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Reading Comprehension - Comedy, Romance, Drama and Tragedy
A romance deals with love.

Reading Comprehension - Comedy, Romance, Drama and Tragedy

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From your prior English classes you have learned that stories come in all kinds of genres (artistic ways to tell a story). A few of those styles included fiction, non-fiction, biographies and autobiographies.

This quiz is going to cover four other styles, that of the comedy, the romance, the drama and the tragedy.

The Comedy

In short, a comedy is written or presented in a manner that is supposed to make you laugh and have a good, lighthearted time. Most comedies, though not all, focus on the average, low to middle-class, ordinary person.

The comedic plot will involve family relationships, a person’s job, finding romance, medical problems, neighbors, going on a vacation and just about any normal thing that one can and will encounter in life. The comedy is presented in one of four ways, i.e., as a farce, as a romantic comedy, as a satire or as a black comedy.

1. The Farce: The farce is characterized by the use of slapstick humor (think of the Three Stooges, the Marx Brothers or the Pink Panther movies). The situations and the characters are usually extremely absurd and face all kinds of ridiculous twists and turns in the plot line.

2. The Romantic Comedy: The word romance gives this away as the romantic comedy deals with a plot line around love. Usually the two people who are in love face all kinds of obstacles that seem to keep them apart yet in the end, they always get together. Think of the movie Fifty First Dates or the classic Guys and Dolls.

3. The Satire: In a satire, the main character usually has a flaw such as they are a thief or a trickster or a con-artist or a simple goof. In addition, they are usually cynical or morally corrupt. Think of the movies O’ Brother Where Art Thou and Pulp Fiction.

4. The Black Comedy: This is a comedy that makes you laugh at grotesque things or situations that you would tend to feel ashamed of such as taboos. A good example of a black comedy is the former TV series MASH (a military hospital).

The Romance

Okay, again, this is not a hard one to understand. A romance deals with love but it might not always be the love of one person with another. It can involve the love of a pet or the love of a job or the love of a place. The only thing the storyline must revolve around is that of “love.” In addition, a romance can also involve comedy or drama but not tragedy as a romance always ends in a “happily-ever-after” ending. An example of a romance is that of The Twilight series which involves the love of a human and a vampire. There are several subgenres of the romance. Among the ones that are most common are:

1. Historical Romance: This is a romance that takes place well in the past, usually in a different century. The stories can be based on actual persons who existed (such as Samson and Delilah) or fictional characters. They often deal with the conflicts that faced men and women in different time periods. An example of a historical romance would be that of Jane Eyre written in 1847.

2. Contemporary Romance: Are love stories that occur in the present time. Again, they do not always have to deal with love between people. A good example of a contemporary romance is The Notebook.

3. Futuristic, Fantasy and Paranormal Romance: These are love stories that take place in an imaginary time and place or when someone who is living falls in love with someone who is dead. Sometimes they involve time travel where one character travels through time to find their love living in a different time. An example of this would be the Outlander series.

The Drama

At one time the drama and the tragedy were considered to be the same thing or at least very close to the same thing. However, in modern times, the two genres have split ways although they can still share some slight similarities. The drama is a storyline that revolves around a major conflict and how that conflict affects the characters. Unlike the tragedy where the hero or heroine is destroyed or brought low, the drama focuses on how the hero or heroine is able to overcome the trials in their life in spite of odds that may be stacked against them. A drama also often involves mystery such as the finding out who murdered someone or who stole something. There are several good TV shows that are examples of drama. A few are CSI: Las Vegas, NCIS and Person of Interest.

The Tragedy

The tragedy is the absolute opposite of a comedy. Aristotle provided the very first definition for a tragedy. He defined tragedy as “a form of drama in which the protagonist has a tragic flaw, such as excessive pride.” In a tragedy, a good person, group of people, nation, etc. are brought down, nearly destroyed if not completely destroyed due to making poor judgments or unavoidable circumstances. A tragedy is meant to invoke fear and pity to the audience or reader. An example of a tragedy would be that of Romeo & Juliet.

Now that you’ve had a review of what a comedy, romance, drama and tragedy are in literature (which also transfers over to the stage, movies and TV), let’s see if you can distinguish each one by answering the following quiz questions.

1.
A comedy, a romance, a drama and a tragedy are each different types of _____.
humor
books
foreshadowing
genres
A comedy, a romance, a drama and a tragedy are each different types of genres. Answer (d) is correct
2.
A genre is ________.
a book that makes the best seller list
a story that is told either through the viewpoint of a male or the viewpoint of a female
an artistic way that the writer chooses to tell a story
a story that is written for a specific age group
A genre is an artistic way that the writer chooses to tell a story. Answer (c) is the correct answer
3.
The movie Fifty First Dates is an example of _______.
a satire
a romantic comedy
a drama
a tragedy
The movie Fifty First Dates is an example of a romantic comedy. Answer (b) is the correct answer
4.
This is characterized by the use of slapstick humor.
A farce
A satire
A tragedy
A romance
The farce is characterized by the use of slapstick humor. Answer (a) is the correct answer
5.
This is meant to invoke fear and pity to the audience or reader.
A drama
A paranormal romance
A tragedy
A satire
A tragedy is meant to invoke fear and pity to the audience or reader. Answer (c) is the correct answer
6.
The story The Notebook is an example of ________.
fantasy romance
historical romance
romantic comedy
contemporary romance
The story The Notebook is an example of a contemporary romance. Answer (d) is the correct answer
7.
This focuses on how the hero or heroine is able to overcome the trials in their life in spite of odds that may be stacked against them.
Tragedy
Drama
Satire
Black comedy
The drama focuses on how the hero or heroine is able to overcome the trials in their life in spite of odds that may be stacked against them. Answer (b) is the correct answer here
8.
This takes place well in the past, usually in a different century.
Historical romance
Paranormal romance
Futuristic romance
Romantic comedy
A historical romance takes place well in the past, usually in a different century. Answer (a) is the correct answer
9.
The former TV series MASH is an example of this.
Black comedy
Satire
Drama
Tragedy
The former TV series MASH is an example of black comedy. Answer (a) is the correct answer
10.
In this, the main character usually has a flaw such as they are a thief or a trickster or a con-artist or a simple goof.
Comedy
Romance
Drama
Satire
In a satire, the main character usually has a flaw such as they are a thief or a trickster or a con-artist or a simple goof. Answer (d) is the correct answer
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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