Literature In English Keypoints: GENERAL LITERARY PRINCIPLES

Literature In English Keypoints: GENERAL LITERARY PRINCIPLES; Literature serves as a profound reflection of human experiences, emotions, and ideologies, employing a variety of literary devices and principles to convey its messages effectively.

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In this detailed introduction to general literary principles, we will explore the fundamental aspects of literature, including key literary terms, overarching principles, and the intricate relationship between them.

Literary Terms

Literary terms encompass a wide range of techniques and elements used by writers to enhance the depth and richness of their works. Some of the most common literary terms include:

  1. Foreshadowing: The use of hints or clues to suggest future events in a narrative. For example, in William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” the witches’ prophecies foreshadow the tragic events that unfold.
  2. Suspense: The feeling of anticipation or uncertainty created by the author to keep readers engaged and eager to know what happens next. An example is the suspenseful atmosphere in Agatha Christie’s mystery novels.
  3. Dialogue: Conversation between characters in a literary work, often used to reveal their personalities, motivations, and conflicts. In J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” the protagonist’s dialogue with various characters provides insight into his inner turmoil.
  4. Symbolism: The use of symbols to represent ideas, concepts, or themes. For instance, the green light in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” symbolizes hope and the American Dream.
  5. Satire: A literary technique used to ridicule or criticize human vices, follies, or societal institutions through humor, irony, or exaggeration. Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” satirizes various aspects of British society and politics.

Literary Principles

Literary principles refer to the overarching ideas and concepts that guide the creation and interpretation of literary works. Some of the general principles of literature include:

  1. Direct Imitation in Play: In drama, the portrayal of human experiences and conflicts through the actions and dialogue of characters, often reflecting real-life situations. For example, Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” depicts the struggles of the American working class.
  2. Versification in Drama and Poetry: The use of meter, rhyme, and other poetic devices to create rhythm and musicality in both drama and poetry. Shakespeare’s plays, written in iambic pentameter, demonstrate the use of versification to enhance dramatic effect.
  3. Narration of People’s Experiences: Literature often serves as a means of sharing and documenting human experiences, whether real or imagined. Memoirs, autobiographies, and fictional narratives provide insights into different perspectives and cultures.
  4. Achievement of Aesthetic Value: Literature seeks to achieve aesthetic value through language, imagery, and narrative structure, aiming to evoke emotional responses and provoke intellectual reflection. Works of literature such as Homer’s “The Odyssey” or Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse” are revered for their aesthetic qualities and artistic merit.

Relationship Between Literary Terms and Principles

Literary terms and principles are closely intertwined, as the use of specific literary devices contributes to the overall effectiveness and impact of a literary work in accordance with broader literary principles. For example, the use of symbolism in a play or poem may serve to enhance its thematic depth and aesthetic value, aligning with the principle of achieving artistic excellence.


In conclusion, understanding and appreciating literature requires a deep grasp of both its constituent literary terms and overarching principles. By recognizing the various techniques employed by writers and the underlying principles that govern their use, readers can gain a richer understanding of literary works and their significance in shaping our perceptions of the world.

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Literature In English Keypoints: GENERAL LITERARY PRINCIPLES