26 Sep What is Prose: Definition and Examples in Literature
What is prose in Literature or creative writing? Remember, there are other glossaries with the word ‘prose’, thus when talking about it, one should not think it is only in literary parlance that we can find it.
Prose is a form of written or spoken language that follows the natural flow of speech, uses a language’s ordinary grammatical structures, or follows the conventions of formal academic writing.
It differs from most traditional poetry, where the form consists of verse (writing in lines) based on rhythmic metre or rhyme. The word “prose” first appeared in English in the 14th century.
It is derived from the Old French prose, which in turn originates in the Latin expression prosa oratio (literally, straightforward or direct speech).
Prose is used in a wide variety of writing genres, including novels, short stories, essays, articles, news reports, and academic papers. It is also used in everyday speech, such as when we tell stories, give presentations, or write emails and letters.
Types of Prose
There are basically two types of prose in Literature, namely: fictional and non-fictional prose. Below are the explanations and differences between the two forms of prose.
Fictional prose is writing that is based on the author’s imagination, rather than on facts or real events. It can include novels, short stories, etc.
Fictional prose is often used to entertain readers, but it can also be used to explore important themes and ideas.
Here are some examples of fictional prose:
Novels: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Short stories: “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
Non-fictional prose is writing that is based on facts and real events. It can include essays, articles, biographies, histories, and academic papers.
Non-fictional prose is often used to inform or educate readers, but it can also be used to entertain.
Here are some examples of non-fictional prose:
Essays: “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift, “Civil Disobedience” by Henry David Thoreau, and “Why I Write” by George Orwell.
Articles: “The Climate Crisis: What We Need to Do” by Al Gore, “The Importance of Education” by Malala Yousafzai, and “The Future of Artificial Intelligence” by Kai-Fu Lee.
Biographies: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, and Michelle Obama by Michelle Obama.
Histories: A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn, The Second World War by Winston Churchill, and Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari.
Both fictional and non-fictional prose can be powerful tools for communication and persuasion. They can be used to entertain, educate, inform, and inspire.
Examples of Prose
Here are some examples of prose work that you should look out for. These examples are drawn from the different sub-genres of prose ranging from novels to short stories, biographies, auto-biographies, etc:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, Beloved by Toni Morrison, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe, Why I Write by George Orwell, etc.
Prose literature can be a powerful and moving experience. It can transport us to other worlds, introduce us to new characters, and challenge us to think in new ways.
If you’re looking for a good book to read, I encourage you to explore the many great works of prose literature that are available.