What is Didacticism? Definition, Examples of Didactic Literature

Didacticism definition: Didact literature is a type in which was written for a particular purpose such as to teach a lesson.

What is Didacticism?

Didacticism refers to writing that is written for a particular purpose such as to teach a lesson in addition to providing entertainment. The lessons that these works teach may vary from moral, religious, political, or practical teachings.

Example of Didacticism

An example of didacticism would the tale told in the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” by Aesop. The story tells of a little boy who continues to cry out for help claiming that his flock is in danger of a wolf. However, he is only doing so as a source of entertainment. Unfortunately, one day there is an actual wolf, and when he cries, the cries are ignored and catastrophe occurs. In this story, the primary purpose is to teach the lesson that people should be honest in order to retain the trust of others.

Modern Examples of Didacticism

The Muslim holy book, the Qur’an, is an example of didactic literature. The stories told in this religious text serve the purpose to teach morality to its religious followers.

In addition to the Qur’an, the Bible can also be seen as didactic literature because its primary purpose is to persuade and teach readers to live moral lives.

The famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by John Edwards is another example of a didactic piece of writing. This sermon was given in order to scare his listeners of the Hell they would face if they didn’t accept Christ and ask for salvation.

The Function of Didacticism in Literature

The purpose of didacticism is to give readers a way to better themselves. This type of literature is written in order to give the audience specific moral conduct advice and is oftentimes aligned with a spiritual or religious belief.

Didactic Examples in Literature

George Orwell’s novella Animal Farm can be categorized as an example of didactic literature. In this famous tale, Orwell uses animal characters in order to represent leaders during the Russian Communist Revolution. These characters attempt to fix their society using the basis of communism; however, as history shows, the thirst for power will eventually consume the leaders. His purpose in doing so was to warn the world of the evils of this governmental corruption.

Another example of didacticism would be the poem “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan. In this poem, a man’s journey to seek the salvation of God is told to the audience. Through this journey, it is taught that while it may not be a smooth journey, it is rewarding one.


Define didacticism in literature: While it may provide entertainment to the reader through the storytelling, didacticism is a type of literature that’s primary purpose is to teach a lesson (moral, political, religious, etc) to the reader.

Final Example:

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 could be categorized as didacticism. This story’s purpose is to enforce the lesson that society has the obligation to continue to embrace knowledge through the reading of books. It shows the dangers that may happen to a society that rejects such values as education.