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Introduction to Narrative Essays


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Introductory information for students on writing a strong narrative essay.

Published in: Education, Technology
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Introduction to Narrative Essays

  1. 1. The Narrative Essay Welcome!
  2. 2. Narration Recounting Events
  3. 3. What is Narration? • Relates a series of events, real or imaginary, in an organized fashion • A story that makes a point
  4. 4. Characteristics of Narrative Essays
  5. 5. Makes a Point • Makes a point or supports a thesis by telling about an event/series of events • Point may be directly stated – (explicit thesis statement) • Point may be implied – (implied thesis statement) • Details of story support the point the author is trying to make
  6. 6. Conveys action and detail • Gets the reader involved – Dialogue – Physical description – Recounting action
  7. 7. Presents a conflict & creates tension • Conflict – Struggle, question, problem the characters try to resolve • Tension – Suspense created as the story unfolds and reader tries to figure out how the character will solve conflict • Climax – Point just before the conflict is solved
  8. 8. Sequences events • Arranged in an order easy for readers to follow • Often chronological • Non-chronological – Flashback • Returns reader to events happening in the past – Foreshadowing • Hints at events that MAY happen in the future
  9. 9. Uses dialogue • Should resemble everyday speech
  10. 10. Told from a particular point of view • 1st person – Key participant talks directly to reader – Allows personal tone & sharing of attitudes, feelings, etc. – Good when narrating an event from your own life • 3rd person – Narrator is unknown and describes what is happening to others – More distance from the action, and generally more objective – Allows narrator to reveal insights about a character’s actions & personality
  11. 11. Graphic Organizer for a Narrative Essay See p. 100, figure 5.1
  12. 12. Writing a Narrative Essay Planning the essay
  13. 13. Choose topic • Select an experience that is memorable and that you would feel comfortable talking about • Decide whether you will use 1st or 3rd person
  14. 14. Gathering Details • Replay the experience in your mind – Write down notes (sights, smells, sounds, tastes, touch, dialogue, emotions) • Describe the incident to a friend – Write down any questions they might have • Describe the experience aloud • Consider different aspects of the incident by asking who, what, where, when, why, and how questions
  15. 15. Key details to include • Scene – Choose RELEVANT sensory details that direct your readers to the main point of the narrative • Key actions – Choose actions that create tension, build it to a climax, and resolve it • Why did the conflict occur? • What events led up to it? • How was it resolved? • What were its short- and long-term consequences? • What is its significance now?
  16. 16. Key details to include, cont. • Key participants – Appearance and action of people directly involved in story • Key lines of dialogue – Interesting, revealing, & related to main point of story – Make sure it sounds natural
  17. 17. Develop your thesis • After looking at all of the key details, decide what point you will be making with your narrative
  18. 18. Drafting a Narrative Essay Guidelines for writing
  19. 19. Introduction Should… • Capture the reader’s attention • Provide useful background information • Set up the conflict • Include the thesis (if you are going to directly state it)
  20. 20. Body of Narrative • Build tension as it leads up to the final resolution or climax • Devote a separate paragraph to each major action or distinct part of the story • Use transitions to connect events
  21. 21. Conclusion of Narrative Essay Do not summarize – instead… • Make a final observation about the experience or event • Ask a probing question • Suggest a new, but related direction of thought • Reveal a surprising piece of information • Refer back to the beginning • Restate the thesis in different words (use this method sparingly)
  22. 22. Analysis, Revision, & Editing
  23. 23. Revision • Let your essay sit for a day or two • Reread and analyze, focusing on the overall effectiveness of the narrative • See revision flowchart 5.3 on pp. 105-6
  24. 24. Editing & Proofreading • Check for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation & mechanics.
  25. 25. Editing Tips & Troublespots • Check for varied sentence structure – Different length & word order • Check punctuation on dialogue • Use strong, active verbs – Active verbs (use these) • The subject performs the action – Lisa told me… – Passive verbs (avoid) • The subject is acted upon – It was told to me by Lisa… • Use consistent verb tense – Most narratives are told in the past tense
  26. 26. Reading a Narrative Essay • Don’t forget the value of previewing and rereading a narrative so that you can follow the events and action as well as concentrate on its meaning.
  27. 27. What to Look for, Highlight and Annotate • Understanding the Reading – What is: • The role of the participants • The conflict • The climax • Conflict resolution
  28. 28. What to Look for, Highlight and Annotate • Examining the Characteristics of Narrative Essays – Main point of the writer? – Writer’s thesis? Direct or implied? – Does writer create tension? How? – Sequence of events? – Purpose and intended audience? – What is the lasting value of this essay and what does it say about life, people, jobs, friendship, etc.? – How does the writer achieve his/her purpose and is he/she successful?
  29. 29. Building Critical Thinking Skills • Inferences – “a reasoned guess about what is not known based on what is known.” – Writers do not always directly state the ideas they intend to communicate about, so you must infer or read between the lines to understand the message.
  30. 30. Building Critical Thinking Skills • Point of View – The perspective from which an author tells a story – Writers generally use the first or third person P.O.V. when writing a narrative.
  31. 31. Building Critical Thinking Skills • Connotative Meaning – The meaning of a word that expresses a feeling or idea that is associated with the word (generally a positive or negative association)
  32. 32. Building Critical Thinking Skills • Symbolism – Use of things, ideas, or words to represent something else. – Analysis of symbols used in writing can allow a reader to better understand the writer’s themes.
  33. 33. Building Critical Thinking Skills • Colloquial Language – A style of conversational and informal writing – Can be very useful in fiction and less formal types of writing in which a character’s use of slang, dialect, or “colorful” language can reveal a lot about his/her thoughts, attitudes, and ideas.
  34. 34. The End • Only the beginning of Narrative Essay Writing