Glossary - Narrative essay

is an essay that focuses on a central point and revolves a narrative based on it. The entire meaning of this essay is based on the motif that’s presented in the essay’s narrative. Therefore, each of the essay’s characters will revolve around the central point, as well as the happenings and incidents.

As other types of essays, the narrative essay is also a five-paragraph paper with a pre-determined format. The only difference is that this essay type is in a narrative form and includes incidents, characters, and sometimes even dialogues.

Narrative Essay vs. Short Story

Many mistake the narrative essay with a short story. However, the format of a narrative essay is different from that of a short story. For example, a narrative essay will choose a specific motif prior to the writing part and everything in it will revolve around it. With a short story, there isn’t a specific motif that the author has to choose beforehand, ergo, there isn’t a specific format as there is in the essay.

Moreover, once a reader finishes a short story, he’s left at somewhat of a critical juncture. They have a desire to discover something more, something else. But, the nature of a narrative essay makes it final. A good narrative essay will satisfy the reader fully, not leaving room for him to want for more.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

There are three elements of every narrative essay:

1. Character

Every narrative essay revolves around a character or more characters. In cases where the essay speaks of the author i.e. is autobiographical, the author represents the character, as well as other people included in his story. Characters are a prerequisite of a narrative essay, a part without which the essay can’t really exist.

2. Motif

As we mentioned, the narrative essay must revolved around a central theme or a motif. This is disclosed in the thesis statement, which belongs in the introduction. The thesis statement will also break down the central motive into evidences, which are further elaborated through the use of the characters in the body of the essay.

3. Dialogue

Characters will converse and act, which is best depicted through dialogue. This is a very important element that gives characters a worth in the eyes of the reader and puts them live on paper. Based on the topics and writer’s preferences, dialogue might not be included in the essay. However, seeing how it is one of the most important elements, it comes highly recommended that you use it.

Function of Narrative Essay

Narrative essays have the purpose to describe people and their activities, as well as narrate these people’s stories. The function of a narrative essay is to teach a lesson that revolves around a motif. To do this,  the writer has to determine the motif beforehand and present it to the readers in the introduction.

As soon as the readers become aware of the theme or the motif of the essay, they can go through the narrative and get the intended benefits that the writer has presented to them. The major function and goal of this essay is to provide life lessons and share life experiences, therefore providing readers with an opportunity to learn from the same.

Characteristics of a Narrative Essays

Here are some of the most important characteristics of a narrative essay:

First person

A narrative essay is a personal essay by nature, more personal than most essay types. As such, it requires the use of the first person. Most narrative essays use ‘I’ statements to appeal to the readers in a more personal way.

Vivid descriptions

No, this isn’t a descriptive essay, but a good narrative essay should use the vivid details of a descriptive paper. For the narrative essay to have the intended effect, it has to make it possible for the reader to visualize the story. For this purpose, it needs vivid descriptions and many details concerning the places and the characters.

Narrative essays have their own burden for the writer. They are much different from argumentative or persuasive essay. This essay type is more personal and direct, making it more similar to short stories and descriptive papers.