Aspects of the Novel Questions and Answers
by E. M. Forster

Start Your Free Trial

How important is story in a novel?

Expert Answers info

wordprof eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write1,654 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

We should begin by clarifying what is meant by the term "story".  The characters act and are acted upon by the mise-en-scene, the other characters, and so forth; the plot is the narrative progression of events.  The "story " is the combination of the two--the narration of events along with the revealing and progress of the characters through the fictive time and circumstances.  in a simple story like "Goldilocks"  the story is all there is, but in a novel, ideally, the story embodies aesthetic, philosophical, even spiritual thought and feelings of the author.  So while on the surface, Moby Dick is a story about a sea captain's hunt for a whale, the novel uses this story to convey a compex reading experience.  in many respects, the more overwhelming the story, the less is the quality of the novel. A romance novel, for example, is all story, and very little else,  while a great novel like Herman Hesse's Glass Bead Game has an almost negligible story but is rich in ideas, style, philosophical ideas, etc. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial