Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay



        -Literary short stories

-Nonfiction expository narratives

        - Stories used to explain or prove a point
        - Extended narrative

-Long episode that illustrates or supports an essay’s thesis

    - Facts – who, what, where, when
        - Right or wrong (objective test)
    - Factual retelling
- Subjective
    - Clearly defined point of view
    - “lesson” you wish your readers to share
    - Subjective interpretation

Body of the narrative
  • Two parts
    • Story
      • Personal experience
        • Recent or more distant past event
    • Impact
      • Response to the personal experience
      • Interpretation of the experience
      • The lasting effect of what happened
      • Analysis of the experience
      • Scope
        • Past
        • Present
        • Future
          • Type
            • Physical
              • Changes to a person or property, positive or negative
            • Practical
              • Useful learning experiences
                • Sample student essay

        p. 339 SWW

            • Philosophical
              • May evolve from the physical and/or  practical
              • A change of perspective
              • A change of attitude
              • A revelation
              • An adoption of a new way of thinking, acting, etc.

Problems to Avoid
  1. You must be able to identify the impact.

Don’t choose a story based on its entertainment value. The experience must have value to you based on the impact you realized.

  1. You must be able to explain the impact.

You must be able to put in words specific effects that the experience had on you then and/or now and/or in the future. If you can’t put the impact into words, the story won’t work for this assignment.

  • Background and orientation
    • Setting and situation
      • Tell the reader what he/she needs to know to understand the story.
  • Thesis
    • The specific episode
    • Hint at the impact

Drafting  points
  • Chronological order
  • Description – people, places, things
    • Sensory imagery
      • 5 senses: what you see, hear, taste, smell, touch or feel
  • Characterization
    • Direct – tell the reader what he or she needs to know to make the events of the story clear and logical
  • Dialogue/key quotes
    • Adds interest and realism
      • May be original from the actual event
      • May be contrived (artistic license) for effect
    • Should be several examples in the essay

Narrative Essay – Forbidden Statements (Impact)


I don’t take things for granted anymore.

I’ll never look at _____ the same.

I’ll never be the same. . .

Life is short . . .

I live every day differently.

Each day, hour, minute could be my last.

I now value things in life I found not so important before.