What is the genre of The Commitments?

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Roddy Doyle’s The Commitments is a novel. Novels are longer texts that feature a fictional plot and typically use prose. This definition may seem rather broad, but if you consider how novels differ from other genres such as poetry or short stories, it becomes clear why novels are considered a special “type” (genre) of literature. For example, poetry typically uses lyrical language (not prose), whereas short stories are shorter than novels. Similarly, drama is different from novels in that it is mostly comprised of dialogue and stage directions.

One could also argue that The Commitments belongs to a sub-genre of “comedy novel” because its content is mostly humorous and features a number of comedic elements, such as verbal or situation irony and misunderstandings. For example, on page 2, the text states,

I was thinking maybe we should have an exclamation mark, yeh know, after the second And in the name. I’d look deadly on the posters.

Outspan said nothing while he imagined it.

What’s an explanation mark, said Derek?

As the brief passage above shows, Derek’s confusion or lack of knowledge about the meaning of “exclamation mark” creates humor and sets the comedic tone of the novel.   

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