What are two types of violence found in literature and how are the effects different?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that it is a very broad question, but this might be where its strength lies.  I think that if you are examining types of violence in literature, you will receive many answers.  The first type of literature that comes to my mind is literature that arises out of the Holocaust because one sees the depiction of two types of violence:  Public persecution and private acts of cruelty.  The violence might bear similarity, but the domain in which both acts take place add a different dimension to it.  For example, in Elie Wiesel's night, we see many examples of public persecution that is expressed through violence.  The presence of death camps, the shooting of Jewish individuals who wanted an extra bowl of soup, or the beating of individuals in public could be such examples.  Yet, on another side of the coin would be those acts of terror that are privatized.  These are still acts of violent cruelty, but they are done away from prying eyes and are directly exacted upon specific individuals.  When Madame Schacter is abused by the group to keep quiet her fears of what will happen, or when Eliezer is beaten for what he has seen are such examples.  In Styron's Sophie's Choice, the same dynamic is present.  Public acts of violence are represented by the Nazis, while privatized form of torment are in the form of fathers who abuse their children, husbands who abuse their wives, guards who abuse their power, and lovers who abuse the cursed souls who happen to need some, any, affection.

jasminaenotes eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Would you, please, clarify your question?

It is hard to limit violence to two types, and is there a certain kind of literature you are thinking about, a certain period in literature, a genre, or author(s)?

hockeyboy41 | Student

According to Thomas C. Foster, there are two types of violence found in literature: those that are caused by other characters and those that are out of the hands of the characters. For example, in the novel The Great Gatsby, Fitzgerald uses the first type of violence when he writes about Jay Gatsby, and how he accidently kills Wilsons wife, Myrtle. In reality, there was no accident at all, it was planned by Fitzgerald and there was nothing that any of the characters could have done. This displays the second type of violence. The Great Gatsby can also be used to describe the first type of violence. Wilson, the husband of Myrtle, goes on an angry rampage after he has found out that Jay Gatsby was responsible for his wife dying. He goes over to Gatsbys house and shoots him. This sort of violence is caused by the character of an individual character.