The Definition of Prose
A. DEFINITION OF PROSE Prose is a form of language which applies ordinary grammatical structure and natural flow of speech rather than rhythmic structure (as in traditional poetry). While there are critical debates on the construction of prose, its simplicity and loosely defined structure has led to its adoption for the majority of spoken dialogue, factual discourse as well as topical and fictional writing.
It is commonly used, for example, in literature, newspapers, magazines, encyclopedias, broadcasting, film, history, philosophy, law and many other forms of communication.
Prose is a form of writing that does not fall into any particular formal structure and types of prose can include drama, articles, novels, short stories, letters, history, philosophy and biographies. Prose is a term applied to any kind of discourse that is not poetry. This term usually, but not always, refers to written rather than spoken language. As the format of everyday communication, the term prose can apply to anything from a business letter to a 600-page novel. It may be easier to define prose by examining how it differs from poetry: the distinctions between the two are most evident in the structure.
Prose does not have a rhythmical construction like most poetry, nor does it utilize the specific line breaks associated with verse. It does not require the use of rhyming words at the end of lines, and it is does not employ the brevity and economical use of words for which poetry is often known. There are some elements of poetry, however, that prose does utilize. These elements include the use of metaphor, the comparison of two unlike objects, and alliteration — the use of similar sounds at the beginning of words.
Prose can also employ imagery, a term for the use of specific details that help to create the concrete visual world in the mind’s eye. Imagery is like a painting made out of words. From the Latin words prosa oratio, which mean “direct speech,” prose is the dominant form in literature. It the accepted mode of writing for novels, short stories, plays and folk tales. This form is also used on the Internet and in everyday business communication B. TYPES OF PROSE There are seven types of prose which is regular speech or writing, not poetry. 1. Short Story
Short Stories are a kind of prose that normally comprises of less than 10,000 to 20,000 words but can be limited to as less as 500 words. This form of prose has been around for thousands of years and probably the oldest example is an Egyptian short story entitled “The Two Brothers”, from around 3200 B. C. A short story is a work of fiction, usually written in narrative prose. Often depicting few characters and concentrating a ‘single effect’ or mood, it differs from the anecdote in its use of plot, and the variety of literary techniques it shares with the more extensive novel.
Although the short story is expressly defined by its length, the precise length of stories that can be considered ‘short’ varies between critics and writers, especially when taking account of the diversity of the form across genres. As such, the short story is defined relative to other prose forms in various traditions and styles, with the precise length of each story determined by each author’s artistic intent or the requirements of the plot or depiction.
Like the novel, the short story tradition has been defined and shaped through the markets available for publication, and thus, the form can be practically traced through the submission guidelines of publishing houses, print and online media that have solicited them. The short story has been considered both an apprenticeship form preceding more lengthy works, and a crafted form in its own right, collected together in books of similar length, price and distribution as novels.
Thus, short story writers may define their works as part of the artistic and personal expression of the form. They may also attempt to resist categorization by genre and fixed form, finding such approaches limiting and counter-intuitive to artistic form and reasoning. 2. Factual Prose This is generally used for the writing of novels and short stories. Although examples of this kind of prose has existed throughout history, they did not actually develop into a systematic form until a few centuries ago. 3. Letters
Letters are a form of prose that are a written or printed communication addressed to a person or organization which are usually transmitted by mail. 4. Novels Novels are a long story written in prose which gives a lot more freedom to the writer to experiment with lots of different literacy forms in one novel. 5. Diaries Diaries are a record of daily events, appointments, observations, etc. Or a book for keeping such a record and can be used in a personal sense or by a business. Three other kinds of prose are testimonies, journals and the personal essay which are less commonly used. 6. Testimony
Some published oral or written autobiographical narratives are considered “testimonial literature” particularly when they present evidence or first person accounts of human rights abuses, violence and war, and living under conditions of social oppression. This usage of the term comes originally from Latin America and the Spanish term “testimonio” when it emerged from human rights tribunals, truth commissions, and other international human rights instruments in countries such as Chile and Argentina. One of the most famous, though controversial, of these works to be translated into English is I, Rigoberta Menchu.
The autobiographies of Frederick Douglass can be considered among the earliest significant English-language works in this genre. 7. Journal A journal (through French from Latin diurnalis, daily) has several related meanings: * a daily record of events or business; a private journal is usually referred to as a diary * a newspaper or other periodical, in the literal sense of one published each day * many publications issued at stated intervals, such as magazines, academic journals, or the record of the transactions of a society are often called journals.
Although journal is sometimes used as a synonym for “magazine”, in academic use, a journal refers to a serious, scholarly publication that is peer-reviewed. A non-scholarly magazine written for an educated audience about an industry or an area of professional activity is usually called a professional magazine. 8. Personal essay “For more than four hundred years, the personal essay has been one of the richest and most vibrant of all literary forms. ” (The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate. ) The personal essay is also one of the most popular forms of creative nonfiction.
A personal essay can be based on a personal experience that results in a lesson that you learn. A personal essay can also be a personal opinion about a topic or issue that is important to you. This article defines the personal essay. * Definition of the Personal Essay A personal essay is either a personal narrative in which the author writes about a personal incident or experience that provided significant personal meaning or a lesson learned, or it is a personal opinion about some topic or issue that is important to the writer. * Personal Essay as a Personal Narrative
A personal narrative has the following elements: * It is based on a personal experience in which you have gained significant meaning, insight, or learned a lesson. It can also be based on a milestone or life-altering event. * It is personal narrative. The writer tells the story by including dialogue, imagery, characterization, conflict, plot, and setting. * It is written in the first person. (“I” point-of-view) * It is an autobiographical story in which the writer describes an incident that resulted in some personal growth or development. * A personal essay is a glimpse of the writer’s life.
The writer describes the personal experience using the scene-building technique, weaves a theme throughout the narrative, and makes an important point. There must be a lesson or meaning. The writer cannot just write an interesting story. * It does not have to be objective. However, the writer must express his/her feelings, thoughts, and emotions. * The writer uses self-disclosure and is honest with his/her readers. * The writer writes about a real life experience. The incident or experience must have occurred. The writer must use fact and truth. * The writer must dramatize the story by using the scene building technique.
A scene includes setting/location, intimate details, concrete and specific descriptions, action, and often dialogue. * The Personal Essay as a Personal Opinion A personal essay can also be an opinion piece, an opinion that is based on a particular political or social concern or topic of interest. In this type of personal essay, the writer can states the problem, provide solutions, and then write a conclusion—which must state an important point. Whatever the writer discusses, the topic is of interest to the writer. The writer frequently seeks to explain the truth or reality has he/she views it. Sometimes the writer ponders a question.
Other times the writer explores a topic from his own perspective. The writer must not lecture, sermonize, or moralize. In other words, the writer must present his/her opinion in such a way that allows the readers decide for themselves. In Writing Life Stories, author Bill Roorbach provides an excellent definition of the personal essay, one that is based on a personal opinion. He states that the personal essay that is based on a personal opinion has these attributes: * A personal essay is a conversation with your readers. * The personal essay is an informed mixture of storytelling, facts, wisdom, and personality. The personal essay examines a subject outside of yourself, but through the lens of self. * The subject of the personal essay may be the self, but the self is treated as evidence for the argument. * Passages of narrative often appear but generally get used as evidence in the inductive argument. * The personal essay strives to say what is evident, and to come to a conclusion that the reader may agree or disagree. * A personal essay can wonder through its subject, circle around it, get the long view and the short, always providing experience, knowledge, book learning, and personal history.
It should also be noted that a personal essay doesn’t need to be objective. It can be purely subjective. You don’t have to prove a point or show both sides of the argument. But you must express your own personal feelings, thoughts, and opinions on a topic or issue in a logical manner. * Subject for the Personal Essay Your subject can be about anything that you are passionate about. You can write about a “turning point” in your life, or a milestone, or adversity, such as death, illness, divorce. The subject you choose must have provided you with significant personal meaning or a lesson that you have learned.
But, keep in mind, you are not just reflecting or remembering, you are going to make a point, some universal truth that your readers can appreciate. Otherwise, your story is just a story. So, write about the following: * Personal experience * Incident * Anecdote * Topic * Issue * A memory Your subject can also be a personal opinion on an issue or concern that is important to you, such as the garbage strike, crime, or unemployment. C. THE ELEMENTS OF THE SHORT STORY 1. PLOT The term short story is a relatively recent one. For example, Nathaniel Hawthorne 1837 collection of stories was titled Twice Told Tales.
Today, the term tale suggests a simple narrative, told in chronological order. In the past, a short work was sometimes called a sketch. Today, sketch implies the narration of only single brief scene. Plot has been defined as “an author’s careful arrangement of incidents in a narrative to achieve a desired effect. The description of plot structure demonstrates how authors develop their stories: the discussion of techniques reveals how authors vary the chronology, provide hints of future action, sustain interest, and introduce the idea of chance or fate in the character’s lives. CAUSALITY A plot is a series of actions, often presented in chronological order, but the ingredient a plot has that a story lacks is causality. In a narrative with a plot, there is little that happens without a cause. * CONFLICT Even with the addition of causality, however, the concert ticket anecdote lacks another important ingredient. Traditionally, plots grow out of a conflict- an internal or an external struggle between the main character and an opposing force. When a story includes internal conflict, the main character is in conflict with himself or herself.
In contrast, an external conflict can occur between the central character and either another character, society, or natural source, including fate. The most common external force is another character. * PLOT STRUCTURE In literature, exposition refers to the explanatory information a reader needs to comprehend the situation in the story. Exposition establishes the setting, the major characters and some minor ones, the situation, and any necessary background information about what happened before the story began. The initiating incident is the event that changes the situation established in the exposition and sets the conflict in motion.
The rising action, various episodes occur that develop complicate. In the rising action, various episodes occur that develop, complicate, or intensify the conflict. Climax has been defined in a number of ways: the point of greatest conflict, the emotional high point, the turning point in the plot, or the point at which one of the opposing forces gains the advantage. The events that follow the climax are known as the falling action. The falling action leads into the resolution or denouement of the story. The term resolution sometimes refers to all the events that follow the climax, including the denouement. . SETTING In the days of King Alfred there lived a poor woman, whose cottage was in a remote country village, many miles from London. Thus begins the old nursery tale “Jack and the Beanstalk. ” The sentence describes the setting of the tale-that is, the time (in the days of King Alfred) and the place (a cottage in a remote country village far from London). Setting is so important that some readers base their literary likes and dislikes largely on the environment in a work-the future, early Rome, the English countryside, Los Angeles in the thirties, Detroit today, Cairo yesterday. ASPECTS OF SETTING Setting can be general (a city in the Midwest in the late nineteenth century), a specific (a three-story mansion on Pine street in Chicago in 1885), or very detailed (the darkened parlour of that mansion at four o’clock on the first Tuesday in December). Setting usually functions as more than a backdrop for a story, however. * PURPOSES OF SETTING Setting may serve a number of purposes, such as influencing action, defining character, and contributing to mood. 3. CHARACTER As a literary term, a character is a person created from a work or fiction. CLASSIFYING CHARACTER In some cases, characters are veiled, autobiographical versions of the author. Often, they are people the author knows or people the author has observed or overheard. While the origin of a character is usually irrelevant, a character’s dimensionality and purpose in the story are important. 1. ) Round and Flat Character Round character is three dimensional character complexes enough to be able to surprise the reader without losing credibility. In contrast, a flat character is one whom Forster deems incapable of surprising the reader. ) Major and Minor Characters The term protagonist refers to the main or central character in fiction. Protagonist is an ancient Greek word for the central character of a drama. Rather, a more neutral and accurate word to describe the protagonist’s opponent is antagonist. Like protagonist, many antagonists will also be round characters, though it is possible for an antagonist to be flat character. Together, the protagonists and antagonists comprise the major characters. Characters other than major characters are classified as minor characters.
A stereotyped character represents a category of people. The word stereotype comes from printing and refers to a metal mold used to mass produce duplicates of printing type. A final character category of character might be termed the piece of furniture character. 3. ) Active and Static Characters Another way to classifying characters is to label them as active (or dynamic) or static. An active character is one who changes because of what happens in the plot. Static characters, however, remain unchanged; their character is the same at the end of the story as at the beginning. . POINT OF VIEW AND TONE Point of view is the vantage point from which an author tells a story. There are two main points of view : first person ( I ) and third person ( he, she , they ) , but there are variations within these point of view. a. ) First Person (I) The “I” narrator is not the author. Instead, the author creates a persona or mask through which he or she tells the story. The “I” story may be a character in the story. IF there’s no “I’s,” the story is probably told from the third person point of view. b. ) Third Person
The Third person point of view may be omniscient (in literally means “all knowing”): that is, may reveal the thoughts of all or most of the characters. In contrast, limited omniscient point of view focuses on the thoughts of a single character. One type of limited omniscience is the objective point of view, in which the author makes no commentary but records only those details that can be seen and heard, rather as a newspaper reporter does. Long works of fiction are often told from several points of view, but short stories are commonly presented from a single point of view. B. Tone
Tone in writing is somewhat like tone of voice in speech. Tone in writing is the author’s attitude towards the characters, the topic, or the readers, as expressed by the narrator, and it may come across in number of ways Tone in writing can be, among other thing, serious, introspective, satirical, sad, ironic, playful, condescending, formal and informal. Tone is achieved through descriptive details of setting and character, through dialogue, and through the narrator, direct comment and author tone is necessarily the same throughout a work, although in a short story, the same tone is usually maintained throughout. . Tone and Mood The terms tone and mood are sometimes confused. While tone conveys the author’s attitude, mood refers to the atmosphere in a story. Atmosphere may be mysterious, horror-filled, or serene. While both the tone and the mood of a story maybe the same (both may be sad, for example), it is usually common to distinguished between these to terms. Also, the mood of a story is not necessarily the same throughout. The climax may bring about a change from despair to triumph, or from anxiety to relief or from any mood another. b. Determining Tone
One way of determining the tone of the story his to decide what effect the story has on you. For example, if the author seems sympathetic or hostile to a character, you likely will be to. If the authors tone seems aloof, you may fill a corresponding aloofness. If the author tone is lightly satirical, the effect is likely to be amusement or a sense that the author satire is well aimed. 5. THEME Theme is an author’s insight or general observation about human nature or the human condition that is conveyed through characters, plot, and imagery.
If you examine carefully these two quotations expressing theme, you should deduce two important clues to the nature of a theme statement: first, it is presented in a complete sentence, and second, its contents is debatable. a. Particularity and Universality Particullary refers to the uniqueness or singularity of a work of fiction. Universality, on the other hand, refers to the relevance or applicability of a fictional work to large groups of people across time and place. b. The roots of theme c. Locating theme Just focus first on elements of each story as you read.
Examine those elements closely, rereading as needed. From the factual details of plot (especially conflict), character, and setting (especially imagery), clues to the author’s debatable opinion will emerge. d. Formulating a theme statement 1. Expressing theme as multiple statements. 2. Avoiding excessive theme statement. 6. STYLE Style is a writer’s characteristic way of saying things. It is a product of both the character of the writer as an individual and the choices that he or she makes concerning diction , imagery, syntax and variety, and organizational structure. . Diction Diction refers to a writer’s choice of words. The words chosen can be described as general or specific ( tree versus weeping willow ) ; formal or informal ( “ How do you do” versus “Hello” ); abstract or concrete ( honor or brotherhood versus desk ) ; common ( drat ); jargon ( any words understood by members of a specialized group such as doctors, teachers, astronauts ) ; Latin- based or Anglo-Saxon words ( make a hotel reservation versus book a room). Whatever the choice, the author’s dixtion needs to be both clear and appropriate.
However, that in fiction the author’s diction does not need to be grammatical to be clear or appropriate. b. Imagery and symbol In literature, imagery extends to all the senses-sight, taste, smell, touch, and hearing. Imagery is also associated with figures of speech such as metaphor, personification, simile and others. A symbol is anything that signifies or stands for something else. In literature, symbol is anything concrete-an object, a place, a character, an action-that stands for suggest something abstract. c. Syntax
Syntax or sentence structure is the pattern or arrangement of individual words and phrases. A writer’s style also grows out of the mixture and variety of sentence patterns used in the writing. d. Organizational structure The organizational structure of most fiction is chronological: stories typically begin with exposition that established the setting, the chief characters, and the situation, including the conflict. 7. POPULAR SECTION a. Westerns The western story is a unique genre because the American frontier was a unique setting.
Full of danger, hardship, beauty and the promise of wealth (or at least one’s own plot of land), the frontier meant the opportunity to achieve the genuine independence. b. Detective and mystery A fiction that involves the unraveling of some puzzle or secret or crime is called a mystery. The classic detective story involves a police, private or amateur detective who investigates a crime and through observations, questioning, and deduction identifies the motive and the criminal from among a limited group of suspect. c. Fantasy and science fiction
All fiction is imaginary, but some of it can both be set in this world or in other world as we know it. Fantasy and science fiction can both be set in this world or in other worlds anytime. Both can and often do have social and political meaning. Fantasy has elements of the supernatural or magic. Science fiction, as its name suggest, its rooted in scientific and technological truths or in the possibility of scientific advancements based on what is known. Ghost and horror are stories that scare people have been popular and profitable for a long time. References 1.
Jane Bachman Gordon and Karen Kuehner, Fiction : The Elements of Fiction ( United States of America :1999 . PREFACE Alhamdulillahirobbilamin Gratitude belongs only to Almighty God, who has given his affection and the author for taking the time to complete the Introduction to Literature paper under the title “ Fiction or Prose as Literary Genre “. The authors also thank for several people who have helped in the completion of this paper. Papers on “Fiction or Prose as a Literary Genre” was filled to fulfill one presentation task Introduction to Literature course.
Writing this paper aims to provide further information about the literature as an esthetic and study and the challenges to be faced in the future. This paper was presented several efforts that can be done to maintain the Introduction to Literature. The authors are aware that this paper is still far from perfect. Therefore, the authors expect criticism and suggestions either in writing or orally from the lecturer of Introduction to Literature course DR. Alek ,M. Pd so writers can develop science , especially the science of Introduction to Literature.