A Novel is a long narrative work of fiction with some realism. It is often in prose form and is published as a single book. The word ‘novel’ has been derived from the Italian word ‘novella’ which means “new”. Similar to a short story, a novel has some features like a representation of characters, dialogues, setting, plot, climax, conflict, and resolution. However, it does not require all the elements to be a good novel.
Types of Novel
There are many types of novels. They include mysteries, thrillers, suspense, detective, science fiction, romantic, historical, realist or even postmodern.
Examples of Novels from Literature
Animal Farm by George Orwell was written in 1945 and published in England. It allegorizes the story of the Communist Revolution in Russia through the characters of pigs and satirizes its degradation into the same totalitarian regime. The story revolves around animals where pigs are the cleverer than others. They bring a revolution, expelling their old master, Mr. Jones. However, after a couple of years, the pig leaders Snowball and Napoleon develop friction. Snowball flees to save his life, and the situation turns a full circle where Napoleon and his cohorts again take a dictatorial turn to run the administration of the farm through propaganda and other strategies. This is a short form of a novel with animals as its characters.
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
The Old Man and the Sea is a tour de force of Hemingway which won Noble Prize for Literature for him. A model of the realistic novel, the Old Man and the Sea presents the story of an old man who is too fragile to fish alone in the Gulf Stream near the Cuban capital of Havana. However, he hooks a truly huge marlin which tests his mettle for almost three days. Although he kills the marlin by the end, he loses it to sharks. His extreme fight and endurance win him accolades from the readers.
This is one of the best comings of the age novels, which takes the reader on a journey to see the life of a poor young boy, Pip. In the novel, Pip’s transformation from a poor orphan into a gentleman living in London goes through various challenges. His mistakes teach him valuable lessons as he realizes what his benefactors and Joe did for him. Parallelly, he falls in love with prideful Estelle and does his best to win her affection. By the end of the novel, Estelle is a widow and humbled, and Pip asks her to marry him, which she accepts. Without a doubt, “The Great Expectations” is one of the best English novels which tells the main characters personal growth and development.
Although written in the 19th century, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is one of the best science fictions. The story of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein obsessed with the idea of creating life. He creates ‘the Creature’ and is repulsed by his own experiment. The Creature brings havoc in Victor Frankenstein’s life after he fails to give him a partner. Both Victor and the creature meet with a tragic end. The story teaches a lesson that we must never intervene with nature.
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy is one of the best novels of the last century, which explores the role of fate and chance in an individual’s life. Tess belongs to a poor family, but her father discovers that their family perhaps descendants of D’Urbervilles, a noble family, after meeting Parson Tringham. Taking pride in his ancient lineage, he spends whatever they have and forces his young daughter to work on a farm where she is raped. Later, another young man, Angel Clare, marries her but after this disclosure, he leaves her. By the end of the novel, Angel returns and accepts her, but Tess is hanged for murdering her former rapist, Alec.
Novel Meaning and Function
A novel presents a whole picture as compared to a short story which displays only one aspect of life, or one side of the story. It also shows a vast panorama to its readers to see the story through an age in which it is presented such as The Tale of Two Cities has been written during the times when France and England were going through a lot of changes. Similarly, a novel also presents a conflict and its resolution. For every writer, a novel is a strong tool to present the philosophical, historical, social, cultural and moral perspectives.