Prose, noun or adjective?

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greenwoods

Member
Japanese
Hi

I'm reading a book <Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry (1888)> by Yeats.
(This book is copyright free. You can find it on the Internet.)
Here's the quote:

< --- > They [= country people] have the spade over which man has leant from the beginning. The people of the cities have the machine, which is prose and a parvenu. They have few events. [They spend time thinking about these events] With us nothing has time to gather meaning, and too many things are occurring for even a big heart to hold. < --- >

In this context, is prose a noun or an adjective?

This is what I'm thinking.

They means people of the peasantry. Their life is simple. They still use spades.
They have time to think about their life and they gives meaning to everything because they have few events.
So folk tales are like poems.

Us means people of the cities. We have the machine. So there are too many events that we cannot give any meaning.
We are too busy and our story is prose. (noun)
Or Our life is prose, in other words dull. (adjective)

Please help me.
Thank you in advance.



< --- > Quotation reduced to comply with 4-sentence limit, which we enforce even when the quoted material is out of copyright. Cagey, moderator.
 
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  • Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    'Prose' is used here as an adjective, in the sense of 'prosaic':
    prosaic
    1. 1a : characteristic of prose as distinguished from poetry : factualb : dull, unimaginative <prosaic advice> Definition of PROSAIC The same sense is also conveyed by the Arabic proverb where it speaks of 'the brain of the frank': since the Crusades the common language of the Europeans was a form of French known as the 'lingua franca', so 'Frank' means European.
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    We are too busy and our story is prose. (noun)
    Or Our life is prose, in other words dull. (adjective)
    I think you're right about the meaning, but wrong about the part of speech. I see "prose" as a noun in both cases. In the second sentence, the noun "prose" is used as metaphor. Our life is tedium (again a noun). As Aardvark says "prosaic" is an available adjective (that wasn't used). "Tedious" is as well. Either could have been used if the intent had been to use an adjective.
     

    greenwoods

    Member
    Japanese
    Thank you for helping me Aardvark and srk.
    I guess both of you suggests similar meaning (dull = tedium) even if the forms are different.
    That was really helpful. Thanks again!
     

    Aardvark01

    Senior Member
    British English (Midlands)
    Thank you for helping me Aardvark and srk.
    I guess both of you suggests similar meaning (dull = tedium) even if the forms are different.
    That was really helpful. Thanks again!
    I do not think that prose is dull
    But factual and mechanical;
    Comparing prose to poetry
    Is a choice of art or industry.

    We may call a spade a spade
    (As the proverb goes)
    But "human-organic interface module"
    Reduces art to prose.
     
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