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Narrative essay meaning
February 23, 2019 1st Anniversary Wishes 5 comments

The narrative essay makes a point, which is usually pointed out, in the opening paragraph. Personal narratives are told from a defined perspective, which is.

The definition of narrativeis a piece of writing that tells a story, and it is one of four classical rhetorical modes or ways that writers use to present information. The others include an exposition, which explains and analyzes an idea or set of ideas; an argument, which attempts to persuade the reader to a particular point of view; and a description, a written form of a visual experience.

Key Takeaways: Narrative Definition

  • A narrative is a form of writing that tells a story. 
  • Narratives can be essays, fairy tales, movies, and jokes. 
  • Narratives have five elements: plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme. 
  • Writers use narrator style, chronological order, a point of view, and other strategies to tell a story.

Telling stories is an ancient art that started long before humans invented writing. People tell stories when they gossip, tell jokes, or reminisce about the past. Written forms of narration include most forms of writing: personal essays, fairy tales, short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, autobiographies, histories, even news stories have a narrative. Narratives may be a sequence of events in chronological order or an imagined tale with flashbacks or multiple timelines.

Narrative Elements

Every narrative has five elements that define and shape the narrative: plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme. These elements are rarely stated in a story; they are revealed to the readers in the story in subtle or not-so-subtle ways, but the writer needs to understand the elements to assemble her story. Here's an example from "The Martian," a novel by Andy Weir that was made into a film:

  • The plot is the thread of events that occur in a story. Weir's plot is about a man who gets accidentally abandoned on the surface of Mars.
  • The setting is the location of the events in time and place. "The Martian" is set on Mars in the not-too-distant future.
  • The characters are the people in the story who drive the plot, are impacted by the plot, or may even be bystanders to the plot. The characters in "The Martian" include Mark Watney, his shipmates, the people at NASA resolving the issue, and even his parents who are only mentioned in the story but still are impacted by the situation and in turn impact Mark's decisions.
  • The conflict is the problem that is being resolved. Plots need a moment of tension, which involves some difficulty that requires resolution. The conflict in "The Martian" is that Watney needs to figure out how to survive and eventually leave the planet's surface.
  • Most important and least explicit is the theme. What is the moral of the story? What does the writer intend the reader to understand? There are arguably several themes in "The Martian": the ability of humans to overcome problems, the stodginess of bureaucrats, the willingness of scientists to overcome political differences, the dangers of space travel, and the power of flexibility as a scientific method.

Setting Tone and Mood

In addition to structural elements, narratives have several styles that help move the plot along or serve to involve the reader. Writers define space and time in a descriptive narrative, and how they choose to define those characteristics can convey a specific mood or tone.

For example, chronological choices can affect the reader's impressions. Past events always occur in strict chronological order, but writers can choose to mix that up, show events out of sequence, or the same event several times experienced by different characters or described by different narrators. In Gabriel García Márquez's novel "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," the same few hours are experienced in sequence from the viewpoint of several different characters. García Márquez uses that to illustrate the peculiar almost magical inability of the townspeople to stop a murder they know is going to happen.

The choice of a narrator is another way that writers set the tone of a piece. Is the narrator someone who experienced the events as a participant, or one who witnessed the events but wasn't an active participant? Is that narrator an omniscient undefined person who knows everything about the plot including its ending, or is he confused and uncertain about the events underway? Is the narrator a reliable witness or lying to themselves or the reader? In the novel "Gone Girl," by Gillian Flynn, the reader is forced to constantly revise her opinion as to the honesty and guilt of the husband Nick and his missing wife. In "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, the narrator is Humbert Humbert, a pedophile who constantly justifies his actions despite the damage that Nabokov illustrates he's doing.

Point of View

Establishing a point of view for a narrator allows the writer to filter the events through a particular character. The most common point of view in fiction is the omniscient (all-knowing) narrator who has access to all the thoughts and experiences of each of her characters. Omniscient narrators are almost always written in the third person and do not usually have a role in the storyline. The Harry Potter novels, for example, are all written in third person; that narrator knows everything about everybody but is unknown to us.

The other extreme is a story with a first-person point of view in which the narrator is a character within that story, relating events as they see them and with no visibility into other character motivations. Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre" is an example of this: Jane relates her experiences of the mysterious Mr. Rochester to us directly, not revealing the full explanation until "Reader, I married him."

Points of view can also be effectively shifted throughout a piece—in her novel "Keys to the Street," Ruth Rendell used limited third-person narratives from the point of view of five different characters, enabling the reader to assemble a coherent whole out of what first appears to be unrelated stories. 

Other Strategies

Writers also use the grammatical strategies of tense (past, present, future), person (first person, second person, third person), number (singular, plural) and voice (active, passive). Writing in the present tense is unsettling—the narrators have no idea what will happen next—while past tense can build in some foreshadowing. Many recent novels use the present tense, including "The Martian." A writer sometimes personalizes the narrator of a story as a specific person for a specific purpose: The narrator can only see and report on what happens to him or her. In "Moby Dick," the entire story is told by the narrator Ishmael, who relates the tragedy of the mad Captain Ahab, and is situated as the moral center.

E.B. White, writing columns in 1935's "New Yorker" magazine, often used the plural or "editorial we" to add a humorous universality and a slow pace to his writing.

"The barber was cutting our hair, and our eyes were closed—as they are so likely to be... Deep in a world of our own, we heard, from far away, a voice saying goodbye. It was a customer of the shop, leaving. 'Goodbye,' he said to the barbers. 'Goodbye,' echoed the barbers. And without ever returning to consciousness, or opening our eyes, or thinking, we joined in. 'Goodbye,' we said, before we could catch ourselves."—E.B. White "Sadness of Parting."

In contrast, sportswriter Roger Angell (White's stepson) epitomizes sports writing, with a quick, active voice, and straight chronological snap:

"In September 1986, during an unmomentous Giants-Braves game out at Candlestick Park, Bob Brenly, playing third base for San Francisco, made an error on a routine ground ball in the top of the fourth inning. Four batters later, he kicked away another chance and then, scrambling after the ball, threw wildly past home in an attempt to nail a runner there: two errors on the same play. A few moments after that, he managed another boot, thus becoming only the fourth player since the turn of the century to rack up four errors in one inning."—Roger Angell. "La Vida."

Steps to write a narrative essay meaning. Categoría: Sin categoría. Escrito el día octubre por Juan Toral. Inconsistent triad essay help essay on teacher.

Definition and Examples of Narratives in Writing

narrative essay meaning

Narrative Essay Examples

A narrative essay is the one that tells a story. It talks about a particular event or a series of events and describes the kind of experience that the writer (or protagonist) got from it. In other words, you have to write about what happened to you and how it influenced you. Most essays that you come across in books are narrative ones. Furthermore, most movies and YouTube videos that you watch are also essentially examples of a narrative essay, only realized through the video medium. That’s why writing narrative essay examples for college is arguably the easiest assignment there is.

Still, it is always better to have some sense of direction. Below, we present some narrative essay examples. They are not perfect and would not secure an excellent grade, but they provide a convenient example to analyze the possible flows and pitfalls.

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Narrative Essay Example 1: Best Friends for Life

“It was the 4th of July, and the summer heat was as blistering as ever in New Mexico. Lilly-Ann, Daniela, and I – the three best friends – set out to go on a girly picnic as we would every year since we were nine years old. I had done all my chores and packed the picnic basket the night before, so as soon as I brushed my teeth and had a coffee, I was ready to dress up and go have a good time with my besties. I took my beat-up Cherokee and sped down the street to meet up with Daniela; we would pick Lilly-Ann later.

Daniela and I shared the same birthday – February 27th, 1986. Our moms were also best friends from high school. They went to the same college and got married the same year. Everyone always laughed at how it all resembled a generic best-friends-for-life movie or novel. It seemed like Daniela and I were destined to be best friends. Neither of us had siblings, so we became much like sisters to each other. We shared all interests and hobbies without exception. We both joined the school’s female soccer team, and both played in the defense. But, most important of all, we were always there for each other in the toughest of situations, regardless of how preoccupied either of us might have been.

Our traditional spot for Independence Day picnic was on the bank of the Beaver River. Here, half a mile west from the town, it is always as cool as it gets in July in New Mexico. As we were riding the rocky backroad, my bike was screaking in unison with the fireworks that exploded in the clear sky from the early morning.

The meadow on our spot always inspired us to go play a little soccer, as we did this time as well. Then, we felt like we need to fresh up a little, so we went into the river. We even managed to catch a small catfish, but we let it go. The ride, the soccer, and the swim made us hungry, and we sat down to have some lunch. We all always pack a little more food than we need for a picnic, so we always have something of a menu to choose from. We all picked Lilly-Ann’s roasted chicken with pineapple and mashed potatoes. During and after the meal, we chattered and giggled non-stop as besties like us always would. Then suddenly, Daniela seized laughing and stared blankly into the water for a moment or two.

Then she turned her eyes at me and uttered: “Promise me we will always be best friends, just like our moms.” We were light-hearted teenage girls, somewhat airheads even. So, it was a pure shock to hear Daniela speak so earnestly for the first time since I had known her.

Stunned, without the slightest idea of what was going on, all I could mumble was a faint “I promise.”

By this time, it began to get dark, and my dad had already texted me asking about my whereabouts. So, we rushed home. Lilly-Ann’s place was the nearest to the river, then was Daniela’s, and mine was the farthest. As Daniela and I said goodbye and I sat on the bike to be on my way, she was still on the porch waving goodbye and shouted “Remember your promise,” reminding me of something I couldn’t wish to forget anyway.

These words ring through my head to this day. A pitch black mustang rolled from around the corner and headed our way.

“Dani…” I cried out as I leaped off the bike and to the side.

Stunned by the loud skiddle of tires and screams, I passed out. After I came to my sense, the first thing I saw was Daniela’s limp body in her mother’s hands as I heard hysterical weeping. My head suddenly felt heavy, and my legs felt cotton-like. Dazed, I landed on my behind in slow motion. The air felt thick and heavy, and I fainted once more. The next thing I remember is waking up in my bed and seeing my mother sitting next to me, sobbing.

I urged to tell her about my promise, but all I could utter was “Why her?” – and then I burst into tears myself.

Nobody can take their best friend’s death well. I became antisocial. I barely left my room, and whenever someone tried to talk to me about anything, I responded with brief and bitter remarks. I wallowed in myself. Whirlwinds of thoughts circled in my head – Why Daniela? Of all people, why did she have to die? Couldn’t God pick someone more deserving of death? I could not imagine how I was supposed to live on without her. Nobody could replace her in my life, not even all the people in the world.

After one month of grieving, I finally found the strength to talk to my mother. “Does God love us?” I asked, “Why does he hurt us?” “My girl,” she said, “He picks the best of us and takes them before the cruel world can deform them. He turns them into His angels, and Daniela must be your angel now.”

I can’t say that it made me feel any better at the time. But later on, I understood the meaning of my promise. Daniela is always with me, following me in all the choices I make in life. She is my angel.”

We would grade this essay with a C+ at best. It is a narration alright, but what do we find out from this narrative essay example? The author is religious and her best friend died. The immenseness of this experience is only illustrated by a few physiological manifestations that many people have for far less dramatic reasons. The gist of this essay is “My best friend died, so show some sympathy in the name of God and give me an A.” While an appeal to emotion is not forbidden, your task is to describe your experience colorfully enough to put your reader in your shoes. Only then can you consider your task completed and deserve an excellent grade.

Narrative Essay Example 2: My Top Destination Where Few People Go

“I have always been keen on traveling. Seeing new sights always inspires me, regardless of whether it is nature or urban landscapes. Being a little under 30, I had already been almost everywhere in the US, as well as in Canada, Mexico, and most Caribbean countries, but I was still only dreaming and vaguely planning to cross the Atlantic and visit Europe. I dreamt of seeing London, Paris, Venice, etc., but my first real chance came as a surprise.

A friend with whom we haven’t talked for ages wrote to congratulate me on my birthday. We started taking, and it turned out that he now works as a volunteer for a human rights NGO in Lviv, Ukraine! He invited me over, and I thought to myself, “Let’s do this now! No point delaying your trip to Europe any further!” I immediately went on to book a plane ticket and found out that the best price ticket was in only one week! I saw it as yet another sign telling me that I must travel there as soon as possible. I knew little to nothing about Ukraine and its culture and had no time to research it properly, which added to my excitement.

Needless to say that what I saw in Ukraine turned out to be completely different from any place I had visited so far. Ukraine occupies the territory a little smaller than Texas, which is big by European measures. As my friend explained to me, every region has its significant peculiarities, and West Ukraine (where Lviv is situated) is no exception.

Lviv is a beautiful medieval city full of Gothic churches, not unlike Prague or Budapest. I saw flowerbeds and little statues of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary on every corner. The people are very fond of their roots, and many of them are wearing vyshyvanka – embroidered shirts. All people I met were friendly even when they didn’t speak English. On the whole, Lviv impressed me as a very spiritual city.

My friend and I both thought that it would be great for me to visit some other places in Ukraine. But with the little time I had, we figured that I can’t go too far, so we decided to go hiking in the Carpathian Mountains. Their authentic breathtaking beauty looks like the progress of modern life will never make it to these places. Remote villages with traditional wooden churches and houses, rapid mountain rivers, forests and meadows of brightest green amazed me with their untouched pureness.

By the end of my stay, I was so full of impressions that I couldn’t believe that Ukraine remains so unknown to the rest of the world. It was a real discovery for me, and I am happy that my friend wrote to me on that day and that my acquaintance with Europe began here and not in some more mainstream places. I have a strong drive to come to Ukraine again and see more of it, and I advise it to everyone!”

This is a pleasant read that deserves a firm B+. It starts off strongly with a promising a tale of an exotic destination, and it delivers. So many examples of a narrative essay about traveling fall into the trap of promising something exciting and not delivering. A walk to a secluded part of the beach can be exciting and provide a meaningful experience, but it is not a journey to an exotic destination. A spontaneous flight to Ukraine, on the other hand, is. The author does, however, falls into another trap. There are too little details – no name of a church, a river or a village is mentioned. In good narrative essay examples, a reader gets more concrete information to re-live the author’s experience.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Write a Professional Narrative Essay

narrative essay meaning

nar·​ra·​tive|\ ˈner-ə-tiv, ˈna-rə-\

1a: something that is narrated: story, accountHe is writing a detailed narrative of his life on the island.

b: a way of presenting or understanding a situation or series of events that reflects and promotes a particular point of view or set of values The rise of the Tea Party and the weakness of the Obama economy have fueled a Republican narrative about Big Government as a threat to liberty …— Michael GrunwaldThe media narrative around Kelly's appointment had two central ideas … : He would calm and professionalize the White House, and he would provide a more measured leadership style than his boss.— Perry Bacon Jr.

2: the art or practice of narration … depended not on narrative but on intensity derived from the verity to make the book jump.— Stanley Kauffmann

3: the representation in art of an event or storyalso: an example of such a representation the narrative of St. Joan of Arc

1: having the form of a story or representing a story a narrative poemnarrative paintings

2: of or relating to the process of telling a story the author's narrative stylethe novel's narrative structure

The essay should be around 3 pages, but at least two (2) full pages. 2. The meaning that you gained from this incident should be a universal meaning to which.

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narrative essay meaning

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Narrative Essays

Summary:

The Modes of Discourse—Exposition, Description, Narration, Argumentation (EDNA)—are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the widespread use of these approaches and students’ need to understand and produce them.

What is a narrative essay?

When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing students to express themselves in a creative and, quite often, moving ways.

Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay.

  • If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story.

This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion.

  • When would a narrative essay not be written as a story?

A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader.

  • The essay should have a purpose.

Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is no point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all?

  • The essay should be written from a clear point of view.

It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays oftentimes manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective.

  • Use clear and concise language throughout the essay.

Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader.

  • The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed.

Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction.

Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead).

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: Narrative vs Expository

The narrative essay makes a point, which is usually pointed out, in the opening paragraph. Personal narratives are told from a defined perspective, which is.

narrative essay meaning
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