KOLEC Lesson 12: How to Read a Novel

KOLEC Lesson 12: How to Read a Novel



One useful way of reading any work of art is to pay attention to the techniques used in a particular literary work.  



Here are the techniques to consider when reading a novel: 

(1) Point of view 

This will help you to identify the person or voice which tells the story. It will help you to understand whether the author has used a first-person, third-person, third-person limited, or third-person omniscient point of view. 

(2) Narrative technique 

This helps the reader of the story to identify the narrative techniques like straightforward narrative technique, flashback, and foreshadowing. Understanding the narrative techniques used will help you to connect the story's events easily and clearly while reading. 

(3) Plot

The plot is what happens in the novel. Understanding the events of the novel will helps you to relate the events of the story well. 

(4) Setting 

As a reader, you need to identify the place and time in which the novel is set. The setting helps the reader to visualize the atmosphere, values, customs, and life of the particular place and time. 

(5) Characterization 

Characters are the people in the novel. They are the ones who make the story moves on. They are the ones who take action and move the events of the story. Thus, identifying the characters is a great step to the the full understanding of the story. 

(6) Language 

Identify and comment whether the language used is simple or complex. Also, discuss the figures of speech used in the novel.

(7) Motif 

Motif refers to the mostly occurring concepts, ideas, or themes in the story. By paying attention to this aspect, you can find reading novels easy and understandable. 

(8) Theme

The theme is the general topic or idea in the book. It is what the novel implies and we should think about it. For example, the book may be written to address the central theme of Colonialism, but the various themes or ideas like torture, forced labour, low wages, and land alienation can also be implied by the author to the reader. 



These are not only techniques for reading novels. Other reading techniques are out there which are worth applying as well. Whatever reading techniques you can use, make sure you meet the two primary purposes of reading: reading for pleasure and reading for knowledge.  



[1] Dichotomise between:  

(a) Point of view and narrative technique  

(b) Image and symbol  

(c) Theme and motif  

(d) Plot and setting 

[2] Explain any five ways you can use to identify the characters of the novel. 

[3] What are the techniques of reading novels? (5 points)  

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.

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