What is prose?

The definition of prose is simple. Actually, prose is our ordinary language, without any strict structure as we can see in poetry. But still, prose can be not less powerful at all. Prayers, theater plays, political speeches – prose can not only transfer the information to us, but inspire us, make us think or even completely change our worldview. Maybe, everyone of us has some of their favourite books that formed their attitude to life itself, the characters of which were role models and ideals.

One of the philosophers said that man can’t write something that is neither poem nor prose, because everything that is not a verse is prose and vice versa. So, maybe, the most ancient definitions of prose is: a language work, written or oral, that is not a poem. The very word “prose” comes from Latin prosa oratio that literally means “direct speech”

Prose forms

Despite lacking of lines and rhythm, the prose also can be divided into different forms. To define prosaic style we have at first understand if it is a fiction or non-fiction. Non-fictionary works can be no less exciting than fictionary ones. The memoirs, autobiographies, diaries and travel notes are still widely read, as the historical works and strategy tractates. Though some of them were written solely for practical purpose, the skill of the authors makes them an incredibly interesting reading. We live through the events experienced and described by the author like we see them with our own eyes.

Fiction has countless styles: romantic fiction, detective fiction, military fiction etc. Every event and process of human life can be depicted in fiction prose and have its own subgenre.

Another way to classify literature is by its form and size. Novel, short story, novella – the prose works of different size and quantity of characters. Comedy, drama, tragedy are the genres, known from the times of ancient Greeks, that roughly describe the possible course of events in the story.

Prose is also classified by purpose: prose for children, educational prose etc. There are no rigid classifications, because no one can precisely describe something that is connected to everything in our life.

Prose in literature

At the dawn of humanity poetry, with its rhythm, was used to memorise sacred text and ideas, while prose (that is harder to remember) was mostly for the mundane purposes like reports and logs. But gradually prose works also became highly imaginative and pleasant to read: the skill of prose writing started to develop.

Though prose can be utilitarian, usually when we say “prose” now we talk about the literature – something remarkable that appeals to our emotional sphere and immerses us into the world created by author. There are countless brilliant examples of prose, of any genre, length and purpose. Prose is considered easier to write than poetry, so the novice authors, who want to master the skill of writing, usually start from it, using prose as a playground to test the sounding of words and hidden rhythm. Even despite we don’t expect such a strict organisation as in verse, we also can define if the literature piece is well-written, just following the sentence structure and checking if the language flow feels natural. The prose gives the author much more possibilities.