What does context mean in literature?


Oct 16, 2022

Reading Time: 3 Min

Context is basically the background or situation in which something is set. In literature, context can refer to the historical and social circumstances surrounding the author and the work, the biographical and psychological background of the author, or the literary tradition within which the work was written. All of these factors can influence the meaning of a work of literature.

For example, if you were to read the play Romeo and Juliet without knowing anything about the historical context in which it was written, you might not understand why the two lovers are so desperate to be together that they’re willing to risk their lives. But if you know that the play was written during a time when arranged marriages were common and that young people were not free to marry whoever they wanted, then the play makes a lot more sense.

Similarly, if you were to read the short story “The Lottery” without knowing anything about the author, Shirley Jackson, you might not realize that the story is actually a satire on the way society can be blindly cruel and violent. But if you know that Jackson was a woman who lived in a small, conservative town and that she was known for her dark and disturbing stories, then the story takes on a whole new meaning.

In other words, context is important because it can help you to understand and appreciate a work of literature in a much deeper way.

Other related questions:

What is an example of context?

Context is the circumstances that form the setting for an event or experience.

What are the 3 literary contexts?

1) The historical and cultural context in which a work was produced;

2) The author’s intention or purpose in creating the work;

3) The audience for whom the work was intended.

What is context in the study of literature?

In literature, context refers to the background information surrounding a text. This can include the historical, social, and cultural context in which the text was written, as well as the author’s own personal background. Context can also refer to the way a text is interpreted, depending on the reader’s own context and experiences.

What is the context of a story?

The context of a story is the background information that helps readers understand the plot and characters. This can include the time period, location, and social circumstances in which the story takes place.


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