Prose Fiction

Prose is basically anything written in language that is not poetry.


The setting of a work of prose fiction consists of three parts:

  • Place—the location or geographical area where the action occurs
  • Time—the time of day, season, or historical period when the action occurs
  • Atmosphere—the emotions associated with the story’s physical environment

The setting is either directly stated by the author, or it can be inferred by the reader.


The plot of a story refers the sequence of events.

Conflicts occur in the plot to create moments of tension:

  • Characters defy society or other individuals
  • Characters cope with dangerous surroundings
  • Characters struggle with their own emotions

Point of View:

The reader sees the events of a story through the eyes of the narrator—the person who tells the story.

The narrator’s explanations and interpretations of the events represent the story’s point of view.

There are two main types of narrator:

  • An outside narrator does not participate in the conflict of the story and is not a character in the story.
  • A character narrator participates in the action of the story, and the reader witnesses the events through his or her eyes.


Characterization refers to the methods an author uses to present characters to the reader:

  • outside narrator’s comments
  • other characters’ comments
  • dialogue
  • scenes depicting characters in action

Figurative Language:

  • A simile is a comparison using the word like or a
  • A metaphor is an implied comparison in which the writer states that something is something else.


The theme is the underlying meaning of a story:

  • beliefs and opinions about life
  • attitudes toward political or social issues
  • perceptions about human nature and relationships

The theme of a story is usually implied throughout the story, not stated directly.


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