the correct answer is “readers are often able to relate better to the characters in novels”.
indeed, historically, the rise of the novel as a major literary form in the western world took place during the 18th century due to a series of reasons:
1.- increase of literacy in the 18th century: in 1650, 30% of men could read (10% of women). in 1715, 45% of men could read (25% of women). in 1760, 60% of men, could read (40% of women). so in a 100 years the male literacy rate was multiplied by 2 and the female literacy rate was multiplied by 4. at the beginning of the 18th century book sales increased among privileged classes. in the second part of the century book sales increased among the lower classes (middle class).
2.- the appearance of the middle class: people working in "the professions" (lawyers, doctors, shopkeepers, & merchants) started making more money. the expansion of the british empire favored the expansion of the economy.
3.- technology: the printing press had evolved and was able to print many more books. in 1724 there were 75 printing presses in london. in 1757 there were 180 printing presses in london.
4.- creation of circulating libraries: private, circulating libraries that functioned on a yearly subscription basis during the 1740s.
5.- middle class loses interest in romances. they wanted to read stories about their contemporary era and about characters like them.
therefore, it is confirmed by the fifth point that middle class readers were only interested in stories which depicted situations and characters that belonged to their social class and trade. nowadays, with the stratification of society into very numerious and different social groups there are different genres and types of novels for each one of these groups based on age, social class, race, gender, political beliefs, religion, etc.
the answer is the last option. ( option d )
have a goed day