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Ch 13: Historical, Social, & Cultural Aspects of Literature

About This Chapter

Explore the historical, social and cultural aspects of literature in this intriguing study guide chapter. Each lesson is followed by a brief quiz to help you review concepts covered, including oral and written traditions and specific novels that reflect cultural attitudes.

Historical, Social & Cultural Aspects of Literature - Chapter Summary

Refresh your knowledge of the historical, cultural and social impacts literature has made on society by examining the information outlined in these lessons. This chapter explores the literary ways in which cultural values and attitudes have been expressed and details the long oral traditions of storytelling that have influenced the way we write and read literature today. Let expert instructors guide you through topics including:

  • Use of rhetorical devices in oral tradition
  • Characteristics of oral, written and artistic traditions from World literature, Africa circa 500-1800 CE and the Aztec
  • Influence of young adult fiction on cultural ideas and attitudes
  • Review of social and historical fiction including Uncle Tom's Cabin, Oliver Twist and The Grapes of Wrath
  • Importance of context for interpreting literature

Complete each lesson at your own pace, tracking your progress through the Dashboard feature, then take advantage of the lesson quizzes and chapter exam to review the material and assess your comprehension. You have the option of taking these multiple-choice quizzes online or printing out the quiz worksheets to use as study material. The lessons presented in video-format include video tags that allow you to jump to main concepts within the lesson.

12 Lessons in Chapter 13: Historical, Social, & Cultural Aspects of Literature
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Oral Tradition of Storytelling: Definition, History & Examples

1. Oral Tradition of Storytelling: Definition, History & Examples

As old as man himself, the oral tradition of storytelling is a hallmark element of the human experience all over the world. Explore the healing powers of storytelling through a definition, discussion of history, and examples. Then, put your new expertise to the test with a quiz.

Rhetorical Devices in the Oral Tradition

2. Rhetorical Devices in the Oral Tradition

Have you ever kept someone from telling a story because you felt you could tell it better? Or maybe you'd love to be known for your ability to bring people in when you relate an event? Chances are you'll want to know about rhetorical devices.

Written & Oral Traditions in Africa (500-1800 CE)

3. Written & Oral Traditions in Africa (500-1800 CE)

This lesson explores the written and oral traditions of pre-modern Africa. It highlights folktales, proverbs, griots and the travelogue known as Rihlah.

Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Aztec

4. Artistic & Oral Traditions of the Aztec

In this lesson, you will explore how art and language were deeply connected in the Aztec Empire, a powerful culture that controlled Central America. Then, you will be able to test your understanding about the Aztec Empire, their language, and their art with a brief quiz.

Characteristics of Oral Tradition in World Literature

5. Characteristics of Oral Tradition in World Literature

Before books and writing, cultures passed along their history and heritage through oral storytelling traditions. Many classics of world literature, from 'The Iliad' to 'The Epic of Gilgamesh,' were passed down orally before being written down.

Young Adult Literature: Major Works & Their Cultural Impact

6. Young Adult Literature: Major Works & Their Cultural Impact

Young adult literature is designed to appeal to young readers. This lesson will discuss some major works of young adult literature along with their cultural impact. We will end with a brief quiz to see what you have learned.

What is Historical Fiction? - Definition, Characteristics, Books & Authors

7. What is Historical Fiction? - Definition, Characteristics, Books & Authors

Learn about a genre that takes our actual past and mixes in fictional elements. This lesson breaks down the definition of historical fiction and describes popular examples in literature.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and the American Civil War

8. Uncle Tom's Cabin and the American Civil War

In this lesson, we will explore the context, characters and plot of one of the country's most influential novels, Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Then, find out how it inched America closer to the Civil War.

Oliver Twist: Plot and Characters in Dickens' Social Novel

9. Oliver Twist: Plot and Characters in Dickens' Social Novel

It's Oliver Twist, the tale of an orphan boy who's mistreated, kidnapped once or twice, and saved once or twice, but all along never loses his plucky optimism. Watch this lesson to find out more!

The Grapes of Wrath: Summary, Characters & Themes

10. The Grapes of Wrath: Summary, Characters & Themes

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is a gritty, realistic look at life in the Dust Bowl in America during the Great Depression. This lesson will focus on the summary, characters, and themes of The Grapes of Wrath.

Expressing Cultural Values, Ideas & Attitudes in Literature

11. Expressing Cultural Values, Ideas & Attitudes in Literature

Cultural values, ideas and attitudes are presented by the author in literature to offer insight into the beliefs and traditions of different cultures. It is, essentially, the duty of the author to present the values of a particular culture.

Interpreting Works in Context

12. Interpreting Works in Context

In this lesson, we will learn how to interpret a written work in its context. We will explore the historical context, biographical context, context of language and form, and context of the reader.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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