Hello everyone and welcome back to Theory Thursday. Last week I talked about tropes so you should check that out if you haven’t already. Today I am talking about epistolary form.
Let’s dive into #theorythursday.
I mentioned epistolary form briefly in my #bookofthemonth discussion about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein because the novel is a very good example of a text that is written in epistolary form. I decided that today I would talk about this form in more detail.
What is epistolary form?
As I said in my #bookofthemonth discussion, when a text is written in epistolary form, it means that the text is written through a series of letters and documents by one or several characters.
Texts that are written in epistolary form are often more focused on thoughts and feelings instead of dialogue, and this makes sense because if a character is writing a diary entry for example, they will be writing down the experience through their eyes, and they will be writing down how they felt about it, so it is important to remember that all of the text’s events are filtered by the character’s memory. Two people could write about the same event and yet they could write two extremely different things.
Another example of a text that is written in epistolary form is The Color Purple, written by Alice Walker.
Why is understanding epistolary form important?
I think that if you’ve never encountered this form before it can take a moment to get used to, because you’re not simply reading the story, you’re reading someone’s experience of the story, and it is the letters and diary entries that keep the plot’s events in order. For example if two characters are writing letters to each other, it is in their responses that the plot advances. It is a really interesting way to tell a story, and I think it is important to know that this method of telling a story through letters or diary entries is called epistolary form.
I also think it’s important to know about epistolary form because having a broad range of knowledge about different forms and how they function, expands our understanding of literature, and I believe that in turn, we expand our enjoyment of literature.
This has been Theory Thursday, I hope you all enjoyed it. Happy Friday Eve.