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The novel is a humanist development that looks at the complexities of life as lived in the everyday and does it through telling a story. There is some sort of predicament, perhaps against other people or social conventions or simply within the mind. Something has to be worked out and resolved, hopefully. The novel does contain hope or investigates despair.

There are various categories of novel through which these happen. The first recognized novel in England is Robinson Crusoe (1719) by Daniel Defoe. Peck, J., Coyle, M. (1993), Literary Terms and Criticism, London: Macmillan.

Reading novels plays a great part in ones academic, intellectual, social and verbal abilities and in his/her knowledge base.

Reading novels increases our knowledge of the universe, improves our vocabulary, enriches our experience and exposure and enhances our understanding and appreciation of cultures, societies, civilizations and background.

Novel reading also enhances your own writing abilities. It is a pleasant way to enjoy leisure, have fun and pass the time more fruitfully especially when traveling.

Strategy for Reading and Enjoying Novels
To enjoy your novel reading, you must take cognizance of six (6) elements that every author weaves into his story (novel). These six elements interlock to create the plot and novel. They are:

1. The characters

2. The setting of the plot (Story/Novel)

3. The time of the plot or incidence

4. The problem the characters got into or in the setting

5. The events that transpired

6. The solution proffered either by the author or that resolved the problem.

Next, there are certain things you may do along to get into the “flow” of the story.

Read the write-ups on the inside and outside covers of the novel to familiarize yourself with the subject and the author of the novel.
Glance through the table of contents to determine how many chapters there are and how long each one is.

Write a list of all the characters as they appear in the story since relatively unimportant characters often resurface at the end of the book. You can do this on the inside cover of the book or on a small card you use as a bookmark.

Read with a highlighter or pen in hand, marking particularly interesting, important or repeated points.

Look for points at which the narrator is making some sort of evaluation or judgment about the characters. It is important to note whose "side" the narrator is on - it may not be the side you would take.

Pay attention to dialogue: characters reveal many things about themselves in their conversations with others.

Make notes on what characters actually do in comparison to what they say. They may reveal their vices or virtues through actions that don't match their words.

Characters are the first element to look for when reading a story or novel. Characters are most often people but can be animals or even fictionalized beings like those seen in cartoons or movies. The main character plays the biggest role and is often the first character to be introduced. Most often the story is seen through the eyes of the main character. Secondary characters play a smaller supporting role and are introduced throughout the story.

The setting is the second element you should look for when reading a story or novel. The setting is the location where the story takes place. A story may take place in a home, countryside, town, school, or wherever the author chooses to have the action occur. The setting is usually revealed very early in a story.

The time when the story takes place is the third element you should look for when reading a story or novel. A story may take place very recently or many years ago. Usually the time when the story takes place is introduced very early in the story.

The problem is the fourth element you should look for in a story or novel. The problem most often grows out of a conflict between the main character and another character in the story. But the problem can also involve a circumstance such as a hurricane, a war, or one of the many obstacles that produce a conflict in life.

Events are the fifth element you should look for when reading a story or novel. An event is an attempt at solving the problem in the story. In a story there are usually a number of attempts to solve the problem and these events make up most of the story.

A solution is the sixth and final element in a story or novel. The solution is how the problem is resolved or brought to an end. Most often the solution is revealed near the end of the story. Sometimes the solution is not revealed until the very last page or even the final paragraph of the story.

Recognizing these story elements will help you better understand and enjoy a story, remember the story facts, and appreciate different writing styles used by authors.

Source: Modern Library www.randomhouse.com


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