Exploring Roles and Definitions of Fiction Across the Disciplines


History and Fiction

History- The study of past events, particularly human affairs.

Fiction- Prose literature, esp. short stories and novels, about imaginary events and people.

  • What can be known as fact, and what do historians infer or embellish about historical events?
  • -The study of historiography goes in depth of what is really true.
  • -Interviewing a former teacher of mine he told me about a historiography class he once taught which showed the American viewpoint on the American Revolution and the British viewpoint.
  • -The American viewpoint was that we were being taxed had no representation or rights.
  • -The British viewpoint was that Americans wanted to send troops but no one wanted to pay taxes.


  • -Mr. Kelly told me he uses fiction to make his classes more interesting.
  • -Ex. He likes to play games such as “What If?” “What if Adolf Hitler’s teacher told him he was one of the best artist shes ever seen, maybe he would of gone into art instead of politics.”
  • -Using fiction Mr. Kelly said “it allows you to look at history in a different light and allows to kids to explore and change things around.”
  • -Prof. Lavender teaches a course on historiography and uses philosophy to question and debate what is real or not.
  • -Teacher Tarry Lindquist uses fiction in her classroom to make the class more –interested and make historical facts up for debate.
  • -Nothing in history can be for certain based on documents, they could be forged or tampered with.
  • -Using fiction in history you must not compromise information but you can give a story more life and it allows you to give characters life and more personality.
  • -British historical fiction writer Jill Paton, has to keep historical information correct while giving it more life using fiction, being able to expand on characters, plot, or setting while still keeping historical facts true.
  • -“In certain interpretations every fact is fiction because it is a representation of something that happened” – Prof. Rodgers
  • -Through this project I’ve learned fiction is an important part of history, It helps teaching it and find what is real or not.



English Literature and Fiction

My intended major is English Literature.

What is the difference between fiction and literature?

  • -Literature is used to describe written or spoken material. It is used to describe anything from creative writing to scientific works, but the term is most commonly used to refer to works of the creative imagination, including works of poetry, drama, fiction, and nonfiction.
  • -A work of fiction is a work of literature, but the term literature is more than just fiction. 
  • -Fiction is a work of the imagination or invention. Written works like novels, short stories, plays, and poems are fictional.
  • -Literature literally means “things made from letters”
  • -I asked Professor Rodgers what she thought was the difference between literature and fiction and she said that “fiction is a genre of literature. In a literature class you’re studying all aspects of literature, while in a fiction class you’re focusing on the aspects of literature alone.

 Louise Rosenblatt

  • -She was a professor of English Literature
  • -She taught at New York University, Barnard, Columbia University, and Brooklyn College
  • -She did research on the teaching of literature and argued that  “the act of reading literature involves a transaction between the reader and the text. Each “transaction” is a unique experience in which the reader and text continuously act and are acted upon by each other.”
  • -Her best influential texts is Literature as Exploration which was published in 1983.
  • -She believes that the reader plays a very important role in the life of literature: “There is no such thing as a generic reader or a generic literary work; there are only the –potential millions of individual readers or the potential millions of individual literary works. A novel or a poem or a play remains merely ink spots on paper until a reader transforms them into a set of meaningful symbols”
  • -She argued that the meaning of any text didn’t appear in the work itself but in how the reader interacted with it.
  • -In an interview she was asked if there were any instances from her childhood that impacted her interest in reading and literature and she said yes. She said that everything encouraged her to read.
  • -She didn’t start school until she was seven because her parents thought that schools were too regimented.  When she finally started school she learned to read very fast and said she couldn’t remember a time when she wasn’t reading.
  • -I asked my Professor why she decided to teach fiction and she said ” because I write fiction and because I loved certain books. I enjoy thinking about fiction. I feel like it is important to be human.” (Professor Rodgers)
  • -Rosenblatt believes that a written work does not have the same meaning for everyone, as each reader brings individual background knowledge, beliefs, and context into the reading act.
  • -In her text Literature as Exploration she states that “creation and reception of literary works are influenced by literary tradition” (28).
  • -She says that through literature we “acquire not so much additional information as additional experience. . . . Literature provides a living-through, not simply knowledge about”



Teaching Children About Fiction & How Children View Fiction

  • -When teaching elementary students, teachers open the door to the world of fiction
  • -Fiction has different forms – contemporary realism, fantasy, historical fiction, poetry, folk tales, myths and epics – These all have their parts in children’s literature.
  • -Unlike older students’ books, children books take the form of picture books in which visual and verbal texts form an interconnected whole.
  • -Fiction allows children to explore life through literature
  • -It serves children in 4 major ways: helps them to better understand themselves, others, their world and the values of written language.
  • -When children read fiction they put themselves in the role of one of the characters.
  • -With fiction, children can move beyond the outer edges of reality and place themselves in worlds of make-believe, unfettered by the constraints of everyday life.


  • -Teachers all have different perspectives on how to teach fiction to their students.
  • -While high school and college teachers/ professors are introducing students to get in between the lines of fiction stories; elementary teachers are putting the idea of fiction into childrens heads by introducing them to small stories with picture books, etc.
  • -While interviewing a college professor, she stated that when you’re teaching little kids you are more creative and experimental… they have more hands on activities, however teaching college students fiction, they are learning to define things in this field of study.
  • – When interviewing, the teacher said it’s much harder teaching fiction than other subjects. There is so much you need to become familiar with when you start with fiction.
  • -It is important to connect to the subject because fiction has many different purposes.