Types Of Prose Fiction

Prose Fiction 

Fiction encompasses settings, characters, speeches, actions, and events that are a product of the writer’s imagination. All characters, settings, actions and events in fiction are not real. All the elements mentioned do not have any seeming possibility of happening to someone somewhere before. Now, there are forms of prose that are fictional/fictitious/fictive (all has the same meaning). 

  • Novel 

Novel is a long narrative work of art that is fictional. It tells a story about human being with lengthy words. It has a minimum of 35, 000 words. Examples: Things Fall Apart by China Achebe, The Joy of Motherhood by Buchi Emecheta etc. 

  • Novella  

It is a fictional story that is shorter than a novel but longer than a short story. A novella possesses the quality of a novel except the longevity of words. Examples: The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens etc. 

  • Short Story 

A short story also known as an anecdote is the shortest among itself, novella and novel. It is exemplum (teaches a lesson). It has a single setting, event and few characters. Examples: The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry, The Dead by James Joyce etc. 

  • Bildungsroman 

Bildungsroman is a story centered on a child’s development from being young to mature. It deals with the growth of a child from childhood to maturity. A bildungsroman can be nonfictional. Examples: The Year At Sam Fernando by Michael Anthony, Sweet Sixteen by Bolaji Abdullahi etc. 

  • Gothic Novel/ Roman Noir 

This is a fictive story that deals with horror, terror and delibilitatingly shocking tragedies. Examples: The Castle of Otranto Horace Walpole, Wuthering Height by Emily Bronte etc. 

  • Fable 

A fable is a prose fiction in which animals are the characters. It is used to teach morals. Examples: The Tortoise and The Hare, The Tortoise and The Dog etc. The characters in the fable, which are animals, talk like human beings. 

  • Allegory 

Allegory is a fictitious narrative which uses animals, objects, abstractions as characters to represent different ideas, such as, greed, wickedness, usurpation, faithfulness, and many more in the society. The characters are significant and symbolic in likeness to several attributes and qualities of people (both good and bad) in the association of human beings. Examples: Animal Farm by George Orwell, Pilgrim’s Progress by John Buyan etc. 

  • Parable 

Parable is a prose fiction that teaches societal or spiritual moralities. It is short and has a few characters with a load of completeness. The examples of it are the parables made by Jesus in the Bible, such as; The Sower, The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin etc. 

  • Epistolary Novel 

It is a novel written in the form of a letter. The word epistolary, an adjective, is from the word epistle, a noun. It is an imaginary work of arts, which usually narrates the plights of the narrator. Example: So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba. 

  • Satirical Novel 

Satirical novel also known as satire is a fictional narrative that embraces the use of irony, humour, ridicule and exaggeration to expose social vices (ills or evils) in the society in a bid to correct them. The use of the ridicule is to bring social reforms through characters who are silly, abusive, exaggerated, and humorous. 

  • Lampoon 

Lampoon is a form of satire that is used to attack the personality of someone by humorous means. The Lampoon effect is created through characters who behave ridiculously. 

  • Caricature 

It is a form of satire that uses exaggerating personality, behaviour and physical appearances to create effect. It may denote a government official who has embezzled public funds with a character with a big/protruded stomach. 

  • Burlesque 

Burlesque is derived from the Italian word, burla, later turned to burlesco, which means joke, ridicule or mockery. It is a form of satire which ridicules and mocks a certain work, genre or subject of an author. It is a comedy emanated from ridiculing a serious work and subjecting it to absurdity or something irrelevant. It is synonymous to parody

  • Parody 

Parody is a comic imitation of a writer’s style of writing in a bid to subject it to absurdity. It is used to ridicule or make fun of a work of art in order to reveal the weakness or the mistakes of the writer. It is also a form of satire.  

  • Travesty 

Travesty is like a burlesque. It is the grotesque (abnormal, disgusting) denigration of a dignified subject in an absurd manner as a result of imitation to give comic effects. 

  • Historical Novel 

Historical novel is a fictional narrative that has its setting backdated to a period before and uses it to communicate values to the present society. 

  • Picaresque

Picaresque is a Spanish word, picaresca from picaro which means rogue or rascal. It is an adventure/struggle of a rogue/rascal, a low life person, though a loving hero, who strives to live despite the evils in the society. The hero wanders everywhere, meeting new people of different statuses, just to earn a living in a corrupt society. 

  • Romance 

Romance is a prose fiction whose setting, events and events are out of this world. The performances of the characters and actions are not in consonance with the realities in the world, and which are impossible for human beings. It is full of adventures which demand bravery from the heroes. 

  • Fantasy 

Fantasy is a fictitious work centered on magical and supernatural events that do not have any connection with happenings in the real world. Fantasy as a genre of literature is beyond reality. 

  • Legend 

Legend in the Latin word,’legendus’, simply means `something which ought to be read‘. It is a historical narrative of a person (hero) and his/her exploits in his/her time and place. The story is used to pass messages, teach morals and entertain people. 

  • Myth 

Myth is from the Greek word, ‘Muthos’, which means rumor, speech, story, or fable. It is a prose fiction about a person (hero) or an event which explains natural phenomena, the existence of men in the universe, without any form of truth. It is usually centered on a king, queen, god or goddess. There is no trace that a myth is real. 

  • Folklore 

It is a traditional story about the belief, customs, and norms of a particular group of people. It is transferred from one generation to another through word of mouth.  

  • Folktale 

This is any narrative that is handed down orally. 

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