General literary Appreciation

Lesson Note

Subject: Literature

Topic: Prose

Lesson Objectives: by the end of the lesson, the learners should be able to:

1. Define the term “Prose”.

2. Identify literary devices associated with prose.

Lesson Summary

What is Prose?

Prose as one of the genres of literature is coined from the Latin phrase “prosa oratio,” meaning “straightforward.” Prose can then simply be described as verbal or written language that follows the natural flow of speech. It is straightforward, ordinary language rather than following a meter or rhythmic pattern like poetry. It is the most common form of writing, used by writers in both fiction and non-fiction.


The following are literary terms associated with prose.

Novel: It can be described as any extended fictional prose narrative dealing with realistic events.

Plot: In literature, the plot refers to the logical development or sequential arrangement of the events in a play is story. Thus, the plot also serves as a summary of events.

Chapter: The major division of a novel is called a chapter. The incidents in a novel are arranged and presented in chapters.

Novelist: This simply refers to the writer of novels.

Character: In a novel, what a person says, thinks, and does can be used to assess that person’s character. Other characters in a novel can also help readers in assessing their fellow characters by what they say about them.

Fiction: This deals with an imagined story created by a writer. The events described must be realistic.

Satire: It is a work of art that makes fun of or ridicules some vices in the society with the aim of correcting these vices. A play, a novel or a poem could be used to satirize persons and institutions. Swift’s Gulliver’ Travels and Orwell’s Animal Farm are good examples of works of satire.

Theme: It States the main idea arising from the subject in a poem or prose.

Fable: It refers to a short, didactic story with animal characters personified as human beings. It is didactic in the sense that it has a moral message definitely stated at the end. An example is “Animal Farm” by George Orwell.

Setting: In a novel or play, the setting involves the locality where the actions took place and the period the events lasted. The time, of the actions may span a minute or thousands of year s, it may be present, past or future or may be unspecified, while the place may remain the same or may change.

Autobiography: A narrative account of an author’s life, usually from childhood to adulthood written by himself can be described as autobiographical. Such works of art are: The African Child by Canada Laye and Zambia shall be free by Kenneth Kaunda.

Protagonist: This is the major or principal character in a play or story. The plot is centered on the action of the protagonist.

Antagonist: This is the character that is created in a story or a play as a rival to the protagonist, who is the main character. The actions of the antagonist act as checks and balances on the action of the protagonist.

Biography: It is a vivid narration of a person’s life history written by another person. To written an accepted biography, the author must know the person involved very well. In some cases, a research is carried out for that purpose in which relatives and friends are interviewed.

Thriller: It can be described as a gem of a novel, which story is greatly moving and exciting.

Comic Relief: It refers to that brief moment of laughter or amusement in a tragic story, whereby comic characters, speeches or scenes are used to provide the much needed comic to relieve already built up in a literary work that is tragic in nature.

Flashback: It can be described as a literary device used to bring into the present events or actions that have taken place in the past. For instance, in the The gods are not to blame. Odewale’s narration of how he killed a man on his farm, is presented using the flashback device.

Suspense: This literary technique is employed to delay actions or information till it is revealed towards the end of the story. Thus, the reader is encouraged to read faster in order to find answers to the many questions that might have arise in the course of reading.

Style: This involves the use of literary devices like: imagery, figures of speech and proverbs that are carefully chosen by the writer to suit the event in a story line. It is an attempt by an author of a literary work to effectively express his or her created characters’ experience and their way of life or culture.

Round Character: This is a character that develops with events and situations in a novel. Hence his reactions to events and situations around him is positive rather than negative.

Flat Character: Usually lacks directions or focus. Clowns are generally presented as flat characters in drama or prose.

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