Today, most of our communication is through texts, emojis, and gifs — we don't express ourselves the way people did in the past.

However, literature is a discipline that preserves the inherent beauty of English. It helps us understand emotions and communicate our feelings better.

Reading helps you attain the skills to understand texts with ease and analyze contexts.

It provides boundless knowledge and also enhances your writing, vocabulary, reading, and communication skills.

Whether you are fascinated by Shakespeare's plays or Frost's poetry, read ahead as we elaborate on the components of an English literature course.

An assortment of books. Libraries used to be a place for people from all walks of life to congregate, debate, and educate themselves on literature about science and matters of the heart. Nowadays, it would be rare to find a full library!
The majority of readers regard literature as a beautiful and striking language; also, many readers associate it with social relevancy. (Source: Unsplash)
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Prose

If you take literature courses, you will find that there are various components to it. The prose is one of them; it is a written or verbal form that aligns with the natural speech flow.

Furthermore, it is the most widespread writing form used in nonfiction and fiction alike.

A literature class will include plays by William Shakespeare and novels by Jane Austen, Ernest Hemmingway, and Charles Dickens. They may vary in themes and writing styles.

This equips students to understand various forms of text while experiencing the thought process of some of the greatest authors to have lived.

Types Of Prose

Prose differentiate from one another with their purpose and style. The four different types of prose in literature are detailed below:

Fictional Prose

One of the most popular prose types taught in a literature class is fiction, while it is mostly used in short stories and novels.

Fictional prose has six critical elements to it:

  • Character: These are the people in the story that carry out the narrative
  • Plot: This is the storyline of the writing. It usually starts with an exposition, builds up with tension till the climax, and then works everything out in the end
  • Point of View: Any story requires a perspective to provide context to the action. These include the first-person, where one of the characters talks for themselves; third-person, where the narrator is not in the story; or omniscient third-persons who use multiple points of view to narrate a story
  • Setting: This is the primary location where the plot transpires
  • Style: This involves the author's writing style, including syntax, words, and more linguistic elements
  • Themes: Any fictional work has ideas or themes to help readers understand the concept and message

Non-Fictional Prose

Prose with detailed real-life events is classified as nonfiction. These can be based on a range of instructional, historical, philosophical, biographical, humorous, or dramatical subjects.

Heroic Prose

Heroic prose is a literary work intended for recitation. It is a verbal depiction of oral traditions and is generally a myth, legend, or prophecy.

Prose Poetry

Considered to be a literary hybrid, prose poetry is narrated like prose with rhyming and rhythmic patterns.

Man standing in front of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. William Shakespeare is a household name because of his plays, poetry, and overall literary excellence; however, the world of literature owes gratitude to many other people that deserve the same respect
Other than writing sonnets and plays, Shakespeare was an actor who performed several plays, including his own and those by other playwrights. He played Adam in 'As You Like It' and the ghost in 'Hamlet'. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Reasons For Teaching Prose

Prose forms a primary part of a literature class, and for a good reason. Students focus on the literature and content to help them comprehend complex material and improve their reading skills.

Intensive Reading

Intensive reading is done with a teacher to ensure accuracy and improve analytical capabilities. It concerns the development of reading strategies to provide a profound understanding of a descriptive text.

Learning prose helps enhance the following traits:

  • Reasoning
  • Judgment
  • Interpretation
  • Appreciation

This type of prose reading helps to scan for hidden context while paying attention to the author's ideas, arguments, style, etc.

Extensive Reading

Extensive reading is meant to improve students' fluency and reading speed through enjoyable texts like short stories, novels, plays, etc.

Poetry

Poetry is one of the most beautiful forms of literature. In some cultures, it is an artform heralded by the elders, as it helps one express complicated feelings, thoughts, and imagination through words and rhymes.

It has been around for thousands of years; poets use words and particular acoustics to achieve a tempo known as the meter.

Often poems use rhyme schemes in which they use similar-sounding words at the end of two or more consecutive or alternate lines.

Poetry still forms an essential part of culture and art. English literature courses include poetry to equip students with the skills to understand the expression and decipher what the poet conveys.

John Milton, Oscar Wilde, Robert Burns, Sylvia Plath, Shakespeare, etc., are some of the many great names to have contributed to English poetry.

And when it comes to poetry, literature courses allow participants to discuss central themes, contexts, and structures to understand the material.

Components Of A Poem

There are different parts of a poem that make up the entire piece.

Meter

The meter gives the basic rhythm to a line. It's purposed to impose particular syllables and emphasize a melody in a poetic work.

Stanza

A stanza is the primary building block in a poem. Like a paragraph in prose, It is formed by sentences that align with the topic's theme.

A poem consists of one or more stanzas, and each serves a specific purpose to enhance the theme of the entire poem. It can be organized according to the meters and rhyming patterns.

Stanzas can also have no structure at all and can flow freely as a verse.

Rhyme Scheme

Poets use several rhymes in their work: slant, eye, identical, and many more. A common way to introduce rhymes in a poem is through a rhyme scheme made of shared consonants or vowel sounds.

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A literature book with red roses. Poetry is often used to express love and romance, which transcends cultural and national boundaries.
The oldest known piece of literature dates back to 2100 B.C., a series of Sumerian tales and poems called The Epic of Gilgamesh. However, the Babylonians wrote its more complete form in the 12th century B.C. (Source: Unsplash)

Poetic Forms

Poems are not just straightforward collections of stanzas and rhyming schemes. Various versions of poetry are taught in literature courses across America, including:

  • Rhymed Poetry: The primary motive is to rhyme with various kinds of schemes
  • Free Verse: Lacks a steady metrical pattern, rhyme scheme, or musical form and flows without a structure
  • Blank Verse: Written with a non-rhyming precise meter that is mainly iambic pentameter
  • Epic: A lengthy poem with a meaningful narrative that usually details the adventures and feats of characters from ancient times
  • Haiku: Emerging from Japan, this is a three-line form of poetry. There are five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, and five in the third
  • Narrative Poetry: Tells a story; same as an epic
  • Sonnet: A fourteen-line romantic poem. There are internal rhymes in these lines whose exact scheme depends on the sonnet's style
  • Pastoral Poetry: It concerns the topics of rural life, the natural world, and landscapes. This poetry form has evolved from Ancient Greece to present contexts
  • Elegies: A poem that talks about death or loss. Although based around the sentiments of dread and loss, they can also talk about consolation and redemption
  • Ode: It is similar to an elegy and honors its subject, but they do not necessarily have to be dead
  • Limerick: A five-line poem that has an AABA rhyme scheme, one stanza, and a subject that is a concise description or tale
  • Lyric Poetry: A broad category of poetry with emotions and feelings that differentiates it from epics and dramatic forms
  • Ballad: This is a narrative verse that is more musical than poetic. It uses a rhymed quatrains pattern to tell a story melodiously

Conclusion

English Literature is one of those courses that receive an extreme reaction from students; they either love it or don't have the time for it.

One of the most significant benefits of literature class is that it helps you broaden your thinking. Reading descriptive texts enables you to think critically to understand what is being communicated.

A unique aspect of literature is that you can express, inform, decipher the text, and communicate better, whether orally or through writing.

With that said, if you want to enhance your academic and personal skills, you should consider signing up for a literature course.

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