Introduction to Literature


English Literature


Introduction to Literature


SS 1


First Term


Week 1

Instructional Materials:

  • Recommended Literature Text


Reference Materials

  • Scheme of Work
  • Online Information
  • Textbooks
  • Workbooks
  • 9 Year Basic Education Curriculum

Previous Knowledge:

The pupils have previous knowledge of


1st Term Examination LITERATURE IN ENGLISH SSS 1


Behavioural Objectives: At the end of the lesson, the pupils should be able to

  • define literature
  • state the functions of literature




                                                                WEEK ONE






The term literature derives its origin from the adjective, ‘Literate’, which can be interpreted to mean ability to read and write. ‘Literature’ can mean in its widest sense everything written in every discipline. Thus, books on economics, history, chemistry, law, football, chess or even company brochures etc. can pass for literature in these spheres of life. However, the literature we are keen to talk about here is that which refers to those writings that are creative or imaginative. It is those artistic expressions in which the writer’s imagination has played a prominent role in their production. A literature writer is called a Litterateur while a small group of people in a society who knows a lot about literature is known as Literati.


Literature can be divided into two broad types. These are fiction and nonfiction.




Is a story invented by someone, it is not real. It is the creation of the writer with the aim of eliciting literary reactions from readers. It is a story that centers on imaginary people and events. A writer of fiction may take a story line from real event, and people and then change some details about them and subsequently add some imaginary characters in order to make it real and plausible (e.g.) Purple Hibiscus.



This is the direct opposite of fictitious literature. Non-fictions are books, journals, novels, plays, poems and articles that centre on real facts or events which were not created or imagined (e.g.) Women of Owu.



1   Give an elaborate definition of literature.

2   Write extensively on the types of literature.

3 What are the characteristics of literature?

4 Mention some of the functions of literature.

5 How has literature helped in the past and how is it helping presently?

6 Critically examine the role of literature in society.

7 To what extent has literature contributed to your personal development?

8 How do you think literature will shape the future?




Literature takes its source from;

  • Folklore
  • Festivals
  • Rituals
  • Myths
  • Legends
  • Oral Poetry
  • Languages
  • Oral traditions
  • Stories
  • Legends
  • Customs
  • Arts
  • Crafts
  1. FOLKLORE: These are traditional stories that take their roots from the culture of a particular group of people. It is usually a fictitious but elaborate story accepted by people and transmitted from one generation to another through the medium of speech. Folklore consists of folk heroes. These are people admired by people in a particular society, because of their alleged positive and longtime influence on their people and society at large. FOLKDANCE: Is a kind of traditional dance from a particular area. The folkdance is usually done by a folk dancer. FOLKMUSIC is a traditional music that has been played by ordinary people in a particular area for a long time. It is a style of popular music in which people sing and play with the aid of traditionally made guitars without any electronic equipment.
  2. FESTIVALS: Festivals are occasions where there are performances of many films, plays and pieces of music. Festival is a period in a year, regularly marked out for public gaiety and feasting. It is also a special occasion when people celebrate something such as religious events, and it is usually associated most often with a public holiday. Festival consists of traditional ceremonies which reveal the culture and tradition of the people.
  3. RITUAL: This is a ceremony that is always performed in the same way in order to mark an important religious or social occasion. It is also a form of religious obligation performed with the sole mission of appeasing traditional gods and deities.
  4. MYTH: This is an idea or story that many people believe which may or may not be true. It is also an ancient story, especially those ones invented in order to explain natural or historical events. Myth is also an imaginary story of gods, heroes, heroines and supernatural beings which the society holds in high esteem. This form of story is usually rendered orally.
  5. LEGEND: An old, well-known story, often centered on the adventure of brave people, or magical events. A legend could mean someone who is famous and admired for being extremely good at doing something.
  6. ORAL POETRY: This is poetry done by word of mouth. That is, it is rendered orally. The purpose is to praise an event, individual or society for great deeds. Poems under this are known as praise poems or panegyric.



1    Define the following (a) festival (b) legend (c) oral poetry

2    Discuss the purpose of literature.



  1. Literature has ____ genres. (a) eight (b) play (c) one (d) three
  2. ____ mirrors life. (a) film (b) literature (c) camera (d) textbook
  3. Folklore and festival are classed under ____ literature. (a) light (b) tragic (c) spoken (d) literary
  4. Panegyric is a form of ____ poetry. (a) verb (b) oral (c) old (d) written
  5. ____ is an element of literature. (a) Fable (b) Festival (c) Plot (d) Lyrical poetry.



  1. Discuss folklore as a source of literature.
  2. Give three definitions of literature you know.
  3.  What are the different genres of literature?


  4.  How does literature mirror life?


  5.  What is Folklore and festival literature?


  6.  What is Panegyric poetry?


  7.  What are the elements of literature?
  8. What is the main source of literature?


  9.  What are the different types of literature?


  10.  What are the sources of folklore?


  11.  What are the sources of myths?


  12. What are the sources of oral traditions?




The topic is presented step by step


Step 1:

The subject teacher revises the previous topics


Step 2.

He introduces the new topic


Step 3:

The subject teacher allows the pupils to give their own examples and he corrects them when the need arises.




The subject teacher wraps up or concludes the lesson by giving out a short note to summarize the topic that he or she has just taught.

The subject teacher also goes round to making sure that the notes are well copied or well written by the pupils.

He or she makes the necessary corrections when and where the needs arise.