Tips on Book Reports - Fiction
Librarian's Corner




See also: Tips on Book Reports - Nonfiction

Basic Elements Discussed in a Book Report on a Novel

1. Theme
  • What is the underlying idea? Is there more than one?
  • What is the relationship between the theme and the plot, characters, setting and title?
  • Does the work have a theme?
  • Are universal problems dealt with or are they limited to one individual?
    These are just a few of the things that can be considered
2. Synopsis of Setting and Plot
  • When and where does the story occur?
  • Time period covered?
  • Are the customs of the time accurately presented?
  • What part does the natural environment play if any?
  • Is symbolism used?
  • What is the basic conflict? Is it completely, logically resolved?
  • How is the initial situation introduced?
  • What are the complicating factors, climax and conclusion?
  • Are there sub-plots? If so, how do they relate to the main plot?
    These are some of the things to consider.
3. Characters
  • Identify the major characters.
  • What are their motives?
  • Do they develop or remain the same?
  • What classes of society are represented?
  • Are any of the characters symbolic?
  • What is their relationship to the plot and setting?
  • Are there any significant characters? What makes this character significant?
  • What are his detracting or redeeming qualities?
  • What is his attitude toward others, moral values, philosophy of life, etc.?
  • How is he/she influenced by heredity, environment, past experiences?
    Things of this nature should be considered.
4. Style
  • This is the particular manner of expression of a writer, which distinguished him/her from other writers.
  • Consider how the author uses figures of speech, humor and symbolism, etc.
  • Is the author’s works concrete, abstract, idiomatic, etc.?
  • How does the author’s own times, race, nationality, religion, etc. influence his/her writing?
  • How are description and narration handled?
    These are just a few of the things to consider in the discussion of style.
    Give quotations to support your views.
5. Personal Comment
  • What is your response to the work?
  • In your opinion, what are the major strengths and weaknesses?