A novella is very similar to a novel-merely shorter and more focused, either on one or two characters, a shorter timeframe, or a single event of importance. Of course, novella's have fewer pages and are shorter than novels, but they also have fewer conflicts, diverting plotlines (or subplots), and less complex events. Novellas will often focus more on one character and that character's development than on the larger context.
These novellas are considered some of the most recognizable.
Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness-Marlow, the narrator, tells the story of his journey to Africa and his trek into the African jungle to find a missing man. In his story, we come to realize the perils of colonialism, and there are themes related to the darkness that resides in man's heart.
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol-Tells the story of a miserly business owner, Ebenezer Scrooge, and the fantastical visit of three different ghosts-Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. These spirits help Mr. Scrooge realize that he has hardened his heart, and he must change his ways before it is too late.
Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea-A novella about a fishing trip where an old man, Santiago, battles and eventually catches a large fish-the catch of a lifetime.
John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men-The story of two men, George and Lenny, who look for work during the dust bowl and the Depression in the 1930's. Lenny is mentally handicapped, and George becomes his caretaker, until Lenny does something unknowingly that is also unforgiveable.
Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis tells the story of a man named Gregor who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a large insect. He is worried that he will be late for work, and his family is upset that he can no longer earn income.
Literary Terms Examples