What is the significance of the title in a work of  literature and how do we define the author's purpose?

Expert Answers
durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is a fact that many writers add a title to their work AFTER they have finished it. This can have advantages and disadvantages.

Knowing the title of the proposed piece of literature BEFORE he or she starts can help keep the author focused and prevent rambling sentences. Adding a title at the end can ensure that the work is aptly named and the name reflects the content. Either way, a lot of consideration is required before naming a literature piece.

Despite the cliche that a person must not judge a book by its cover, a reader when faced with shelves of books will often scan those shelves for a title that appeals to him making the title the difference between a book at least being considered and being rejected outright.

The author's purpose also needs consideration when choosing a title because the purpose will be lost if the author cannot attract the target audience for which his book was intended. The author's intention is the main emphasis in revealing his purpose.

Titles can also encourage readers and

  • uninspiring topics can be energized and readers may tackle the subject because they are drawn to the title.
  • an author who shows creativity in the choice of a title also encourages readers to research other books of the same author
  • ensuring that the message is conveyed starts with the title.
  • a good title can set the mood from the onset and establishes a theme.

It is essential therefore to give great consideration to the title of any piece of writing.