Definition of Fiction
Etymologically, the word fiction has been derived from Latin word “fictus,” which means “to form.” However, in literature, Merriam Webster defines it as, “literature in the form of prose, especially novels, that describes imaginary events and people.”
In fact, it is one of the two branches of literature, the other being non-fiction. This particular branch of literature consists of stories, novels, and dramas based on made-up and fabricated stories and characters. Fiction contains certain symbolic and thematic features known as “literary merits.” In other words, fiction narrates a story, which aims at something bigger than merely a story. In this attempt, it comments on something significant related to social, political, or human related issues.
Fiction may be based on stories of actual historical events. Although fictitious characters are presented in a fictitious setting in stories and novels, they may have some resemblance to real life events and characters. Writers alter their characters very skillfully when they take them from actual life.
Examples of Fiction in Literature
Example #1: Alice in Wonderland (By Lewis Carrol)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll is a good example of fiction. The story narrates various adventures of the main character, Alice, in a fictitious land full of incredible creatures and events. Alice has to go through certain magical experiences in the wonderland. According to the story, one day, while reading book, Alice grows bored, and notices a white rabbit. She follows the rabbit when it goes into a hole in the ground.
When peeping through the hole, Alice loses her balance and falls in. She floats down slowly into the hole, and observes everything around her. Then Alice enters Wonderland, where she witnesses a number of weird things. This entire magical tale is fabricated and imaginary, which makes it a good fiction to enjoy.
Example #2: Pride and Prejudice (by Jane Austen)
Another ample example to portray fiction is, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is one of the most famous English novels. Unlike the previous example, this story is set in a real-life-like setting. All characters are humans, and no magical or strange events take place in this novel. All of the characters, and the entire story is a made-up narrative, each element the product of Jane Austen’s imagination. She not only presents the issues of the contemporary life faced by middle class families, but also daily preoccupations of the common people. The novel presents a good fiction of actual life of nineteenth century.
Example #3: Hamlet (by William Shakespeare)
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is another apt example of fiction. The story of the play moves around the main character, Prince Hamlet. He is informed by the Ghost of his father that his uncle murdered his father, King Hamlet, and married his wife and Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude. The Ghost elicits a promise from Hamlet that he will avenge his murder by killing the murderer. This becomes Hamlet’s dilemma. He vows to kill his uncle, but delays it on one pretext or another. Overall, the story is all about the intrigues and plots of the royal castle of Elsinore in Denmark. The story may have some connection with the real life events and characters, yet it is completely a fabricated story created by Shakespeare to entertain the Elizabeth audience of that time.
Function of Fiction
The function of fiction is to entertain, educate, and inspire the readers and the audience. Literature in general, and fiction in particular, is capable enough to sweep our emotions. Therefore, fiction gives the audience an experience beyond their daily lives. It provides them an insight into the life of the characters, their manners, vicissitudes, and events related to them. It also is used to point out the flaws and drawbacks of a society, race, and nation in a manner that it does not touch the boundary of stricture or criticism. Rather, fiction points out drawbacks, and then suggests solutions for the individuals and the nations alike. To sum up, fiction can also provide a vent to our pent-up emotions such as hatred, anger and dislike but in a very light manner without pointing out specific individuals or groups.