Chapter (books)
A chapter is one of the main divisions of a piece of writing of relative length, such as a book
A book is a set or collection of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of hot lava, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf or leaflet, and each side of a leaf is called a page...

. Chapters can be numbered in the case of such writings as law
Law is a system of rules and guidelines which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior, wherever possible. It shapes politics, economics and society in numerous ways and serves as a social mediator of relations between people. Contract law regulates everything from buying a bus...

 code (see Chapter 7
Chapter 7, Title 11, United States Code
Chapter 7 of the Title 11 of the United States Code governs the process of liquidation under the bankruptcy laws of the United States...

 or Chapter 11) or they can be titled. For example, the first chapters of some well-known novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

s are titled:
  • "The Boy Who Lived" – Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the first novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling and featuring Harry Potter, a young wizard...

    , J. K. Rowling
    J. K. Rowling
    Joanne "Jo" Rowling, OBE , better known as J. K. Rowling, is the British author of the Harry Potter fantasy series...

  • "Down the Rabbit
    White Rabbit
    The White Rabbit works for the Red Queen, but is also a secret member of the Underland Underground Resistance, and was sent by the Hatter to search for Alice...

    -Hole" – Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

    , Lewis Carroll
    Lewis Carroll
    Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

  • "Into the Primitive" – The Call of the Wild
    The Call of the Wild
    The Call of the Wild is a novel by American writer Jack London. The plot concerns a previously domesticated dog named Buck, whose primordial instincts return after a series of events leads to his serving as a sled dog in the Yukon during the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush, in which sled dogs...

    , Jack London
    Jack London
    John Griffith "Jack" London was an American author, journalist, and social activist. He was a pioneer in the then-burgeoning world of commercial magazine fiction and was one of the first fiction writers to obtain worldwide celebrity and a large fortune from his fiction alone...

  • "Loomings" – Moby-Dick
    Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, was written by American author Herman Melville and first published in 1851. It is considered by some to be a Great American Novel and a treasure of world literature. The story tells the adventures of wandering sailor Ishmael, and his voyage on the whaleship Pequod,...

    , Herman Melville
    Herman Melville
    Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumous novella Billy Budd....

  • "The Prison-Door" – The Scarlet Letter
    The Scarlet Letter
    The Scarlet Letter is an 1850 romantic work of fiction in a historical setting, written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It is considered to be his magnum opus. Set in 17th-century Puritan Boston during the years 1642 to 1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an...

    , Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel Hawthorne
    Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

  • "The Sound of the Shell" – Lord of the Flies
    Lord of the Flies
    Lord of the Flies is a novel by Nobel Prize-winning author William Golding about a group of British boys stuck on a deserted island who try to govern themselves, with disastrous results...

    , William G. Golding

Unusual number schemes

In works of fiction, authors sometimes number their chapters eccentrically, often as a metafictional statement. For example:
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
    The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a 2003 novel by British writer Mark Haddon. It won the 2003 Whitbread Book of the Year and the 2004 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book...

    by Mark Haddon
    Mark Haddon
    Mark Haddon is an English novelist and poet, best known for his 2003 novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.- Life and work :...

     only has chapters which are prime numbers.
  • At Swim-Two-Birds
    At Swim-Two-Birds
    At Swim-Two-Birds is a 1939 novel by Irish author Brian O'Nolan, writing under the pseudonym Flann O'Brien. It is widely considered to be O'Brien's masterpiece, and one of the most sophisticated examples of metafiction....

    by Flann O'Brien
    Flann O'Brien
    Brian O'Nolan was an Irish novelist, playwright and satirist regarded as a key figure in postmodern literature. Best known for novels such as At Swim-Two-Birds, The Third Policeman and An Béal Bocht and many satirical columns in The Irish Times Brian O'Nolan (5 October 1911 – 1 April 1966) was...

     has the first page titled Chapter 1, but has no further chapter divisions.
  • God, A Users Guide by Seán Moncrieff
    Seán Moncrieff
    Seán Moncrieff is an Irish broadcaster, journalist and writer. He currently presents the weekday afternoon radio show Moncrieff on Newstalk. His television credits include his own Raidió Teilifís Éireann chat show Good Grief Moncrieff!, comedy panel show Don't Feed the Gondolas, and The...

     is chaptered backwards (i.e., the first chapter is chapter 20 and the last is chapter 1).
  • Every novel in the series A Series of Unfortunate Events
    A Series of Unfortunate Events
    A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of children's novels by Lemony Snicket which follows the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents' death in an arsonous house fire...

    by Lemony Snicket
    Lemony Snicket
    Lemony Snicket is the pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler . Snicket is the author of several children's books, serving as the narrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events and appearing as a character within the series. Because of this, the name Lemony Snicket may refer to both a fictional...

     has thirteen
    Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number ; it is a superstition and related to a specific fear of Friday the 13th, called paraskevidekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia.The term was first used by Isador Coriat in Abnormal...

     chapters, except the final installment (The End
    The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events)
    The End is the thirteenth and final novel in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. It was published on October 13, 2006.- Plot description :...

    ), which has a fourteenth chapter formatted as its own novel.
  • Mammoth
    Mammoth (John Varley)
    This book centers around the concept of Time Travel, and gives quite a bit of discussion to the concept that there may be limits to science.-Synopsis:...

    by John Varley
    John Varley (author)
    John Herbert Varley is an American science fiction author.-Biography:Varley grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, moved to Port Arthur in 1957, and graduated from Nederland High School. He went to Michigan State University on a National Merit Scholarship because, of the schools that he could afford, it...

    , has the chapters ordered in chronological order from the point of view of a non-time-traveler, but, as most of the characters travel through time, this leads to the chapters defying the conventional order.

Chapter Structure

Many novels of great length do not have chapters. Non-fiction
Non-fiction is the form of any narrative, account, or other communicative work whose assertions and descriptions are understood to be fact...

 books, especially those used for reference, almost always have chapters for ease of navigation. In these works, chapters are often subdivided into sections. The chapters of reference works are almost always listed in a table of contents
Table of contents
A table of contents, usually headed simply "Contents" and abbreviated informally as TOC, is a list of the parts of a book or document organized in the order in which the parts appear...

. Novels sometimes use a table of contents, but not always.


In ancient civilizations, books were often in the form of papyrus
Papyrus is a thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant, Cyperus papyrus, a wetland sedge that was once abundant in the Nile Delta of Egypt....

 or parchment
Parchment is a thin material made from calfskin, sheepskin or goatskin, often split. Its most common use was as a material for writing on, for documents, notes, or the pages of a book, codex or manuscript. It is distinct from leather in that parchment is limed but not tanned; therefore, it is very...

A scroll is a roll of parchment, papyrus, or paper, which has been drawn or written upon.Scroll may also refer to:*Scroll , the decoratively curved end of the pegbox of string instruments such as violins...

s, which contained about the same amount of text as a typical chapter in a modern book. This is the reason chapters in recent reproductions and translations of works of these periods are often presented as "Book 1", "Book 2", etc. (such as the books of the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

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