Literary and Nonliterary

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What is the difference between literary and nonliterary?

To all you upcoming writers to or even established authors, do you really know the difference between literary and nonliterary? And is it important? Surprisingly this is something that most people know nothing about, and it is not a new concept nor is it something that is kept hidden. Rather, it is something that traditionally divides the “academic” world from the “regular” world. But it’s not quite as black and white (or as insulting) as smart writing and dumb writing. However understanding the difference can help influence and strengthen your writing. The simple definition would be that literary writing contains metaphors, symbols, allegories, etc. and are texts that are used in schools and universities, whereas nonliterary writing is read by the average person simply for entertainment. Let me explain:

Literary texts tend to teach the reader some kind of life lesson through the main character evolving and changing as the novel or short story progresses. It utilizes metaphors and symbols to show and enhance the protagonist’s (the main character, usually the hero) adventure throughout the novel. These texts are usually read to teach rather than for entertainment because literary texts range from easy to understand to something that has to be read more than once and analyzed. These types of texts always have a reason for being written rather than simply on a whim. Literary texts, such as Shakespeare, Faulkner, Emerson, and Langston Hughes, bring up large issues of society or flaws in human nature that are explored and exposed for the problems that they cause and some even go a step beyond this to offer a way to repair them or even futuristic predictions. Literary texts are well constructed and take time to compose creatively and meaningfully.

Nonliterary texts tend to allow the reader to simply enjoy the texts. Rather than having an intention to teach a person something, its sole purpose is for entertainment. The main character still may change as they go through their “adventure,” however it usually lacks in metaphors and symbols. There’s no need to reread any of the text, because there are no layers of complication rather it means what it says. There could be lessons in the text, most likely a life lesson that is simple and easy to identify. In other words, it’s more than mindless babble, but it lacks in substance to be taught in a classroom.

When you look at them in comparison literary texts have a lesson, point, or purpose that is in the text that also complicates the original lesson. Nonliterary stays simple and lacks in complicated lessons. Nonliterary texts tend to be character driven in which the author becomes more involved with the characters’ lives rather than the purpose of the texts. Literary texts tend to focus more on the plot and reason behind the plot rather than simply what the characters are doing.

In conclusion, nonliterary texts are books that are commonly read, and usually read quite quickly. But literary usual take more time because one wants to make sure that all the metaphors and deeper meanings are fleshed out. What most authors tend to write is nonliterary, which is not a bad thing because it reaches the average person. The audience that reads literary works tends to either write literary fiction/nonfiction or is in a setting, like school, in which the fiction is required to be read. The ultimate goal of an author is to understand the difference between literary and nonliterary and to combine the two. Their works should have the complications of literary fictions and the appeal and relatable aspect of nonliterary fictions. This would be the most appealing because it appeals to the academic world and the regular world. Remember the broader your audience the more people willing to read your work.


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