Guide to Literary Terms

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What is the definition of the word 'agency' in literature?

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yamaguchityler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This is a great question. Agency is often times a term used in either philosophy and sociology, however it can be used in a literature sense as well.

What agency means, is essentially the freedom and capacity to live or act in a defined world. In a literature sense, we can interpret this in a few different ways. We could look at a specific character in a novel, and see his/her ability to make choices, act freely, and control their respective lives within the novel. The character is able to engage socially, take action on desired things, and have control over their own life. 

We can also interpret agency from a reader and author's perspective. For instance, in almost every novel you read, there is a symbolism or theme or...

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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thongolivia | Student

The term agency simply means to give voice , choice and power.

For instance , the aim of Dalit literature is to give agency to the Dalits, who are the socially discriminated.

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