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Define narrative essay with examples

Narrative Definition

Narrative is a report of related events presented to the listeners or readers in words arranged in a logical sequence.

A story is taken as a synonym of narrative. A narrative or story is told by a narrator who may be a direct part of that experience and he or she often shares the experience as a first-person narrator. Sometimes he or she may only observe the events as a third-person narrator and gives his or her verdict.

History of Narration or Storytelling

Storytelling is an essential part of human nature. Man is the only creature that tells stories. Man has been telling stories and listening to them since the time he learnt to speak. The storytelling began with oral traditions and in forms of myths, legends, fables, anecdotes, ballads etc. These were told and retold and were passed down from generation to generation and they show the knowledge and wisdom of early people. The basic theme of the above mentioned forms of stories were fears of natural forces, deeds of heroes, gods and goddesses, and they might be told to learn a lesson from an experience. Biblical stories have the primary purpose of teaching spirituality. Most biblical stories were performed in churches to convey spiritual messages to the masses.

Narrative Examples in Everyday Life

The modern narratives have a broader function. After a close study of famous examples of Modern narrative, one would realize that such narratives do not merely entertain but serve as ways to communicate writers’ moral, cultural and political perspectives. Moreover, narratives have contributed to achieving educational objectives in our everyday life. Different forms of media are enabling people to express and record their real life stories and to share their knowledge and their cultural values across the world. In addition, many documentaries on television adopt a narrative technique to communicate information in an interesting way.

Examples of Narratives in Literature

Example #1

“Animal Farm” by George Orwell is a modern narrative example that aim at extending a writer’s political views. It is a form of narrative known as a political satire. It uses animals on a farm to describe the overthrow of the last of the Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the Communist Revolution of Russia before WW II. The actions of the animals on the farm are used to expose the greed and corruption of the Revolution. It also describes how powerful people can change the ideology of a society.

Example #2

Poetry written in the style of a narrative is known as narrative verse. “Faerie Queen” by Edmund Spenser is an example of such poetry. It narrates the adventures of “The Red-Cross Knight” to help “Lady Una” rescue her parents from the evil “Dagon”. On a symbolic level it narrates the mission of the Holiness is to help the Truth, fight Evil, and thus regain its rightful place in human hearts.

Example #3

Charlotte Macleod’s “The Withdrawing Room” is an example of a thriller or suspense narrative. Augustus Quiffen, a lodger at Sarah’s Brownstone home, is killed by falling under the train. It seems to be an accident until “Mary Smith” tells “Sarah” that it is a murder but she is not sure of the identity of the murderer. “Sarah” and “Max Bittersohn” investigate the matter and find that the killer has planned the death beforehand.

Example #4

“Don Quixote” by Cervantes is a parody of Romance narratives that dealt with the adventures of a valiant knight. Unlike serious Romances, in “Don Quixote” the narrative takes a comical turn. . We laugh at how the Quixote was bestowed a knighthood in his battle with the giants [windmills]. We enjoy how the knight helps the Christian king against the army of a Moorish monarch [herd of sheep]. These and the rest of the incidents of the novel are written in the style of Spanish romances of the 16th century to mock the idealism of knights in the contemporary romances.

Function of Narrative

Storytelling and listening to stories are part of human instincts. Therefore, writers employ narrative techniques in their works to attract readership. The readers are not only entertained but also learn some underlying message from the narratives.

Moreover, a narrative is set in specific cultural contexts. Readers can get a deep insight of that culture and develop an understanding toward it. Thus, narratives can act as a binding force in uniting humanity.

narrative (composition) - ThoughtCo

An essay is a short form of literary composition based on a single subject matter, and often gives personal opinion of an author. A famous English essayist Aldous Huxley defines essays as, “a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything.” Oxford Dictionary describes it as “a short piece of writing on a particular subject.” In simple words, we can define it as a scholarly work in writing that provides the author’s personal argument.

Types of Essay

There are two forms of essays; literary and non-literary. Literary essays are of four types:

  • Expository Essay – In an expository essay, the writers give explanation of an idea, theme or issue to the audience by giving their personal opinions.

Examples of Essay in Literature

Example 1

“As I passed through the gates I heard a squeaky voice. A diminutive middle-aged man came out from behind the trees — the caretaker. He worked a toothbrush-sized stick around in his mouth, digging into the crevices between algae’d stubs of teeth. He was barefoot; he wore a blue batik shirt known as a buba, baggy purple trousers, and an embroidered skullcap. I asked him if he would show me around the shrine. Motioning me to follow, he spat out the results of his stick work and set off down the trail.”

(From “The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo” by Jeffrey Tayler)

This is an example of a descriptive essay, as the author has used descriptive language to paint a dramatic picture for his readers of an encounter with a stranger.

You may observe that amongst all the great and worthy persons…there is not one that hath been transported to the mad degree of love: which shows that great spirits and great business do keep out this weak passion…That he had preferred Helena, quitted the gifts of Juno and Pallas. For whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection quitted both riches and wisdom.”
(Of Love by Francis Bacon)

In this excerpt, Bacon attempts to persuade the readers that people, who want to be successful in this world, they must never fall in love. By giving an example of famous people like Paris, who chose Helen as his beloved but lost his wealth and wisdom, the author attempts to convince the audience that they can lose their mental balance by falling in love.

I am only a small, black kettle but I have much to interest me, for something new happens to me every day. The kitchen is not always a cheerful place in which to live, but still I find plenty of excitement there, and I am quite happy and contented with my lot…”

(The Autobiography of a Kettle by John Russell)

In the following example, the author is telling an autobiography of a kettle and describes the whole story in chronological order. The author has described kettle as a human being, and allows the readers to feel, as he has felt.

Function of Essay

The function of an essay depends upon the subject matter, whether the writer wants to inform, persuade, explain or entertain.

Sometimes he or she may only observe the events as a third-person narrator and gives his or her verdict.

History of Narration or Storytelling

Storytelling is an essential part of human nature. Man is the only creature that tells stories. Man has been telling stories and listening to them since the time he learnt to speak. The storytelling began with oral traditions and in forms of myths, legends, fables, anecdotes, ballads etc. These were told and retold and were passed down from generation to generation and they show the knowledge and wisdom of early people. The basic theme of the above mentioned forms of stories were fears of natural forces, deeds of heroes, gods and goddesses, and they might be told to learn a lesson from an experience. Biblical stories have the primary purpose of teaching spirituality. Most biblical stories were performed in churches to convey spiritual messages to the masses.

Narrative Examples in Everyday Life

The modern narratives have a broader function.

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