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Literary Appreciation : Definition, Elements, Approaches, Stages, Importance

Literary appreciation is the ability to study, understand and evaluate or make a critical judgement of literary works. What is Literary Appreciation.

Literary Appreciation

Literary Appreciation

Literary Appreciation is one of the most potent things to consider when the term, Literature comes up for deliberation. It is inseparable from the characteristic nature of literature itself. This is evident in the three genres of literature; poetry, prose and drama.

Literally, appreciation of literature and literary works is an attempt to make literary works more valuable. Literary appreciation helps to deduce the meaning behind these works, as well as their importance, their imitation of life as literary works, the values, motivations, beliefs that are inherent in the works. It also allows the reader to have a better grasp of the writer's psychological emotions or  attitude towards his or her works.

Appreciation of literary works gives more space to have in-depth insight about them, and not consider them as merely words combined together to form a book.

In short, literary appreciation let's open more details about a work of literature more than is simply appears.

To have more understanding about the concept of literature, it is imperative for us to consider the meaning of literary Appreciation, the stages of literary appreciation including its elements and importance to literature as a whole.

What Is Literary Appreciation?

Literary appreciation is the  ability to study, understand and evaluate or make a critical judgement of literary works. The writing styles, themes, figurative and non-figurative use of language, literary devices and other elements that are visible in a literary work are considered and studied through the use of literary appreciation.

Other scholars of literature also have their own varying definition on the concept of literary appreciation. Notable of these scholars are Ogenwele (2006) and Donelson and Nilsen (2009).

Ogenwele (2006) defines literary appreciation as the evaluation of works of imaginative literature as an intellectual or academic exercise. Through this evaluation, the reader can properly and easily interprete the intent of the writers as well as the complexities and the advantages and disadvantages of the literary work.

Similarly, to Donelson and Nilsen (2009), literary appreciation echo this sentiment and add that it is the process by which one ‘gauges one’s interpretive response as a reader to a literary work.

Elements Of Literary Appreciation

There are some indispensable elements of literary appreciation. They are provided below:

  1.  Plot: This is the sequential arrangements of event in a literary work. It's  the storyline and must be detailed.
  2. Theme: Theme is the central idea that is inferred from reading and interpretation 9f the plot, imagery and symbolism in a literary work. In other words, it is the central issue raised in the work.
  3.  Style: This is the way the language is structured or the ways or manner in which a work is written. Technically, every writer has his or her own style of writing.
  4. Mood: This is the feeling of atmosphere that the writer created for the reader through the description of the setting, what the characters say and the use of language. This element of literary appreciation is important in order to fully appreciate the literary work by having a classical overview of the writer's intent, mood, or emotions.
  5. Diction: This has to deal with the author's choice of words.
  6. Literary devices: The literary devices used in the work could also help the reader to fully understand the work despite the expressions used.

Approaches To Literary Appreciation

These are some of the approaches to literary appreciation that can be adopted in order to have a full grasp of what a particular literary work entails. They are:

  • The context of the literary work
  • The structure of the work.
  • The poetic devices employed in the work
  • The themes inherent in be literary work

Stages Of Literary Apppreciation

There are stages of literary appreciation which could serve as a guide to the better to evaluating literary works. 

In Margaret Early’s Stages of Growth in Literary Appreciation, these stages are considered as parts  of literary appreciation and determining the personal attitudes, reading and observing skills .

These stages through which the readers go through are added unto without dropping the previous stages. As a result, appreciating literary works can be considered as a lifelong process.

To give more clarity, Donelson and Nilsen (2009) devised that literary appreciation occurs in Severn different stages.

The stages of Literary Appreciation are: 
Level 1: Pleasure and Profit (literary appreciation is a social experience)

Level 2: Decoding (literacy is developed)

Level 3: Lose yourself (reading becomes a means of escaping)

Level 4: Find yourself (discovering identity)

Level 5: Venture beyond self (‘going beyond me’, assessing the world around them)

Level 6: Variety in reading (reads widely and discusses experiences with peers)

Level 7: Aesthetic purposes (avid reader, appreciates the artistic value of reading)

The Difference Between Literary Appreciation And Literary Criticism

The difference is that literary appreciation is majorly the ability to evaluate as well as enjoy works of literature. The goal is largely pleasure. Literary criticism on the other hand seeks to understand why and how a particular literary work works.

Importance Of Literary Appreciation

Literary appreciation is an alienable part of literature. In the same vein, its importance to the understanding of literature, its benefits and the literary works can't be overemphasized as it is.

  1. Proper Evaluation: Hence, one of the importance of literature is that it allows proper evaluation of literary works. 
  2. Connection Between The Readers And Writers: It also gives more intimation between the readers and the writers— like some sort of connection focused on the same literary pieces.
  3. It Gives More Value: Another importance of literary appreciation is that through such attempt of evaluation, literary works become more valuable. 
  4. Information And Imagination: It helps us to have full grasp of the informative and imaginative aspects of literature.

Literary appreciation focuses on the adequate grasp of the definitions and applications of traditional literary devices such as plot, character, metaphor, setting and symbolism which may be encountered within texts.


Literary appreciation as stated earlier is inseparable from literature as they work hand in hand for the better evaluation, understanding of literature. Through it, literature stands the chance to be more valued.

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Pawners Paper: Literary Appreciation : Definition, Elements, Approaches, Stages, Importance
Literary Appreciation : Definition, Elements, Approaches, Stages, Importance
Literary appreciation is the ability to study, understand and evaluate or make a critical judgement of literary works. What is Literary Appreciation.
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