Reading Fiction

Reading fiction can be an enjoyable process as well as one that is necessary for a student to succeed. You need to understand fiction in order to be able to discuss it in the classroom or in study groups or to write book reports.

Take a look at the point of view of the fiction. A person narrates the story and provides the point of view. The book may have a first person narrator who uses “I”. This type of narration is limited to one person’s experience. Second person narration uses “you” while third person narration uses “he” or “she”. A third person narrator is not part of the story. Sometimes an omniscient narrator is used to provide access to all actions and thoughts. A limited narrator doesn’t have the complete story and can only provide a limited view.

The reader needs to find out if the story is written in the present or the past. Look at the verbs to decide. Decide if the narrator is part of the story or merely observing the story. Ask why the story is being told.

Look at the characters in the work. Figure out the protagonist and the antagonist. The relationship between these two is what comprises the story. Some characters in the story may never be completely developed. Decide who is important.

Look at the setting of the story. Take the location into account while reading. Decide on the intensity of the story. See how the language of the work manipulates the reader.