This is a type of essay that has one central point around which the narrative is told. That is, all the characters and events revolve on a single motif presented in the story. It can take the format of a 5-paragraph essay, but the content ultimately differs.
How Does it Differ from a Short Story?
A narrative essay is written to follow a specific format, aspect of discovery, and theme. The author writes to describe situations that coincide with the motif chosen. On the other hand, a short story doesn’t necessarily have an initial central point in which one writes to revolve around, neither does it have a specific format. Short stories end with thought-provoking sentences or paragraphs that make readers want to discover more. Narrative essays are usually written to end with complete clarification and satisfaction of events.
Elements of a Narrative Essay
Character: The characters are a major significance to a narrative essay that can’t be left out no matter how the story goes. Even if it’s just an autobiographical narrative, the narrator itself is a character already.
Motif: This is the central point around which the story revolves. Compared to an argumentative or expository essay, you can refer to it as the main idea or opinion discussed further. It is written as a thesis statement that is broken down in the body paragraphs.
Dialogue: A narrative essay uses dialogues to capture the conversation between characters. It is an essential element that enhances the worth and liveliness of the story.
Narrative Essay Examples
New Directions – Maya Angelou
“Annie, over six feet tall, big-boned, decided that she would not go to work as a domestic and leave her “precious babes” to anyone else’s care. There was no possibility of being hired at the town’s cotton gin or lumber mill, but maybe there was a way to make the two factories work for her. In her words, “I looked up the road I was going and back the way I come, and since I wasn’t satisfied, I decided to step off the road and cut me a new path.” She told herself that she wasn’t a fancy cook but that she could “mix groceries well enough to scare hunger away and keep from starving a man.”
Maya Angelou writes a narrative essay that basically describes a girl’s appearance and demeanor. She also includes dialogues to demonstrate the narrative.
Saturday Evening Post – Russell Baker
“When I burst in that afternoon she was in conference with an executive of the Curtis Publishing Company. She introduced me. He bent low from the waist and shook my hand. Was it true as my mother had told him, he asked, that I longed for the opportunity to conquer the world of business?
My Mother replied that I was blessed with a rare determination to make something of myself.
‘That’s right,’ I whispered.
‘But have you got the grit, the character, the never-say-quit spirit it takes to succeed in business?’
My Mother said I certainly did.”
Here, the author fully describes the efforts of his mother by her dialogue. An essential expression of character and dialogue is invoked.
Only Daughter – Sandra Cisneros
“Once several years ago, when I was just starting out my writing career, I was asked to write my own contributor’s note for an anthology I was part of, I wrote: ‘I am the only daughter in a family of six sons. That explains everything.’
“Well, I’ve thought about that ever since, and yes, it explains a lot to me, but for the reader’s sake I should have written: ‘I am the only daughter in a Mexican family of six sons.’ Or even: ‘I am the only daughter of a Mexican father and a Mexican-American mother.’ Or: ‘I am the only daughter of a working-class family of nine.’ All of these had everything to do with who I am today.”
In this essay, Sandra Cisneros offers a complete description of a typical daughter, explaining her look and character in the narrative.
Narrative Essay and Its Role in Story-telling
The method and format that are applied in narrative essays allow writers to describe characters, events, and conversations in an ideal structure. Its role employs one to give an account of an experience such that their readers are able to take something from it. It is written as a story but only differs where the narrative has a theme reflection all through. An author provides a motif before the main events of the story so that readers are aware of the central idea while reading.