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What are the main methods used for communication in literature?  Please name them and briefly describe.

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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As stated in the prior posting, point-of-view (or narration) is important when analyzing a story. Outside of that, there are three traditional methods of communication in literature.

1. Dialogue- Dialogue is the communication between two or more people. This type of communication can be considered unreliable given the point-of-view of a text is typically stagnant (only given one perspective-like the narrator). Readers can learn about characters through dialogue by making decisions based upon their interpretation of the conversation.

2. Private thoughts- Private thoughts are the personal thinkings of the main character (as denoted through first-person narration) or through an omniscient narrator (a narrator who knows everything about every character). It is through private thoughts that a reader learns the most given the "speaker" does not feel the necessity of masking thoughts which will not be divulged to other characters.

3. Nonverbal communication- Nonverbal communication is the sending and receiving of messages which do not use words. The shake of a head when agreeing to undertake a project constitutes nonverbal communication. Many times this type of communication sends the correct message. Humor, or other feelings, can be introduced into a text when the nonverbal cues fail to match the verbal ones used in conjunction. (Example, a person says to another, "Yes, I love you" while rolling their eyes or wincing.

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lucey82 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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There are several methods for communication in literature, but you must first take into account the story's point of view.

In first person point of view, the narrator communicates directly to the reader through his/her thoughts.

In third person limited, the narrator only communicates the thoughts of feelings of one character, usually the protagonist. In third person omniscient, the narrator communicates the thoughts and feelings of all characters. In both of these cases, the characters communicate mainly through dialogue. However, they might also communicate nonverbally, and these interactions would be described by the narrator.

In sum, the main method for communication in literature is dialogue. Nonverbal communication can also be used, but must be described by the narrator. For example, "George caught Mary's attention by throwing his pencil at her, and then he gestured to the door. Mary gathered her belongings and the wayward pencil and then walked out the door."

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