Literary Genres and Subgenres (Fiction, Nonfiction, Drama, and Poetry) – Video and Worksheet


Today,
we’re going to talk about literary genres and subgenres. While you watch the video, you can print out the worksheet to takes notes and
practice while you listen. To understand literary genres,
the first thing we need is a definition of
the word literature. So what is literature? Literature means books
and other writing, usually by expert authors. Now let’s talk about the
definition of literary genre. So what is a literary genre? Well, a genre is a
type or category, and literary means
of literature, so a literary genre is a type
or category of literature. There are four main
literary genres, drama, fiction,
nonfiction, and poetry. Let’s talk about the definition
and an example of each one. Drama is a play for theater told by character
dialogue or talking. Here’s an example
of a drama or play being performed in a theater. We can read drama and
we can also watch it. Fiction is a story that did not actually
happen in real life. An example of a very
famous story that’s fiction is Twilight. We know Twilight is fiction because it’s about
vampires, which aren’t real. Nonfiction is writing
that is real and factual or that actually happened. An example of nonfiction is any
textbook you read in school, such as a science textbook
or history textbook. This example is information that would be shown
in a science textbook. Poetry is writing using
language and sounds in special ways
to express ideas. Here’s a very simple and maybe
even silly example of poetry. “The rose is red. “The violet’s blue. “Sugar is sweet, “and so are you.” These words are told in a way that rhyme and have rhythm. We’ll learn more about
those two words later, but you can see when
you hear these verses that poetry is read differently than fiction,
nonfiction, or drama. Now that we’ve learned
what literary genres are, let’s be more specific. These genres have subgenres. A subgenre is a smaller
group or category. Literary genres and subgenres. Now we’ll name subgenres of each of the four genres
along with examples. So drama has two subgenres. One is comedy and
the other is tragedy. A comedy is a funny
or humorous drama with a happy ending. One example of a
very famous comedy is The Comedy of
Errors by Shakespeare. Now we are talking about
comedy as a subgenre of drama, but we can also see comedies on television and in the movies. A tragedy is a sad
drama with a sad ending. An example of a
very famous tragedy is Romeo and Juliet by
William Shakespeare. Like comedy, tragedy also began and still is performed
as a drama or play. But also like comedy, we
can now watch tragedies on television and in the movies. Now let’s talk about
subgenres of fiction. The genre of fiction
has several subgenres. Today we’ll talk
about eight of them, fantasy, folklore, historical fiction, mystery, realistic fiction, romance, science fiction, and thriller. Fantasy is a story
in a fantasy world or a world that isn’t real. An example of fantasy are
the Harry Potter books. Harry Potter’s world is
full of magic and wizards. That’s why it’s fantasy. A second subgenre of
fiction is folklore. Folklore is old
cultural stories. These include
fairytales, fables, myths, legends, and tall tales. We’ll discuss each type of
folklore in a separate video. For now just know
that each of these is an example of
types of folklore. Every country and culture
has its own folklore. Here’s an example
of Russian folklore. This book is a
collection of stories about the famous
character, Baba Yaga. And here is an example
of Mexican folklore. This is a story about La
Llorona or the crying woman. Another subgenre of fiction
is historical fiction. This is a fiction story
based on real history. One famous example
of historical fiction is the novel Gone with the
Wind by Margaret Mitchell. This story takes place during
the Civil War in US history. So the Civil War
actually happened, but the characters in
Gone with the Wind, one of them is the famous
character Scarlett O’Hara. The characters were not real, and what happened in the
lives of the characters also was not real, although it was based
on real history. Mystery is another
subgenre of fiction. A mystery is a
story about a crime. Here’s an example. The novel And Then She Was Gone is a story about a
girl who disappears. During this story, detectives and people living
in the town she was in try to find where the girl
is and what happened to her. The fifth subgenre of fiction
we’ll talk about today is realistic fiction. This is a story that
seems real but isn’t real. Realistic fiction is
set in modern times, and it’s about characters
who seem like real people. A well-known example
of realistic fiction is the story Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte. The main character, Jane Eyre, has a difficult childhood
as a young girl. She grows up to work in the home of a man
named Mr. Rochester. The picture on this book
cover shows this home. It looks real, and Jane Eyre seems
like a real person. So does Mr. Rochester. But they’re not real. That story is fiction. It’s realistic fiction
because it seems true. Another subgenre of fiction
is romance or a love story. The novel A Perfect Gentleman
is an example of a romance. Science fiction is a
story in the future with advanced technology. One well-known example
of science fiction is The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins. This story takes place about
a 100 years into the future and involves a character named
Katniss who’s 16 years old. The government forces her
and many other young people to battle each other in an
event called The Hunger Games, which leaves only one survivor. Sometimes science fiction can
get confused with fantasy. The main difference between
science fiction and fantasy is that science fiction
is in a future world that has some similarities
with our current world. It involves new
inventions and technology. Whereas fantasy happens in
a world that is impossible, a world where, for
example, animals talk or other impossible
things happen. And finally a
thriller or suspense is a story that makes
readers nervous, excited, or even
scared as they read. An example of a thriller is The Girl With No
Past by Kathryn Croft. In this story, readers learn secrets about a girl
who appears in a town. The secrets they learn
make readers feel nervous, excited, and sometimes
scared as they read. Sometimes a thriller or suspense can be confused with a mystery, but actually mysteries are
different from thrillers. The goal of a mystery is to solve a crime and
figure out who did the crime. In a thriller, sometimes
there was no crime, or readers already know at the
beginning who did the crime. The goal of the thriller
is to thrill the audience by revealing secrets as the
audience reads the book. Now we’ll learn about subgenres
of the genre nonfiction. Today, we’ll learn about
five subgenres of nonfiction, including biography,
autobiography, narrative, periodicals,
and reference materials. One subgenre of
nonfiction is biography or a story of a person’s life. Here’s an example of a
well-known biography. This book is about the life of Albert Einstein,
the famous scientist. It’s written by the biographer
or author Walter Isaacson. Another subgenre of
nonfiction is autobiography or a story the author writes
about himself or herself. An example of a
famous autobiography is the The Autobiography
of Benjamin Franklin. It’s a book that
Benjamin Franklin wrote
about his own life. Another subgenre of nonfiction
is narrative nonfiction or a story or narrative
that happened in real life. An example of
narrative nonfiction is the book called Turn Right
at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. This book tells
stories about explorers who rediscovered the
place called Machu Picchu. The stories in
this book are real. They actually happened. The characters are real,
the places are real, and the events are real. That’s what makes them
narrative nonfiction instead of fiction. And finally periodicals are magazines, newspapers, and journals that are
written regularly. Regularly might
mean once a week. It might mean once a month or sometimes even
just once a year. All of those things
are called periodicals. The most common type
of periodical we see is a daily newspaper. The last subgenre of
nonfiction we’ll discuss today is reference materials. These are books with facts
in alphabetical order. Examples include a dictionary,
thesaurus, and encyclopedia. Here’s an example
of a dictionary. Dictionaries list words
in alphabetical order along with their meanings. And finally the last subgenres
we’re going to discuss are subgenres of
the genre poetry. Remember that poetry is writing
using language and sounds in special ways
to express ideas. The subgenres of poetry that
we’ll learn about today are lyric, narrative,
and dramatic poetry. Now let’s define the
subgenres of poetry. The most popular and
common subgenre of poetry is the lyric or a poem about
the speaker’s thoughts. Most poems you see
and hear are lyrics. Examples of lyrics include
elegy, ode, sonnet, and haiku. Today, we won’t
talk specifically about elegy, ode,
sonnet, and haiku, except to say each of
them is a type of lyric. And here is an
example of a lyric. This is a haiku written
by a famous haiku writer. “Fallen flower I see “returning to its branch. “Ah, a butterfly.” This lyric is a haiku written about the speaker’s
thoughts of a flower. Like all poetry, you see how the lyric uses
syllables and sounds to express thoughts
in a special way that’s different
from how fiction, nonfiction, and drama
express thoughts. Another subgenre of
poetry is narrative or a poem that tells a story. There are a few
types of narratives, but one of them is an epic
or a long poem about a hero. One famous example of
an epic is Beowulf. Beowulf is an old poem that is about 3,000 lines long. That’s a very long poem. It tells the story about
a hero named Beowulf. Beowulf was a warrior who saves the king from
a monster named Grendel. Usually epics include
lots of battles and fights that the hero wins in the end. The last poetry subgenre
we’ll discuss today is dramatic poetry or words
spoken by a character. We see dramatic poetry
in another genre. Can you guess which one? We see dramatic poetry in
the genre drama or plays. Three examples of
dramatic poetry are soliloquy,
dialogue, and monologue. We won’t discuss the
specifics and differences of soliloquy, dialogue,
and monologue today, except to say that each of them is an example of
dramatic poetry. Now because William Shakespeare was a very famous drama writer, he’s also responsible for
many of the soliloquies, dialogues, and monologues
we study today. Here’s an example of a
soliloquy by William Shakespeare that we see in the
play Romeo and Juliet. In act two, scene two, Juliet says the following
words to herself. Romeo is standing nearby
but she doesn’t realize it. She says, “‘Tis but thy
name that is my enemy. “What’s in a name? “That which we call a
rose by any other name “would smell as sweet.” In these words, Juliet
is talking about Romeo, and what she’s saying is the name we call a person
or an object doesn’t matter. What matters is how we feel
about that person or object. Because this quote
is meaningful, it’s a very famous soliloquy that we study when we
study dramatic poetry. Now let’s practice
what we’ve learned. For each number, write the
genre and subgenre described. Number one, what is
the genre and subgenre of a story about plants
that come to life? Number two, a book about the
life of a famous soccer star. Number three, an
encyclopedia entry that describes vitamin E. Number four, the humorous
play The Taming of the Shrew. Number five, a long poem
about a hero named Achilles. Number six, a weekly newspaper
called Main Street Times. Number seven, a sad play about
the character Oedipus Rex. Number eight, a poem about a
girl’s ideas about friendship. Number nine, a story about
life in the year 3023. And number 10, a
story about characters who lived during World War I. The characters are not
real, but they seem real. Pause the video while you work, and we’ll check the
answers in a moment. Are you ready to
check the answers? Let’s check. Number one, the genre is fiction and the subgenre is fantasy. We know it’s fantasy because in the real world
plants can’t come to life. So the subgenre is fantasy, and we know that fantasy
is not real or factual. It’s fiction. Number two, the
genre is nonfiction and the subgenre is biography. We know this is a biography because it’s the story
of a person’s life, and we know that biographies
are real and factual. That makes them nonfiction. Number three, the
genre is nonfiction, and the subgenre is
reference material. We know that encyclopedias are
a type of reference material, and we also know that
reference material contains real and
factual information. Therefore the genre
has to be nonfiction. Number four, the genre is drama
and the subgenre is comedy. We know this is drama
because it’s a play, and we know that the
subgenre is comedy because the play is
humorous or funny. Number five, the genre is
poetry and the subgenre is epic. We know this is poetry
because it’s a poem. We know that it’s an epic because epics are long
poems about heroes. Number six, the
genre is nonfiction and the subgenre is periodical. We know this is a periodical because newspapers are
a type of periodical, and we know that
this is nonfiction because periodicals contain
real and factual information, so the genre has
to be nonfiction. Number seven, the genre is drama and the subgenre is tragedy. We know this is drama
because it’s a play, and we know that the
subgenre is tragedy because this play is sad. Number eight, the
genre is poetry and
the subgenre is lyric. We know this is poetry
because it’s a poem, and we know it’s lyric poetry because it’s about a
person’s ideas about a topic. That’s what lyric poetry is. Number nine, the
genre is fiction and the subgenre
is science fiction. We know this is science fiction because it’s set far into
the future in the year 3023. We know it’s fiction
because it can’t be real. It hasn’t happened yet, so the genre has to be fiction. And number 10, the
genre is fiction and the subgenre is
historical fiction. We know this is
historical fiction because it took
place in World War I, which was a real
period in history, but the characters are not real
even though they seem real. Because the characters
aren’t real, the story and the
genre is fiction. Literary genres, the end. Our literary genre and subgenre practice
for today is complete. I hope this video
helped you understand what a literary genre
and subgenre are and how to identify
examples of each one. Thank you for watching.

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