Genre and Literary Expression

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Genre is the major category into which a literary work fits. While the basic divisions of literature are poetry, prose and drama, subdivisions within the genre also exist. For example we have fiction, non-fiction, drama may be farce, tragedy or comedy and poetry can be divided into lyric, epic, ballad etc. The importance of genres surpasses the categorization of literary works and affects the way we approach and respond to a text. The journalistic genre, for example, conditions us to expect to see a particular form of text: headlines, columns and blocks of writing. But this genre also prepares us to expect to be able to trust and believe in what we are reading. Such is the power of genre. Genre also conditions us to perceive facets of what we read as entirely natural and realistic such as the representation of women in different genres. Feminist science fiction, a sub-genre of science fiction poses questions about how society builds gender roles, the role reproduction plays in defining gender and the unequal political powers of men and women using utopias to explore a society in which gender differences do not exist, such as in Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and Joanna Russ' The Female Man. Each highlights the socially constructed aspects of gender roles by creating worlds with genderless societies. Conversely, when speaking of the Western genre, women are usually represented either as wholly 'good' and homely or wholly 'bad' or 'loose'. This representation, though is may seem entirely natural at first, is merely an effect ' genre mind-set'. Multiple genres also allow authors to write in order to achieve unique purposes. George Orwell utilizes Allegory and mild Satire in his novel Animal Farm to discuss the then forbidden issue of the Russian Revolution by illuminating the ridiculousness of the practices, events, and political leaders such as
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