Critical Summary


The present report has discussed about the summary and extract taken from Georg Lukacs, 'Narrate or describe?' In this summary, critical abstract has been presented which helps in understanding the comparison of narrate and describe. In this sense, a deep overview of subject has been done which demonstrate that Georg has given more importance to narration. Aprt from this, the following extract will be connected with the Great expectations created by Charles Dickens as well as Middlemarch written by George Eliot.


1) Critical Summary

As per Lukacs, there is a great difference between narration and description of a novel or any other writings. He has written two famous novels of Zola's Nana and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. In both the novels, he has presentted his great art of writing skills which makes the reader bounded with story (Madison, 2011). Further, in both of his novels he has made a discussion about Horse races which makes an attempt to describe the brilliancy. Thus, he has make an effort to describe the importance of narration more than description.

Lewis and Ferretti, (2011) has stated that description of a story gives an overview of the subject, its characters as well as its all significant aspects. Thus, the reader reads the description and makes a point from this. Similarly, narration depicts a way with a special art in which the entire story is told in a particular way that makes a complete sense with more of a feeling in the narrator as well as the reader. The narration is related with special effects in which story teller makes a description of all the characters, insight of the tale etc. From the narrations, the writer makes explanation in such a way that reader becomes intact with the entire story and can have the feeling of whole story as if he/ she is present there (Toolan, 2012). In Zola's Nana written by Lukacs, he has described the details of race in precise and colourful way. Apart from this, the major difference between both narration and description is, the former one uses first form or 'I' perspective while telling the story which makes a better connection of reader with story. Further, Rosebury, (2016) has stated that narration also puts an essence of realism in the tales as it depicts that writer has felt and experiences the explained things on its own. While on other hand, the description does not make any such attempt and goes on with a simple explanation of story.
As mentioned in the novel of Zola's Nana, he has described the scenes and with a mood and appearances that makes the reader immersed in the story. While the narration describes the viewpoint of story teller. As in the present novels, the writer has described the scenes with a dramatical view.

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The two novels of Zola's nana and Tolstoy's Anna have different writing styles in it. In Zola's nana, writer has described the horse race in a beautiful manner by showing the skills of Zola. The entire scene of race is elucidated in a manner that presents the entire scenario in a precise and colourful way. Here, Zola has written detailed study on modern ground about the second empire fashion show. On other hand, in Anna karenina, the race of horse is presented in a dramatical way. Here, the turn which came in the protagonists is described in a critical way. Thus, the Zola's race is explained as per the views of observer while in Anna, it has been described as per the participant's own views.

Example of Descriptive Mode

The descriptive mode of novels can be depicted in the Great expectations written by Charles Dickens and in George Eliot's Middlemarch. In both of these novels, the writers have used the method of descriptive mode in telling the story. In Middlemarch, the writer has used the way which has been criticised by many of the writers and critics, as in this writing there are various forms which depicts the obscure literary terms (Hagström, 2012). This novel has not described as a typical novel because in simple terms, novels are those writings, in which there is a relationship between all the characters which are canvassed in a beautiful way. There is no such finding in the said novel. It just merely described the characters in a disdain manner. Apart from this, in the novel, one great thing has been described by Eliot. She has described the entire scene of marriage which also depicts the end of novel. In this description, she has portrayed about the realities of marriages which make readers to have an insight of truth and realities of practical world. Thus, this novel described the story and its characters in a beautiful way though it has been criticised by many of critics as well due to use of obscure terms (Morss, 2013).
On other hand, the Great expectations, which is written by Charles Dickens is another example of great description of story. Here, the entire plot surrounds various characters according to which, a description of romance and love has been portrayed. It has many characters and each one has been displayed with a great role. It described the entire story with a mixture of crime, revenge, reward and guilts as well which is potential to make reader fall in the story with a feel. According to Bhabha (2013) the description of entire story shows various dimensions so that readers can have a feeling of story. It gives the details of entire story in a sensory detail so that reader can have a full understanding of the story.

However, in present case, Lukacs have favoured more to the narration style as it gives the overview of entire story as per writer's view. This makes understanding of the story much easier and better. Apart from, this, it is not necessary that only writer's views are depicted in the story, this can also be made with the help of any one character in the story. In other words, any of the character in the story can also be used as a story teller so that reader can have a better connectivity with it (Lewis and Ferretti, 2011).

Lukacs has revealed in extract about the writing skills in a better manner which also explains the description style in a beautiful and acceptable manner. It also gives the essence of a realism and precise description of scenes which can easily connect the reader with story. While in Middlemarch, Eliot has shown an example of aggressive writing. Her writings are usually criticised for obscureness for using her thoughts in a very bold way which are generally unacceptable by the readers. This is the major difference between both of the writing style of the novels. Apart from this, there is a good description of marriage scene in Eliot's novel which makes reader familiar with practical situation.


From the above summary it can be concluded that there are certain difference between the narrations and description. It can be inferred that narration plays an important role which helps to carry out an effective explanation during an appropriate experience. It can be stated that narration is helpful for summarising a story as it gives a purpose in order to tell the events to the reader. Further, in description there is use of sensory details in which it describes an appropriate scene to the reader. Thus, it can be summarized that narration is effectively work in the critical summary.


  • Bhabha, H.K. ed., 2013. Nation and narration. Routledge.
  • Hagström, L., 2012. ‘Power shift’in East Asia? A critical reappraisal of narratives on the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands incident in 2010. The Chinese Journal of International Politics. 5(3), pp.267-297.
  • Lewis, W.E. and Ferretti, R.P., 2011. Topoi and literary interpretation: The effects of a critical reading and writing intervention on high school students’ analytic literary essays. Contemporary Educational Psychology/. 36(4), pp.334-354.
  • Madison, D.S., 2011. Critical ethnography: Method, ethics, and performance. Sage.
  • Morss, J.R., 2013. Growing critical: Alternatives to developmental psychology. Routledge.
  • Rosebury, B., 2016. Tolkien: A Critical Assessment. Springer.
  • Toolan, M., 2012. Narrative: A critical linguistic introduction. Routledge.
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