What are the Features of Prose?

What are the features of prose? One would ask this question when one is not sure if there is a difference between the features of prose and the elements of prose. In essence, is there a difference between the features and the elements of prose? 

Features of prose or elements of prose are those major characteristics that every prose work has, be it fiction or non-fictional prose. These elements of prose are what form a prose work in Literature when out together.

So, for there to be prose, there ought to be these features. We will dedicate the next heading for the discussion of these features.

Elements of Prose

Elements of prose refer to the fundamental components that make up written or spoken language in a narrative form. These elements include characters, plot, setting, point of view, dialogue, tone, style, theme, and more.

Prose relies on linear storytelling, with characters interacting within a defined setting to convey a narrative driven by conflict and resolution.

Authors use various literary devices like symbolism, imagery, and figurative language to enhance descriptions and convey deeper meanings.

These elements collectively create a rich, immersive experience for readers, allowing authors to express ideas, emotions, and stories with complexity and nuance.

Below are the explanations of some of the elements of prose:

1. Plot

2. Setting

3. Characters/characterisation

4. Theme

5. Point of view

6. Diction

Plot

Plot is the sequence of events that happen in the story. It is the what, when, and where of the story, and it is what drives the action and character development forward.

A plot typically has a clear beginning, middle, and end. The beginning introduces the main characters and the setting and establishes the status quo.

The middle is where the main conflict of the story arises, and the characters take action to try to resolve it. The end is where the conflict is resolved, and the characters learn and grow as a result.

Setting

The setting in a novel is the time and place in which the story takes place. It can be a real place, like London or New York City, or it can be a fictional world, like Middle-earth or Narnia.

The setting can also include the social and cultural environment, such as the characters’ socioeconomic status, their customs and traditions, and the political climate.

Setting can also be used to explore complex social and political issues. For example, the setting of a novel about the civil rights movement might be the segregated South in the 1960s. This setting would help to highlight the challenges faced by African Americans during that time period.

Overall, the setting is an essential element of any novel. It can help to create a believable and immersive world for the reader, and it can also be used to explore important themes and ideas.

Characters/Characterisation

Characters are the people in a novel. They are the ones who drive the plot, experience conflict, and learn and grow. Characterization is the process by which the author develops and reveals the characters to the reader.

There are two main types of characterization: direct and indirect.

Direct characterization tells the reader directly about the character’s traits. This can be done through the narrator’s descriptions, the character’s own dialogue, or the thoughts and feelings of other characters.

Indirect characterization shows the reader about the character’s traits through their actions, speech, and interactions with other characters.

Authors often use a combination of direct and indirect characterization to create complex and believable characters.

Theme

Theme is the central idea or message that the author is trying to convey to the reader through a novel. It is the underlying meaning of the story, and it can be explored through the characters, plot, setting, and other elements of the novel.

Themes can be universal, meaning that they apply to all people, or they can be more specific to a particular culture or time period. Some common themes in novels include:

1. Love

2. Loss

3. Identity

4. Coming of age

5. Good vs. evil

6. Prejudice and discrimination

7. Social injustice

8. The power of friendship

9. The importance of family

10. The meaning of life

Themes are not always explicitly stated in a novel. The author may explore them subtly through the characters’ actions and experiences. For example, the theme of love might be explored through the relationship of two characters, even if they never say the words “I love you.”

Understanding the theme of a novel can help the reader to appreciate the story on a deeper level. It can also help the reader to connect with the characters and their experiences on a personal level.

Here are some examples of themes in famous novels:

1. The theme of love is explored in many famous novels, such as Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

2. The theme of loss is explored in novels such as The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

3. The theme of identity is explored in novels such as The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

Themes can be explored in many different ways in a novel. Authors may use symbolism, imagery, and other literary devices to convey their themes. Readers can often identify the themes of a novel by paying attention to the recurring elements in the story.

Understanding the themes of a novel can help the reader to appreciate the story on a deeper level. It can also help the reader to connect with the characters and their experiences on a personal level.

Point of View

Point of view in a novel is the perspective from which the story is told. It is the author’s choice of who will see and interpret the events of the story for the reader.

There are three main types of point of view:

First person: The story is told from the perspective of a character in the story, using the pronouns “I” and “me.” The reader only knows what this character knows and thinks.

Third person limited: The story is told from an outside perspective, but the reader is limited to the thoughts and feelings of one character. This is the most common type of point of view in novels.

Third person omniscient: The story is told from an outside perspective, and the narrator knows everything about all of the characters and events in the story. This type of point of view is less common in novels, but it can be used to create a sweeping and epic story.

Authors choose a point of view for their novels based on the story they want to tell. For example, an author might choose to write a novel in first person to give the reader a more intimate and personal perspective on the events of the story.

Or, an author might choose to write a novel in the third person omniscient to give the reader a broader and more objective view of the story.

Point of view is an important element of any novel. It can help to create the mood and atmosphere of the story, develop the characters, and drive the plot.

Diction

Diction is simply the choice of words of an author. It talks about the simplicity, the complexity, the formality, and the casual nature of the language a writer uses to write.

A writer’s diction can be simple, idiomatic, creative, etc. All these combine and bring forth the overall meaning of a work of prose.

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