as a reporter and his aversion to overly flowery writing. This further emphasizes how unique writing styles can set one writer apart from another.

The Elements of a Writer's Style

A writer's style encompasses various elements such as tone, diction, and voice. These elements work together to create a distinctive and individualistic writing style that reflects the writer's personality and beliefs.

Diction, or word choice, is a crucial aspect of a writer's style and can greatly impact the tone of their writing. Similarly, the tone of writing can range from objective and distant to subjective and emotional, depending on the writer's intention. The length and complexity of sentences can also contribute to the overall mood of the text.

Voice is another essential element of writing style, as it reflects the writer's personality and experiences. It is heavily influenced by their background and beliefs, making each writer's voice unique.

The use of punctuation is also an indicator of a writer's style. For example, in Emily Dickinson's poem "Because I could not stop for Death" (1890), the use of dashes at the end of each line symbolizes the theme of mortality. Punctuation is often utilized strategically to convey specific meanings and add depth to the writing.

Different Styles of Writing in Literature

Persuasive Writing

Persuasive writing aims to convince readers to agree with the writer's opinions and viewpoints. This style often includes logical reasoning and evidence to support the writer's argument.

Writers may use various types of evidence in persuasive writing, such as anecdotal evidence (personal experiences and interviews), statistical evidence (facts and figures), textual evidence (passages from primary sources), and testimonial evidence (expert opinions and quotes).

Persuasive writing has two aspects: emotional appeal and logical appeal. While logic is crucial in persuading readers, emotional appeal is also essential in evoking an emotional response and influencing their opinions. In conclusion, persuasive writing needs to be both sensible and emotionally engaging for the readers.

Here are some examples of persuasive writing:

  • I come before you today with a heavy heart.

The Cry for Freedom and the Power of Narrative Writing

In 1971, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman delivered his powerful "7 March Speech of Bangabandhu," calling for freedom and justice in Bangladesh. Through his persuasive and emotional writing style, he successfully rallied and inspired his audience towards a common goal, showcasing the immense impact of narrative style in literature.

In 1963, Martin Luther King delivered his legendary 'I Have a Dream' speech, calling for an end to discrimination and segregation in America. His powerful words, along with those of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address in 1863, demonstrated the immense impact of narrative writing.

The Power of Narrative Writing

Narrative writing is a form of storytelling that often follows a structured beginning, middle, and end. It can be fiction or non-fiction and may take the form of a short story, memoir, or novel. At its core, narrative writing includes important elements such as characters, setting, plot, and conflict. Additionally, it often follows a specific narrative structure such as the Hero's Journey, the Fichtean Curve, or Freytag's Pyramid.

The Hero's Journey

The Hero's Journey is a narrative structure with twelve stages, including the ordinary world, the call to adventure, meeting a mentor, facing tests and enemies, and ultimately returning home with a reward. This classic structure is utilized in many stories, both fictional and non-fictional.

The Fichtean Curve

The Fichtean Curve is a narrative structure with three stages: rising action, climax, and falling action. This structure focuses on building tension and creating a dramatic climax before resolving the story.

Freytag's Pyramid

Freytag's Pyramid is a narrative structure with five stages: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. It is a more traditional structure commonly used in literary works.

The Impact of Descriptive Writing

Another style of writing is descriptive writing, which focuses on vividly describing settings, characters, and scenes in great detail. This type of writing immerses the reader in the story, creating a strong sense of atmosphere and emotion. Authors use literary devices to appeal to the reader's senses and provide a rich description of the story.

Descriptive writing is often paired with narrative writing to set the scene and build the story. For example, in Ernest Hemingway's 'A Farewell to Arms,' the author uses descriptive writing to paint a picture of the setting:

  • "In the late summer of that year we lived in a house in a village that looked across the river and the plain to the mountains."
  • "Troops went by the house and down the road and the dust they raised powdered the leaves of the trees."
  • "The trunks of the trees too were dusty and the leaves fell early that year and we saw the troops marching along the road and the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves."

In a similar fashion, F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' uses descriptive writing to set the scene for the arrival of the main character, Gatsby:

  • "The flowers were unnecessary, for two o'clock a greenhouse arrived from Gatsby's, with innumerable receptacles to contain it."
  • "An hour later the front door opened nervously, and Gatsby, in a white flannel suit, silver shirt, and gold-colored tie, hurried in."
  • "He was pale, and there were dark signs of sleeplessness beneath his eyes."

The Purpose of Expository Writing

The goal of expository writing is to inform and educate readers about a specific topic. This style of writing is commonly used in academic or informational texts to explain a subject in a clear and concise manner. Unlike narrative or descriptive writing, expository writing does not focus on creating a story or eliciting emotions but rather on presenting facts and information.

Narrative, descriptive, and expository writing are important tools that can engage and inform readers. Each has its own unique strengths, and utilizing these styles can create impactful and meaningful pieces of literature.

Understanding Different Styles of Writing in Literature

In literature, writing is a powerful way to convey ideas and information about a variety of subjects. From hobbies and interests to different aspects of human life, writing serves as a means to address questions and share knowledge with readers.

Expository writing presents facts and evidence to explain ideas and is commonly found in articles and reports. This style of writing is essential for informing and educating readers about various topics.

The Importance of Style in Literature

When it comes to writing, style plays a critical role in conveying a writer's message and engaging readers. In literature, there are several styles of writing, each with its unique characteristics and purpose. Let's take a closer look at the different styles and how they impact the overall reading experience.

Understanding Form and Style

Form refers to the structure in which a piece of writing is composed, such as a short story, play, or novel. It allows writers to divide their work into themes and chapters or parts, creating a cohesive and structured flow. For example, plays are often divided into acts, scenes, and parts. On the other hand, a writer's style is their individual way of crafting a text, including word choice, tone, and voice. The two work hand in hand, with form affecting the delivery of the writer's style and message.

One excellent example of this is E. Lockhart's novel, We Were Liars (2014), where the author chooses to forgo traditional chapter breaks and instead uses a continuous flow of storytelling. This decision adds to the author's unique writing style and creates a powerful impact on readers.

Styles in Literature

There are five main styles of writing in literature: persuasive, narrative, descriptive, expository, and analytical. Narrative writing tells a story, while persuasive writing aims to convince readers of a particular perspective. Descriptive writing focuses on creating vivid imagery, and expository writing presents facts and evidence to inform the reader. Lastly, analytical writing involves critically evaluating a text and constructing an argument about its meaning and concepts.

Examples of Different Styles

"A drop fell on the apple tree,
Another on the roof,
And made the gables laugh,
The breezes brought dejected lutes,
And bathed them in the glee;
And signed the fete away."
- Emily Dickinson, 'Summer Shower,' 1890

The above extract from Emily Dickinson's 'Summer Shower' (1890) is an excellent example of descriptive writing. Through the use of metaphorical language, the readers are transported into the scene and can visualize the imagery portrayed.

"Pretty soon it darkened up, and begun to thunder and lighten; so the birds was right about it … and here would come a blast of wind that would bend the trees down and turn up the pale underside of the leaves…"
- Mark Twain, The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, 1884, chapter 9.

In The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn (1884), Mark Twain adopts a narrative writing style and utilizes colloquial language to create the voice of a Southern-American boy. The simplistic language also makes it easier for young readers to understand and engage with the story.

The Significance of Style in Literature

Style is an essential factor in creating a great piece of literature. It is an extension of the writer's voice, and it helps to convey their message effectively. Each style has its unique impact on readers, making it crucial for writers to select and master their style of choice.

For instance, analytical writing, which involves critically analyzing a text and constructing an argument, showcases a writer's ability to think critically. Examiners often give higher marks to this style of writing as it demonstrates the writer's proficiency in constructing an argument and providing evidence to support it. Good examples of analytical writing can be seen in academic essays and critiques.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the different styles of writing in literature is crucial for both readers and writers. It allows readers to have a deeper appreciation and understanding of various texts, while writers can effectively convey their message and showcase their unique writing styles. With the right combination of form and style, literature can leave a lasting impact on its readers, making it a powerful medium for storytelling and expression.

The Diversity of English Writing Styles

English writing is an extensive field that encompasses various styles, each unique in its approach and purpose. In this article, we will delve into the four main types of English writing styles: persuasive, narrative, descriptive, and expository. These styles have a significant impact on the tone, structure, and delivery of written works, ultimately shaping how the reader perceives and interprets the content.

So, what is prose style in the realm of literature? In simple terms, prose style refers to any written text that adheres to the fundamental rules of grammar and syntax. This includes a wide range of writing, from formal essays and news articles to fictional works such as novels and short stories.

Join Shiken For FREE

Gumbo Study Buddy

Explore More Subject Explanations

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 20,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime