Narrative Essay – Definition & Example

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Narrative-essay-Definition

In order to engage the reader in the specifics and sequencing of a story, narrative essays are written from a certain point of view, frequently the author’s.

The verb tenses are clear and lively. A narrative’s personal, experiential, and often anecdotal nature gives students the freedom to express themselves in original and, frequently, moving ways.

Narrative Essay – In a Nutshell

  • A narrative essay is a piece of writing meant to be informative and engaging as it unfolds a story or an event.
  • When writing a narrative essay, ensure you have adequate research or experience with the topic, so you don’t have to research too much.
  • Unlike many other essays, narrative essays often use first-person perspectives.

Definition: Narrative essay

A narrative essay is a kind of academic writing that examines an intriguing subject using the first-person experiences and observations of one or more people. It may be applied to create a narrative about a person’s life or describe a specific historical event or period.

To craft a captivating story that informs readers about the topic, the author employs both their own words and quotations from additional sources.1

A narrative essay is a writing in which the author tells a story depending on what is best suited. The narrative form can be either spoken or written, fiction or nonfiction. Unlike other essay formats, these papers permit the use of the first person.

What is a narrative essay for?

Telling a tale is the primary goal of a narrative essay. It may be something straightforward, like a tale of your summer adventures, or something intricate, like the story of your life. As a result, the narrative serves two purposes:

  • Entertaining the audience
  • Highlighting the significance of the experience.

Elements of a narrative essay

Like any other essay, the skeleton of a narrative must consist of:

  • A sensible title
  • An introduction
  • Body paragraphs
  • A conclusion.

The narrative length is as long as the narrator or writer wishes.

However, this essay has other sub-elements that make it remarkable and enchanting to the audience. It includes the:

  • Exposition (setting and character introduction)
  • Rising action (events that develop conflict for the protagonist)
  • Climax (the point at which the tension of the conflict reaches its peak intensity)
  • Falling action (the events that occur after the climax)
  • Denouement (the resolution of conflict)2

Finding a topic for a narrative essay

To keep readers reading and interested when writing a narrative essay, your topic needs to be something you can write about engagingly. It is also crucial that the subject is one that can be thoroughly investigated and has great detail. You will have more facts to write about in your essay as you do more studying on the topic.

Finding a subject you are passionate about is essential while writing a narrative essay.3 This subject can cover everything from what you are doing right now to what you have done in the past. The easiest method to accomplish this is to conduct a study and discover what other people have done in similar situations.

Additionally, you ought to search online or in printed books for illustrations of other narratives dealing with the identical subject. When it comes time to put your narrative in writing, the more knowledge you have about your topic, the better.

Narrative essay vs. Short story

Narrative Essay Short Story
• Sequentially recounts an event
• Any topic can be the subject, but they all generally have the same structure: Introduction (which might include background information or characters), body paragraphs that describe the story and its plot, and a summary of the story's events.
• Employs a format that uses fewer parts and does not contain a concluding section.
• They are more condensed than narratives
• Short tales will summarize their entire plot in a single paragraph or sentence as opposed to narratives, which include character and plot development elements throughout several paragraphs or pages.

Example of a narrative essay

Below is the beginning section of a narrative essay about the first time I saw a picture of myself.

Narrative essay example

FAQs

A narrative emphasizes the significance of your personal experience and conveys a core topic or a key lesson in addition to narrating a story, while an essay is a researched write-up about a subject.

More often than not, essays explore remote subjects, compared to narratives that are given by someone who was present as the events unfolded.

The storyline is the most crucial component of every play, novel, short story, or genre of literature.

The story’s action, or plot, determines how the work is structured. The story’s development, progression, and progression over time are all part of the plot.

Events like relocating, graduating, traveling, and weddings are suitable topics for personal narrative essays. So long as you have a memorable story you want to narrate, you can write this type of essay.

Sources

1 Genette, Gérard. Narrative discourse: An essay in method. Translated by Jane E. Lewin. Ithace, New York: Cornell University Press, 1983.

2 An, Pham Thi Hong. “Teaching the Narrative Essay: Embedding the Elements of Fiction.” In 18th International Conference of the Asia Association of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (AsiaCALL–2-2021), 27-39. Atlantis Press, 2021.

3 O’Sullivan, Sean. “Six elements of serial narrative.” Narrative 27, no. 1 (2019): 49-64. https://doi.org/10.1353/nar.2019.0003.