Meaning of Chapter

Meaning of Chapter

A chapter is a division that is made in a book or other type of written document to facilitate reading and the order and integration of the contents. The term has its origin in the Latin word capitulum.

Each chapter, therefore, supposes a part or section within a work of a certain length (if the work is very short, the division into chapters is not justified). The length of the chapters varies according to the intentions and needs of the author and the work. In fact, within the same book, for example, the duration of each chapter can differ considerably from the rest.

Authors often number chapters in order of appearance: Chapter 1 is followed by Chapter 2, and so on. Some chapters are not numbered and are considered as a different subdivision (the introduction, the epilogue, etc.). Certain writers, on the other hand, do not number the chapters, but give each a title.

For example: “As soon as I finish reading the book, I’ll lend it to you: there are fourteen chapters and I’m on the eighth”, “The last novel by this author bored me and I abandoned it in the fourth chapter”, “The chapter of death of the captain has fascinated me ”.

According to DigoPaul, the notion of chapter can also be used in other types of works that go beyond written material. The television series, whether novels, comedies or otherwise, can be divided into chapters: “Did you see the last chapter of the novel? Dr. Romerson kidnapped Mary and took her to his house in the mountains ”, “ There are three chapters left until the end of the soap opera that has conquered the Brazilians ”.

In some Spanish-speaking regions this term is used as a synonym for episode when talking about television series, although both words should be understood in this context. A work divided into episodes can be described as episodic, and this classification is widely used in the field of video games, especially those that are distributed digitally; the market for downloadable titles represents a considerable saving of resources for a developer, and splitting a project into several installments can help improve future content through the opinions each one receives.

Within the family of the term chapter is the verb recapitulate, which can be defined as remembering in an orderly way what has been expressed in writing or orally. It is a word typical of formal language, not widely used in everyday speech. If one delves into its etymology, it is discovered that it is possible to distinguish three lexical components from Latin: re (indicating a reiteration, a journey backward), caput (which is translated as head) and -ción (a suffix associated with the actions and effects).

In this way, a term is obtained that speaks of going backwards, towards the beginning of something, towards an important point in time; in its Latin version, its approximate meaning is to remember a pact or agreement. This leads us to the capitular verb, which indicates the creation of a pact or agreement by a group of individuals. Continuing with this analysis in reverse, the word chapter is formed from caput and the suffix -ulum, used for the construction of diminutives.

In its etymological sense, chapter refers to the distribution of command, the division of power, of the most important part (the head). It is possible, then, to understand that today it is associated with the partitioning of an artistic work or a document into ordered and coherent fragments.


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