Literary Glossary: N

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Narrator

The person who tells the story. First-person narrators tell the story from the perspective of a single individual, who usually hold a role in the story. Omniscient narrators have a broad scope of multiple characters, with insights into any or all aspects of the story. Limited, or limit-omniscient, narrators often take a 3rd-person approach of omniscient narration, but has deep insight into the mind and motives of one or very few characters.

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Naturalism

A style of literature written at the turn of the 20th-century that espouses objective observation of humans from a detached, scientific perspective. Naturalism is often described as the representation of the negative forces of real life, and fiction in this literary sub-genre is often populated with characters whose relationship with their surroundings is especially difficult or challenging. In fact, naturalist plots typically follow a noticeable "plot of decline," or a plot that often depicts a character's progression (or retrogression) toward degeneration or death. Determinism is often a prevailing theme, in which the characters struggle against the environment and are unable to express free will or agency. These narratives tend to be written in the third person, omniscient point of view.

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Noh

The oldest surviving Japanese dramatic form, noh combines elements of dance, drama, music, and poetry into a highly stylized, aesthetic retelling of a well-known story, often from Japanese literature such as The Tale of Genji or The Tale of the Heike.

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Non-fiction

A work rooted in fact and history, as opposed to fiction, or works of imagination.

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