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Theme Across GenresThemes and Literary Elements Across GenresWriters often focus their literary works around a specific theme, such as discovery. For example, William Bradford builds on this theme in his nonfictional work Of Plymouth Plantation, and Robert Frost explores the theme in his poem "The Road Not Taken."Certain themes, such as discovery, love, life, and death, have captivated writers and readers across generations and cultures. These themes remain relevant to humans, no matter the time period. How these themes are portrayed, however, often depends on the genre or the historical era. To truly understand a literary work, it is important to understand different themesand genres of literature.A literary work may or may not be bound by a specific genre. Often a single work can be a blend of genres. For example, William Thackeray’s novel Vanity Fair is a blend of historical fiction and satire, and William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet is both a romance and a tragedy.NonfictionNonfiction is a major literary genre that includes works of factual information and events. Some subgenres of nonfiction areBiographyA biography is the story of a person’s life written by another person. The books Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History by Fawn Brodie are examples of biographies.AutobiographyAn autobiography is the story of a person’s life written by that person. Autobiographies are usually written by prominent, public figures that people want to know more about. For example, A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela and The Story of My Life by Helen Keller are autobiographies.Persuasive WritingPersuasive writing has the aim of trying to influence or convince readers to accept the writer’s viewpoint. Essays that students write for college applications are an example of persuasive writing.Informational or Technical WritingThis type of writing intends to provide readers with relevant information about a specific topic. An example is a home appliance or electronics manual.FictionFiction is the other major literary genre, which includes imaginative works that are usually not factual but can be inspired by factual or historical events. Here are some subgenres of fiction:Historical Fiction Historical fiction is about fictitious characters in a historical setting. Alexandre Dumas's The Count of Monte Cristo and Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind are examples of historical fiction.
Realistic Fiction Realistic fiction is about what could have happened and involves fictitious characters. Examples are Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe and John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.Science Fiction Science fiction is based on the imaginative depiction of aliens, advanced technology, and futuristic concepts. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is one example.