GENRE IN CHILDERN’S LITERATURE
A genre is a category of literature which is defined by the pattern or structure of a literary work. Each genre contains universal elements of form and content. However, books belonging to a particular genre share the same characteristics of plot, tone, mood, settings, characters and themes. Genre makes us aware of more literature for children than simple stories and nursery rhymes. All elements of literature are included in each of the major genres of fiction, but within each type one element may be more significant than another. There may be several sub-genres within each genre.
Realism means that a story is possible, although not necessarily probable. The story in realism is possible happen in the real life and the author often add some fillers to make the story more interesting but still make sense. Realistic story is a representation of action that seems truthful. a. Realistic Stories
In realistic story the protagonist is more common than heroic, more focus on daily life and there is no intervention of magical or supernatural power. The problem of story usually not simplistic, because the conflict sometimes involving society, other people, and protagonist itself. In children literature, realistic stories usually tells about the friendship like the tale in the Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata. Children are more understand about friendship and all conflicts around it. This type of realistic stories can become one of the media for children to improve their logical knowledge and more value the friendship. b. Animal Realism
Animal realism remains true to animal nature. In this type of realism animal still have the same behavior and adaptation to their original habitats. The principle point of view in the story still focus on the animals but re-tell by human’s taught. Human sometimes also involved or have important role to the animal protagonist and affected their storyline, for example is Ratman’s Notebooks by Stephen Gilbert. In this story we knew that human and animal can form the bond of relationship to trust and help each other. Usually
children were like this kind of story because its funny to see the human-animal interaction and sometimes they will ask their parents to bought the pet to play with. c. Historical Realism
Historical fiction is placed in the past. Details about element such as: clothing, building, and atmosphere must fit the time and place. The author must combined the fact and imagination to change the facts into fiction. Language should be appropriate at the time but also be simplified to make the children more understand. For example is Kenshin the Wandering Samurai (Rurouni Kenshin) by Nobuhiro Watsuki. The story setting was during Meiji Restoration and protagonist himself was just fictional but the other characters whose surround him are factual or really exist in that era. In here the author try to interact his imaginative character with real historical characters which make the story more epic. Speaking of which, most of children usually like the epic or heroic story and sometimes the historical fiction always included on its content. This make it as one of the medias to make children interesting in history and built their heroic attitude to help the others.
B. Formula Fiction
Formula fiction follow distinct pattern, although following a formula does not necessarily eliminate the writer’s originality. a. Mysteries and Thrillers
Mystery and Thrillers stories are set in any time, historical or futuristic, as well as present. The story rely on suspense on unexplained event which must be resolved by reasonable discoveries. Plot carries and are carefully crafted to keep the tempo of thrilling which make the readers always curious and wants to read more until the story finally unfold. The example of mystery stories for children are Nancy Drew by Edward Stratemeyer and Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. Those novels are simple, means both children and adults can be able to enjoy the storyline but still keep the common elements of mysteries and thrillers for general. It is easy to read and understand with little description and much dialogue and it comes to satisfying conclusions. b. Romantic Stories
Romantic story focus on male-female relationship and usually in young lives. The stories often set in modern era and target it for young readers. Female characters are feminine yet feisty involved with male paragon of tender-tough qualities. In Japanese the genre of romantic stories called shoujo. They published it in the form of manga and light novel. It usually tell the story of love relationship between school-boy and school-girl which added by hilarious dialogue and conflict, make this shoujo liked by the young people around the world, especially female readers. The romantic stories just freely imaginative but was not far from ordinary life.
Fantasy requirement interconnection between readers and writer. The readers need intensively the willing suspension of disbelief to make the fantasy work does exist within the framework of the book. The writers need ability to make the imaginary universe so credible, so solidly grounded in reality. a. Fantastic Stories
In most of details, fantastic stories still have the realistic plot and elements but still require the readers to willingly suspend their disbelief. The example of combination between fantasy and real world is The White Ghost of Fenwick Hall by Althea Wharton . Joan, protagonist of this story just ordinary woman with ordinary life, until someday she saw the mysterious white figure when drive to New York. She got an accident and when she wakes up, somebody has brought her to Fenwick Hall. In the beginning and the middle of story, Joan just the only one who can see this white ghost. Generally the fantasy element in this story focus on the white ghost who actually help Joan. This make readers drag their mind into this mansion and make they think that ghost really exist or just her imagination. In the end the ghost really exist and reveal the biggest secret in this story. Another similar story but different on some particular part is The Bridge to the Terabithia by Katherine Patterson. The protagonists, Jess and Leslie also just ordinary kids with ordinary life but they can suspense their disbelief and re-imagine some place in the woods as their imaginative world called Terabithia. Most of the children often do some kind of that with their imagination so fantasy also important to build the children’s creativity.
Children need fantasy to create imagination, from imagination children can build creativity, creativity can not be built without fantasy. b. High Fantasy
The high fantasy is primarily focus on the conflict between good and evil. Usually the characters are not ordinary people, like they have some kind of super power or magic. The cast of characters sometimes involving non human beings such as : Orc in The Lord of the Ring or Troll in The Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone. Setting varies, but is most often integral because credibility may depend upon a created world different from our town. The story have serious tone and themes are more concern on the greatest conflict of human life, between good and evil. In the end the good side (most of the high fantasy) always win. Once again many children idolize their hero from the story and in this high fantasy story, especially on children book, the hero always win. The author may have purpose to make the children to be the good person, because the bad people always lose in their story book. c. Science Fiction
Science fiction is a type of fantasy, and it is often difficult to decide whether particular work is pure fantasy or science, but generally it is the combination between both of them. A science fiction story is a story built around human beings, with a human problem, and a human solution, which would not have happened at all without scientific content. Traditionally science fiction has dealt with future worlds, but in one variation on that form, the time-lapse story takes a protagonist either for ward into future time or backward into the past, just like H.G. Wells’ Time Traveler. Today the science’s mechanical person or robot is serve as the children literary work in science fiction genre.
D. Traditional Literature
The term “traditional” implies that the form comes to us from the ordinary person, an anonymous storyteller, and exist orally rather than writing, in the end there is no final and definitive version of a piece of folk literature. Folktales that once flourished only where people did not read or write have become the property of all people. a. Fables
The fable is a very brief story, usually with animal characters, that points clearly to a moral or lesson. The moral value usually given at the end of the story. The fables make visible and objective some lesson like that we see in “The Crocodiles and The Deer mouse” : “Brain over brawn”. Deer mouse is a small animal, but he has many tricks under his sleeves so in the end he can manipulates the crocodiles whose only rely on their strength. Style is crisp and straightforward and everything in fable exist to make an abstract point, to make a lesson clear-as clear as the moral in the story. b. Folktales
The folktale relies on flat characters, bad ones and good ones, easily recognized. There was hardly time for subtle character development, because folktales were heard by the teller and than retold in the teller’s own words. Stock characters like the queen witch and seven dwarfs in “Snow White,” frequently appear. Plots are progressive, with climax coming at very end and point of view is rarely first person, since the tales are told about flat characters in fantastic situation. The style of the folktale relies upon recurring images and often includes short rhymes. Sometimes folktale are subdivide into many categories, such as: magic, romance, talking beast and etc. These categories often overlap; the subgroups only emphasize the richness and variety of the genre, all of them ideal media for the picture book. c. Myths
Myths originate in beliefs of nations or races and present episodes where supernatural forces operate. Because they are handed down by word of mouth, they have no right or wrong form and the tone is dignified and somewhat mystical. One of the benefits to readers of myths is the reinforcement of the truth that all people values similar human traits. Plots are often single incidents or a few incidents linked by characters. An opening phrase like “ A long time ago” is sufficient for setting. The effective telling of a myth has dignity and simplicity, for it tries to recreate the spirit and intention of the original. When myths are well told, they appeal to something deep within us. d. Legend and Hero Tales
Legends are similar to myths because both are traditional narratives of a people. Legends often have more historical truth and less reliance upon the supernatural. The example the story of Si Pitung from Javanese, Indonesia. This folks hero fight against the post-colonialism of Dutch in Batavia and his heroic act is the prove of his existence. There is also story of Joko Tingkir, but most of his stories about defeat the giant crocodile and has the supernatural power actually just local legend, although he was actually really exist. e. Folk Epics
The folk epic is a long narrative poem of unknown authorship about an outstanding or royal character in a series of adventure related to that heroic central figure. A hero is larger than life, superhuman in physical and moral qualities. The action may involve journey and quests, like the Chinese folks epic “Journey to the West” the tale about the monkey magic and his master, ordinary monk who has been chosen for quest to the west. Another similar story also exist in Japan, although the only different was just the name of characters. The tone is dignified and the setting is vast, including a nation, a continent, or even the universe. Point of view is objective, for the story is so grand that a protagonist of such remarkable accomplishments seems to need no interpretive narrator.