Table of Contents


This is the type of literature which represents the human social realities in written form.

In most of African societies written literature came after the invention of writings.

Before that Oral literature was dominant because the societies were illiterate.

That is to say, written literature came as a product of western education whereby elites began writing and printing some written media as a way of communicating their messages to their audience.

Therefore the presence of written literature expands the mode of presenting social realties to people because people becomes aware on what goes on in their societies through both the spoken and written form.

During the coming period we will spend our time discussing on the genres of written literature. “Education is a weapon toward success”. Meet you next time. BYE!


A genre is a term used in literature when referring to the style which involves a set of characteristics.

In literature genres is used to mean the categories of written literature which have some set of differing characteristics.

Therefore, the term genre is French in origin, which denotes types or classes of literature.

Written literature has three genres being Play, Novel and Poetry.


A Play is a piece of writing which is designed in the way that it can be acted on stage before the audience.

OR- It is a piece of writing which is intended to be acted in a theatre.

Features of Play

– They are short

-They have some illustrations on top the cover

-They have few Characters

-They take spectacles

-They encompass music

-They have stage direction

-They take few events

-They are told in dialogue

-They divide events into acts and scenes


-Any successful drama has six elements namely Thought/Theme /Idea, Action or Plot; Characters, Language or diction, Music or melody and Spectacle.


This is what the play means. A theme can be clearly stated in the title.

Sometimes it can be stated through dialogue by a character who acts as the playwright’s voice.

On the other hand a theme may be identified after some study or thought.

Thus, themes are abstract or underlying meaning, issues and feelings that grow out of the dramatic action.


This deals with events of a play.

It looks at the way events happen in a play.

The plot used in plays must have some sort of unity and clarity by setting up a pattern from which each action initiate the next act.

Usually the plot of a play shows the way characters are involved in conflict that grows from bottom to a top with a certain pattern of movement.

In most cases the action and movement of any play begin from an initial entanglement named exposition, through rising action, then climax, falling action at last to resolution.



These are people presented in the play in order to peruse the plot.

Every character who is involved in a play can have his or her own distinct personality, age, appearance, beliefs, socio-economic background and language.

Therefore through the way characters are involved in a play is where a reader can refuse or accept them basing on the way and what represent.


This deals with word choices made by the playwright and the enunciation of the actors of the language.

The Language and dialogue used by the characters helps in moving the plot and action of the play along.

Every playwright can create his or her own specific style in relation to the language one chooses when establishing characters and dialogue.

Therefore, this element focuses on the way words are chosen and arranged by in order to suit the subject matter portrayed.


Music can encompass the rhythm of dialogue and speeches in a play.

It can also mean the aspects of the melody and music compositions as with musical theatre.

Each theatrical presentation delivers music, rhythm and melody in its own distinctive manner.

Music is not a part of every play.  But, music can be included to mean all sounds in a production.

Music can expand to all sound effects, the actor’s voices, songs and instrumental music played as underscore in a play.

Music creates patterns and establishes tempo in theatre.

In the aspects of the music the songs are used to push the plot forward and move the story to a higher level of intensity.

Composers and lyricist work together with playwrights to strengthen the themes and ideas of the play.

Character’s wants and desires can be strengthened for the audience through lyrics and music.


The spectacle in the theatre can involve all of the aspects of scenery, costumes and special effects in a production.

These are visual elements of the play created for theatrical event.

That is to say, these are qualities determined by the playwright in order to create the world and the atmosphere of the play before the audience’s eye.


Drama consists of different types as explained below:-

a) Tragedy drama

This is the type of drama which takes some serious events. In most cases the main character or hero of this drama ends in suffering, danger or death making the play have sad ending.

b) Comedy drama

This is the type of drama which consists of some amusing, funny and humorous events which always makes the audience laugh.

c) Tragicomedy drama

This is the type of drama which consists of both sad and amusing events. In this drama the main character or hero comes across different hardships but does not end in death.

d) Historical drama

This is the type of drama which portrays on the history of a certain society. This drama also takes some elements of both the tragedy and comedy drama however the main character or hero does not end in danger.

e) Melodrama

This is the type of drama in which characters involved show some stronger emotions than a usual human being can do. In most cases this drama is aimed for entertainment.


A Novel is a prose fiction with a considerable length taking some fictional or imaginary characters and events. In most cases novels are very long, when they become short are called Novella.

Features of a Novel

-They are long

-They take some illustrations on top of the covering paper

-They are sequential stories.

-They are divided into chapters

-They are told in monologue

-They take many characters

-They take many events

Qn.3: Choose one topic of your interest then compose either a play or novel of not more than twenty lines.


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