Have a language expert improve your writing
Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.
- Knowledge Base
- The four main types of essay | Quick guide with examples
The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples
Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.
An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.
Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type.
In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.
Table of contents
Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of essays.
An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.
Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.
The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:
- The introduction provides your topic and thesis statement
- The body presents your evidence and arguments
- The conclusion summarizes your argument and emphasizes its importance
The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.
A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.
Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting
Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:
- Academic style
- Vague sentences
- Style consistency
See an example
An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.
Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.
The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.
A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.
The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.
A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.
Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.
A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.
Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.
Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.
Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.
A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.
The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.
A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.
Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.
A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.
Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.
On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.
My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.
With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…
Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.
A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.
The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.
The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.
The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.
King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.
A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.
Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.
The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.
Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.
If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!
- Ad hominem fallacy
- Post hoc fallacy
- Appeal to authority fallacy
- False cause fallacy
- Sunk cost fallacy
- Choosing Essay Topic
- Write a College Essay
- Write a Diversity Essay
- College Essay Format & Structure
- Comparing and Contrasting in an Essay
- Grammar Checker
- Paraphrasing Tool
- Text Summarizer
- AI Detector
- Plagiarism Checker
- Citation Generator
At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.
Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”
The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.
Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:
- In a literary analysis essay, you might make an argument for a specific interpretation of a text
- In a history essay, you might present an argument for the importance of a particular event
- In a politics essay, you might argue for the validity of a certain political theory
An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.
An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.
The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.
Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2023, July 23). The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 14, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/essay-types/
Is this article helpful?
Other students also liked, how to write an argumentative essay | examples & tips, how to write an expository essay, how to write an essay outline | guidelines & examples, what is your plagiarism score.
Choose Your Test
Sat / act prep online guides and tips, 3 great narrative essay examples + tips for writing.
A narrative essay is one of the most intimidating assignments you can be handed at any level of your education. Where you've previously written argumentative essays that make a point or analytic essays that dissect meaning, a narrative essay asks you to write what is effectively a story .
But unlike a simple work of creative fiction, your narrative essay must have a clear and concrete motif —a recurring theme or idea that you’ll explore throughout. Narrative essays are less rigid, more creative in expression, and therefore pretty different from most other essays you’ll be writing.
But not to fear—in this article, we’ll be covering what a narrative essay is, how to write a good one, and also analyzing some personal narrative essay examples to show you what a great one looks like.
What Is a Narrative Essay?
At first glance, a narrative essay might sound like you’re just writing a story. Like the stories you're used to reading, a narrative essay is generally (but not always) chronological, following a clear throughline from beginning to end. Even if the story jumps around in time, all the details will come back to one specific theme, demonstrated through your choice in motifs.
Unlike many creative stories, however, your narrative essay should be based in fact. That doesn’t mean that every detail needs to be pure and untainted by imagination, but rather that you shouldn’t wholly invent the events of your narrative essay. There’s nothing wrong with inventing a person’s words if you can’t remember them exactly, but you shouldn’t say they said something they weren’t even close to saying.
Another big difference between narrative essays and creative fiction—as well as other kinds of essays—is that narrative essays are based on motifs. A motif is a dominant idea or theme, one that you establish before writing the essay. As you’re crafting the narrative, it’ll feed back into your motif to create a comprehensive picture of whatever that motif is.
For example, say you want to write a narrative essay about how your first day in high school helped you establish your identity. You might discuss events like trying to figure out where to sit in the cafeteria, having to describe yourself in five words as an icebreaker in your math class, or being unsure what to do during your lunch break because it’s no longer acceptable to go outside and play during lunch. All of those ideas feed back into the central motif of establishing your identity.
The important thing to remember is that while a narrative essay is typically told chronologically and intended to read like a story, it is not purely for entertainment value. A narrative essay delivers its theme by deliberately weaving the motifs through the events, scenes, and details. While a narrative essay may be entertaining, its primary purpose is to tell a complete story based on a central meaning.
Unlike other essay forms, it is totally okay—even expected—to use first-person narration in narrative essays. If you’re writing a story about yourself, it’s natural to refer to yourself within the essay. It’s also okay to use other perspectives, such as third- or even second-person, but that should only be done if it better serves your motif. Generally speaking, your narrative essay should be in first-person perspective.
Though your motif choices may feel at times like you’re making a point the way you would in an argumentative essay, a narrative essay’s goal is to tell a story, not convince the reader of anything. Your reader should be able to tell what your motif is from reading, but you don’t have to change their mind about anything. If they don’t understand the point you are making, you should consider strengthening the delivery of the events and descriptions that support your motif.
Narrative essays also share some features with analytical essays, in which you derive meaning from a book, film, or other media. But narrative essays work differently—you’re not trying to draw meaning from an existing text, but rather using an event you’ve experienced to convey meaning. In an analytical essay, you examine narrative, whereas in a narrative essay you create narrative.
The structure of a narrative essay is also a bit different than other essays. You’ll generally be getting your point across chronologically as opposed to grouping together specific arguments in paragraphs or sections. To return to the example of an essay discussing your first day of high school and how it impacted the shaping of your identity, it would be weird to put the events out of order, even if not knowing what to do after lunch feels like a stronger idea than choosing where to sit. Instead of organizing to deliver your information based on maximum impact, you’ll be telling your story as it happened, using concrete details to reinforce your theme.
3 Great Narrative Essay Examples
One of the best ways to learn how to write a narrative essay is to look at a great narrative essay sample. Let’s take a look at some truly stellar narrative essay examples and dive into what exactly makes them work so well.
A Ticket to the Fair by David Foster Wallace
Today is Press Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, and I’m supposed to be at the fairgrounds by 9:00 A.M. to get my credentials. I imagine credentials to be a small white card in the band of a fedora. I’ve never been considered press before. My real interest in credentials is getting into rides and shows for free. I’m fresh in from the East Coast, for an East Coast magazine. Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish. I think they asked me to do this because I grew up here, just a couple hours’ drive from downstate Springfield. I never did go to the state fair, though—I pretty much topped out at the county fair level. Actually, I haven’t been back to Illinois for a long time, and I can’t say I’ve missed it.
Throughout this essay, David Foster Wallace recounts his experience as press at the Illinois State Fair. But it’s clear from this opening that he’s not just reporting on the events exactly as they happened—though that’s also true— but rather making a point about how the East Coast, where he lives and works, thinks about the Midwest.
In his opening paragraph, Wallace states that outright: “Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish.”
Not every motif needs to be stated this clearly , but in an essay as long as Wallace’s, particularly since the audience for such a piece may feel similarly and forget that such a large portion of the country exists, it’s important to make that point clear.
But Wallace doesn’t just rest on introducing his motif and telling the events exactly as they occurred from there. It’s clear that he selects events that remind us of that idea of East Coast cynicism , such as when he realizes that the Help Me Grow tent is standing on top of fake grass that is killing the real grass beneath, when he realizes the hypocrisy of craving a corn dog when faced with a real, suffering pig, when he’s upset for his friend even though he’s not the one being sexually harassed, and when he witnesses another East Coast person doing something he wouldn’t dare to do.
Wallace is literally telling the audience exactly what happened, complete with dates and timestamps for when each event occurred. But he’s also choosing those events with a purpose—he doesn’t focus on details that don’t serve his motif. That’s why he discusses the experiences of people, how the smells are unappealing to him, and how all the people he meets, in cowboy hats, overalls, or “black spandex that looks like cheesecake leotards,” feel almost alien to him.
All of these details feed back into the throughline of East Coast thinking that Wallace introduces in the first paragraph. He also refers back to it in the essay’s final paragraph, stating:
At last, an overarching theory blooms inside my head: megalopolitan East Coasters’ summer treats and breaks and literally ‘getaways,’ flights-from—from crowds, noise, heat, dirt, the stress of too many sensory choices….The East Coast existential treat is escape from confines and stimuli—quiet, rustic vistas that hold still, turn inward, turn away. Not so in the rural Midwest. Here you’re pretty much away all the time….Something in a Midwesterner sort of actuates , deep down, at a public event….The real spectacle that draws us here is us.
Throughout this journey, Wallace has tried to demonstrate how the East Coast thinks about the Midwest, ultimately concluding that they are captivated by the Midwest’s less stimuli-filled life, but that the real reason they are interested in events like the Illinois State Fair is that they are, in some ways, a means of looking at the East Coast in a new, estranging way.
The reason this works so well is that Wallace has carefully chosen his examples, outlined his motif and themes in the first paragraph, and eventually circled back to the original motif with a clearer understanding of his original point.
When outlining your own narrative essay, try to do the same. Start with a theme, build upon it with examples, and return to it in the end with an even deeper understanding of the original issue. You don’t need this much space to explore a theme, either—as we’ll see in the next example, a strong narrative essay can also be very short.
Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf
After a time, tired by his dancing apparently, he settled on the window ledge in the sun, and, the queer spectacle being at an end, I forgot about him. Then, looking up, my eye was caught by him. He was trying to resume his dancing, but seemed either so stiff or so awkward that he could only flutter to the bottom of the window-pane; and when he tried to fly across it he failed. Being intent on other matters I watched these futile attempts for a time without thinking, unconsciously waiting for him to resume his flight, as one waits for a machine, that has stopped momentarily, to start again without considering the reason of its failure. After perhaps a seventh attempt he slipped from the wooden ledge and fell, fluttering his wings, on to his back on the window sill. The helplessness of his attitude roused me. It flashed upon me that he was in difficulties; he could no longer raise himself; his legs struggled vainly. But, as I stretched out a pencil, meaning to help him to right himself, it came over me that the failure and awkwardness were the approach of death. I laid the pencil down again.
In this essay, Virginia Woolf explains her encounter with a dying moth. On surface level, this essay is just a recounting of an afternoon in which she watched a moth die—it’s even established in the title. But there’s more to it than that. Though Woolf does not begin her essay with as clear a motif as Wallace, it’s not hard to pick out the evidence she uses to support her point, which is that the experience of this moth is also the human experience.
In the title, Woolf tells us this essay is about death. But in the first paragraph, she seems to mostly be discussing life—the moth is “content with life,” people are working in the fields, and birds are flying. However, she mentions that it is mid-September and that the fields were being plowed. It’s autumn and it’s time for the harvest; the time of year in which many things die.
In this short essay, she chronicles the experience of watching a moth seemingly embody life, then die. Though this essay is literally about a moth, it’s also about a whole lot more than that. After all, moths aren’t the only things that die—Woolf is also reflecting on her own mortality, as well as the mortality of everything around her.
At its core, the essay discusses the push and pull of life and death, not in a way that’s necessarily sad, but in a way that is accepting of both. Woolf begins by setting up the transitional fall season, often associated with things coming to an end, and raises the ideas of pleasure, vitality, and pity.
At one point, Woolf tries to help the dying moth, but reconsiders, as it would interfere with the natural order of the world. The moth’s death is part of the natural order of the world, just like fall, just like her own eventual death.
All these themes are set up in the beginning and explored throughout the essay’s narrative. Though Woolf doesn’t directly state her theme, she reinforces it by choosing a small, isolated event—watching a moth die—and illustrating her point through details.
With this essay, we can see that you don’t need a big, weird, exciting event to discuss an important meaning. Woolf is able to explore complicated ideas in a short essay by being deliberate about what details she includes, just as you can be in your own essays.
Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
On the twenty-ninth of July, in 1943, my father died. On the same day, a few hours later, his last child was born. Over a month before this, while all our energies were concentrated in waiting for these events, there had been, in Detroit, one of the bloodiest race riots of the century. A few hours after my father’s funeral, while he lay in state in the undertaker’s chapel, a race riot broke out in Harlem. On the morning of the third of August, we drove my father to the graveyard through a wilderness of smashed plate glass.
Like Woolf, Baldwin does not lay out his themes in concrete terms—unlike Wallace, there’s no clear sentence that explains what he’ll be talking about. However, you can see the motifs quite clearly: death, fatherhood, struggle, and race.
Throughout the narrative essay, Baldwin discusses the circumstances of his father’s death, including his complicated relationship with his father. By introducing those motifs in the first paragraph, the reader understands that everything discussed in the essay will come back to those core ideas. When Baldwin talks about his experience with a white teacher taking an interest in him and his father’s resistance to that, he is also talking about race and his father’s death. When he talks about his father’s death, he is also talking about his views on race. When he talks about his encounters with segregation and racism, he is talking, in part, about his father.
Because his father was a hard, uncompromising man, Baldwin struggles to reconcile the knowledge that his father was right about many things with his desire to not let that hardness consume him, as well.
Baldwin doesn’t explicitly state any of this, but his writing so often touches on the same motifs that it becomes clear he wants us to think about all these ideas in conversation with one another.
At the end of the essay, Baldwin makes it more clear:
This fight begins, however, in the heart and it had now been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair. This intimation made my heart heavy and, now that my father was irrecoverable, I wished that he had been beside me so that I could have searched his face for the answers which only the future would give me now.
Here, Baldwin ties together the themes and motifs into one clear statement: that he must continue to fight and recognize injustice, especially racial injustice, just as his father did. But unlike his father, he must do it beginning with himself—he must not let himself be closed off to the world as his father was. And yet, he still wishes he had his father for guidance, even as he establishes that he hopes to be a different man than his father.
In this essay, Baldwin loads the front of the essay with his motifs, and, through his narrative, weaves them together into a theme. In the end, he comes to a conclusion that connects all of those things together and leaves the reader with a lasting impression of completion—though the elements may have been initially disparate, in the end everything makes sense.
You can replicate this tactic of introducing seemingly unattached ideas and weaving them together in your own essays. By introducing those motifs, developing them throughout, and bringing them together in the end, you can demonstrate to your reader how all of them are related. However, it’s especially important to be sure that your motifs and clear and consistent throughout your essay so that the conclusion feels earned and consistent—if not, readers may feel mislead.
5 Key Tips for Writing Narrative Essays
Narrative essays can be a lot of fun to write since they’re so heavily based on creativity. But that can also feel intimidating—sometimes it’s easier to have strict guidelines than to have to make it all up yourself. Here are a few tips to keep your narrative essay feeling strong and fresh.
Develop Strong Motifs
Motifs are the foundation of a narrative essay . What are you trying to say? How can you say that using specific symbols or events? Those are your motifs.
In the same way that an argumentative essay’s body should support its thesis, the body of your narrative essay should include motifs that support your theme.
Try to avoid cliches, as these will feel tired to your readers. Instead of roses to symbolize love, try succulents. Instead of the ocean representing some vast, unknowable truth, try the depths of your brother’s bedroom. Keep your language and motifs fresh and your essay will be even stronger!
Use First-Person Perspective
In many essays, you’re expected to remove yourself so that your points stand on their own. Not so in a narrative essay—in this case, you want to make use of your own perspective.
Sometimes a different perspective can make your point even stronger. If you want someone to identify with your point of view, it may be tempting to choose a second-person perspective. However, be sure you really understand the function of second-person; it’s very easy to put a reader off if the narration isn’t expertly deployed.
If you want a little bit of distance, third-person perspective may be okay. But be careful—too much distance and your reader may feel like the narrative lacks truth.
That’s why first-person perspective is the standard. It keeps you, the writer, close to the narrative, reminding the reader that it really happened. And because you really know what happened and how, you’re free to inject your own opinion into the story without it detracting from your point, as it would in a different type of essay.
Stick to the Truth
Your essay should be true. However, this is a creative essay, and it’s okay to embellish a little. Rarely in life do we experience anything with a clear, concrete meaning the way somebody in a book might. If you flub the details a little, it’s okay—just don’t make them up entirely.
Also, nobody expects you to perfectly recall details that may have happened years ago. You may have to reconstruct dialog from your memory and your imagination. That’s okay, again, as long as you aren’t making it up entirely and assigning made-up statements to somebody.
Dialog is a powerful tool. A good conversation can add flavor and interest to a story, as we saw demonstrated in David Foster Wallace’s essay. As previously mentioned, it’s okay to flub it a little, especially because you’re likely writing about an experience you had without knowing that you’d be writing about it later.
However, don’t rely too much on it. Your narrative essay shouldn’t be told through people explaining things to one another; the motif comes through in the details. Dialog can be one of those details, but it shouldn’t be the only one.
Use Sensory Descriptions
Because a narrative essay is a story, you can use sensory details to make your writing more interesting. If you’re describing a particular experience, you can go into detail about things like taste, smell, and hearing in a way that you probably wouldn’t do in any other essay style.
These details can tie into your overall motifs and further your point. Woolf describes in great detail what she sees while watching the moth, giving us the sense that we, too, are watching the moth. In Wallace’s essay, he discusses the sights, sounds, and smells of the Illinois State Fair to help emphasize his point about its strangeness. And in Baldwin’s essay, he describes shattered glass as a “wilderness,” and uses the feelings of his body to describe his mental state.
All these descriptions anchor us not only in the story, but in the motifs and themes as well. One of the tools of a writer is making the reader feel as you felt, and sensory details help you achieve that.
Looking to brush up on your essay-writing capabilities before the ACT? This guide to ACT English will walk you through some of the best strategies and practice questions to get you prepared!
Part of practicing for the ACT is ensuring your word choice and diction are on point. Check out this guide to some of the most common errors on the ACT English section to be sure that you're not making these common mistakes!
A solid understanding of English principles will help you make an effective point in a narrative essay, and you can get that understanding through taking a rigorous assortment of high school English classes !
Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!
Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.
Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.
Student and Parent Forum
Our new student and parent forum, at ExpertHub.PrepScholar.com , allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.
Ask a Question Below
Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!
Improve With Our Famous Guides
- For All Students
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 160+ SAT Points
How to Get a Perfect 1600, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 800 on Each SAT Section:
Score 800 on SAT Math
Score 800 on SAT Reading
Score 800 on SAT Writing
Series: How to Get to 600 on Each SAT Section:
Score 600 on SAT Math
Score 600 on SAT Reading
Score 600 on SAT Writing
Free Complete Official SAT Practice Tests
What SAT Target Score Should You Be Aiming For?
15 Strategies to Improve Your SAT Essay
The 5 Strategies You Must Be Using to Improve 4+ ACT Points
How to Get a Perfect 36 ACT, by a Perfect Scorer
Series: How to Get 36 on Each ACT Section:
36 on ACT English
36 on ACT Math
36 on ACT Reading
36 on ACT Science
Series: How to Get to 24 on Each ACT Section:
24 on ACT English
24 on ACT Math
24 on ACT Reading
24 on ACT Science
What ACT target score should you be aiming for?
ACT Vocabulary You Must Know
ACT Writing: 15 Tips to Raise Your Essay Score
How to Get Into Harvard and the Ivy League
How to Get a Perfect 4.0 GPA
How to Write an Amazing College Essay
What Exactly Are Colleges Looking For?
Is the ACT easier than the SAT? A Comprehensive Guide
Should you retake your SAT or ACT?
When should you take the SAT or ACT?
Get the latest articles and test prep tips!
Looking for Graduate School Test Prep?
Check out our top-rated graduate blogs here:
GRE Online Prep Blog
GMAT Online Prep Blog
TOEFL Online Prep Blog
Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”
Detailed Guide on How to Write a Narrative Essay with Tips
Defining What Is a Narrative Essay
We can explain a narrative essay definition as a piece of writing that tells a story. It's like a window into someone's life or a page torn from a diary. Similarly to a descriptive essay, a narrative essay tells a story, rather than make a claim and use evidence. It can be about anything – a personal experience, a childhood memory, a moment of triumph or defeat – as long as it's told in a way that captures the reader's imagination.
You might ask - 'which sentence most likely comes from a narrative essay?'. Let's take this for example: 'I could hear the waves crashing against the shore, their rhythm a soothing lullaby that carried me off to sleep.' You could even use such an opening for your essay when wondering how to start a narrative essay.
To further define a narrative essay, consider it storytelling with a purpose. The purpose of a narrative essay is not just to entertain but also to convey a message or lesson in first person. It's a way to share your experiences and insights with others and connect with your audience. Whether you're writing about your first love, a harrowing adventure, or a life-changing moment, your goal is to take the reader on a journey that will leave them feeling moved, inspired, or enlightened.
So if you're looking for a way to express yourself creatively and connect with others through your writing, try your hand at a narrative essay. Who knows – you might just discover a hidden talent for storytelling that you never knew you had!
Meanwhile, let's delve into the article to better understand this type of paper through our narrative essay examples, topic ideas, and tips on constructing a perfect essay.
Types of Narrative Essays
If you were wondering, 'what is a personal narrative essay?', know that narrative essays come in different forms, each with a unique structure and purpose. Regardless of the type of narrative essay, each aims to transport the reader to a different time and place and to create an emotional connection between the reader and the author's experiences. So, let's discuss each type in more detail:
- A personal narrative essay is based on one's unique experience or event. Personal narrative essay examples include a story about overcoming a fear or obstacle or reflecting on a particularly meaningful moment in one's life.
- A fictional narrative is a made-up story that still follows the basic elements of storytelling. Fictional narratives can take many forms, from science fiction to romance to historical fiction.
- A memoir is similar to personal narratives but focuses on a specific period or theme in a person's life. Memoirs might be centered around a particular relationship, a struggle with addiction, or a cultural identity. If you wish to describe your life in greater depth, you might look at how to write an autobiography .
- A literacy narrative essay explores the writer's experiences with literacy and how it has influenced their life. The essay typically tells a personal story about a significant moment or series of moments that impacted the writer's relationship with reading, writing, or communication.
You might also be interested in discovering 'HOW TO WRITE AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY'
Pros and Cons of Narrative Writing
Writing a narrative essay can be a powerful tool for self-expression and creative storytelling, but like any form of writing, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Let's explore the pros and cons of narrative writing in more detail, helping you to decide whether it's the right writing style for your needs.
- It can be a powerful way to convey personal experiences and emotions.
- Allows for creative expression and unique voice
- Engages the reader through storytelling and vivid details
- It can be used to teach a lesson or convey a message.
- Offers an opportunity for self-reflection and growth
- It can be challenging to balance personal storytelling with the needs of the reader
- It may not be as effective for conveying factual information or arguments
- It may require vulnerability and sharing personal details that some writers may find uncomfortable
- It can be subjective, as the reader's interpretation of the narrative may vary
If sharing your personal stories is not your cup of tea, you can buy essays online from our expert writers, who will customize the paper to your particular writing style and tone.
20 Excellent Narrative Essay Topics and How to Choose One
Choosing a good topic among many narrative essay ideas can be challenging, but some tips can help you make the right choice. Here are some original and helpful tips on how to choose a good narrative essay topic:
- Consider your own experiences: One of the best sources of inspiration for a narrative essay is your own life experiences. Consider moments that have had a significant impact on you, whether they are positive or negative. For example, you could write about a memorable trip or a challenging experience you overcame.
- Choose a topic relevant to your audience: Consider your audience and their interests when choosing a narrative essay topic. If you're writing for a class, consider what topics might be relevant to the course material. If you're writing for a broader audience, consider what topics might be interesting or informative to them.
- Find inspiration in literature: Literature can be a great source of inspiration for a narrative essay. Consider the books or stories that have had an impact on you, and think about how you can incorporate elements of them into your own narrative. For example, you could start by using a title for narrative essay inspired by the themes of a favorite novel or short story.
- Focus on a specific moment or event: Most narrative essays tell a story, so it's important to focus on a specific moment or event. For example, you could write a short narrative essay about a conversation you had with a friend or a moment of realization while traveling.
- Experiment with different perspectives: Consider writing from different perspectives to add depth and complexity to your narrative. For example, you could write about the same event from multiple perspectives or explore the thoughts and feelings of a secondary character.
- Use writing prompts: Writing prompts can be a great source of inspiration if you struggle to develop a topic. Consider using a prompt related to a specific theme, such as love, loss, or growth.
- Choose a topic with rich sensory details: A good narrative essay should engage the senses and create a vivid picture in the reader's mind. Choose a topic with rich sensory details that you can use to create a vivid description. For example, you could write about a bustling city's sights, sounds, and smells.
- Choose a topic meaningful to you: Ultimately, the best narrative essays are meaningful to the writer. Choose a topic that resonates with you and that you feel passionate about. For example, you could write about a personal goal you achieved or a struggle you overcame.
Here are some good narrative essay topics for inspiration from our experts:
- A life-changing event that altered your perspective on the world
- The story of a personal accomplishment or achievement
- An experience that tested your resilience and strength
- A time when you faced a difficult decision and how you handled it
- A childhood memory that still holds meaning for you
- The impact of a significant person in your life
- A travel experience that taught you something new
- A story about a mistake or failure that ultimately led to growth and learning
- The first day of a new job or school
- The story of a family tradition or ritual that is meaningful to you
- A time when you had to confront a fear or phobia
- A memorable concert or music festival experience
- An experience that taught you the importance of communication or listening
- A story about a time when you had to stand up for what you believed in
- A time when you had to persevere through a challenging task or project
- A story about a significant cultural or societal event that impacted your life
- The impact of a book, movie, or other work of art on your life
- A time when you had to let go of something or someone important to you
- A memorable encounter with a stranger that left an impression on you
- The story of a personal hobby or interest that has enriched your life
Narrative Format and Structure
The narrative essay format and structure are essential elements of any good story. A well-structured narrative can engage readers, evoke emotions, and create lasting memories. Whether you're writing a personal essay or a work of fiction, the following guidelines on how to write a narrative essay can help you create a compelling paper:
- Introduction : The introduction sets the scene for your story and introduces your main characters and setting. It should also provide a hook to capture your reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. When unsure how to begin a narrative essay, describe the setting vividly or an intriguing question that draws the reader in.
- Plot : The plot is the sequence of events that make up your story. It should have a clear beginning, middle, and end, with each part building on the previous one. The plot should also have a clear conflict or problem the protagonist must overcome.
- Characters : Characters are the people who drive the story. They should be well-developed and have distinct personalities and motivations. The protagonist should have a clear goal or desire, and the antagonist should provide a challenge or obstacle to overcome.
- Setting : The setting is the time and place the story takes place. It should be well-described and help to create a mood or atmosphere that supports the story's themes.
- Dialogue : Dialogue is the conversation between characters. It should be realistic and help to reveal the characters' personalities and motivations. It can also help to move the plot forward.
- Climax : The climax is the highest tension or conflict point in the story. It should be the turning point that leads to resolving the conflict.
- Resolution : The resolution is the end of the story. It should provide a satisfying conclusion to the conflict and tie up any loose ends.
Following these guidelines, you can create a narrative essay structure that engages readers and leaves a lasting impression. Remember, a well-structured story can take readers on a journey and make them feel part of the action.
Want to Be Like an Expert Writer?
Order now and let our narrative essay service turn your experiences into a captivating and unforgettable tale
Narrative Essay Outline
Here is a detailed narrative essay outline from our custom term paper writing :
A. Hook: Start with an attention-grabbing statement, question, or anecdote that introduces the topic and draws the reader in. Example: 'The sun beat down on my skin as I stepped onto the stage, my heart pounding with nervous excitement.'
B. Background information: Provide context for the story, such as the setting or the characters involved. Example: 'I had been preparing for this moment for weeks, rehearsing my lines and perfecting my performance for the school play.'
C. Thesis statement: State the essay's main point and preview the events to come. Example: 'This experience taught me that taking risks and stepping outside my comfort zone can lead to unexpected rewards and personal growth.'
A. First event: Describe the first event in the story, including details about the setting, characters, and actions. Example: 'As I delivered my first lines on stage, I felt a rush of adrenaline and a sense of pride in my hard work paying off.'
B. Second event: Describe the second event in the story, including how it builds on the first event and moves the story forward. Example: 'As the play progressed, I became more comfortable in my role and connecting with the other actors on stage.'
C. Turning point: Describe the turning point in the story, when something unexpected or significant changes the course of events. Example: 'In the final act, my character faced a difficult decision that required me to improvise and trust my instincts.'
D. Climax: Describe the story's climax, the highest tension or conflict point. Example: 'As the play reached its climax, I delivered my final lines with confidence and emotion, feeling a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.'
A. Restate thesis: Summarize the essay's main point and how the events in the story support it. Example: 'Through this experience, I learned that taking risks and pushing past my comfort zone can lead to personal growth and unexpected rewards.'
B. Reflection: Reflect on the significance of the experience and what you learned from it. Example: 'Looking back, I realize that this experience not only taught me about acting and performance but also about the power of perseverance and self-belief.'
C. Call to action: if you're still wondering how to write an essay conclusion , consider ending it with a call to action or final thought that leaves the reader with something to consider or act on. Example: 'I encourage everyone to take risks and embrace new challenges because you never know what kind of amazing experiences and growth they may lead to.
You might also be interested in getting detailed info on 'HOW TO WRITE AN ESSAY CONCLUSION'
Narrative Essay Examples
Are you looking for inspiration for your next narrative essay? Look no further than our narrative essay example. Through vivid storytelling and personal reflections, this essay takes the reader on a journey of discovery and leaves them with a powerful lesson about the importance of compassion and empathy. Use this sample from our expert essay writer as a guide for crafting your own narrative essay, and let your unique voice and experiences shine through.
Narrative Essay Example for College
College professors search for the following qualities in their students:
- the ability to adapt to different situations,
- the ability to solve problems creatively,
- and the ability to learn from mistakes.
Your work must demonstrate these qualities, regardless of whether your narrative paper is a college application essay or a class assignment. Additionally, you want to demonstrate your character and creativity. Describe a situation where you have encountered a problem, tell the story of how you came up with a unique approach to solving it, and connect it to your field of interest. The narrative can be exciting and informative if you present it in such fashion.
Narrative Essay Example for High School
High school is all about showing that you can make mature choices. You accept the consequences of your actions and retrieve valuable life lessons. Think of an event in which you believe your actions were exemplary and made an adult choice. A personal narrative essay example will showcase the best of your abilities. Finally, use other sources to help you get the best results possible. Try searching for a sample narrative essay to see how others have approached it.
So now that you know what is a narrative essay you might want to produce high-quality paper. For that let our team of experienced writers help. Our research paper writing service offers a range of professional writing services that cater to your unique needs and requirements, from narrative essays to research papers, also offering dissertation help and more.
With our flexible pricing options and fast turnaround times, you can trust that you'll receive great value for your investment. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you succeed in your academic writing journey.
Unlock Your Potential with Our Essays!
Order now and take the first step towards achieving your academic goals
What is a Narrative Essay — Examples, Format & Techniques
I was in the Amazon jungle the first time I wrote a narrative essay, enlightened and enraptured by the influence of ayahuasca. That’s not true. I’ve never been to South America nor have I ever taken ayahuasca. The purpose of that opening is to show how to craft a narrative essay intro — hook, line, and sinker. Narrative essays rely on hooking the reader, and enticing them to read on. But what is a narrative essay? We’re going to break down everything you need to know about these essays — definition, examples, tips and tricks included. By the end, you’ll be ready to craft your own narrative essay for school or for publication.
What’s a Narrative Essay?
First, let’s define narrative essay.
Narrative essays share a lot of similarities with personal essays, but whereas the former can be fictional or non-fictional, the latter are strictly non-fictional. The goal of the narrative essay is to use established storytelling techniques, like theme , conflict , and irony , in a uniquely personal way.
The responsibility of the narrative essayist is to make the reader feel connected to their story, regardless of the topic. This next video explores how writers can use structural elements and techniques to better engage their readers.
Personal Narrative Essay Examples With Essay Pro
Narrative essays rely on tried and true structure components, including:
- First-person POV
- Personal inspiration
- Focus on a central theme
By keeping these major tenets in mind, you’ll be better prepared to recognize weaknesses and strengths in your own works.
NARRATIVE ESSAY DEFINITION
What is a narrative essay.
A narrative essay is a prose-written story that’s focused on the commentary of a central theme. Narrative essays are generally written in the first-person POV, and are usually about a topic that’s personal to the writer. Everything in these essays should take place in an established timeline, with a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Famous Narrative Essay Examples
- Ticker to the Fair by David Foster Wallace
- After Life by Joan Didion
- Here is a Lesson in Creative Writing by Kurt Vonnegut
Narrative Writing Explained
How to start a narrative essay.
When you go to sleep at night, what do you think of? Flying squirrels? Lost loved ones? That time you called your teacher ‘mom’? Whatever it is, that’s what you need to write about. There’s a reason those ideas and moments have stuck with you over time. Your job is to figure out why.
Once you realize what makes a moment important to you, it’s your job to make it important to the reader too. In this next video, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker J. Christian Jensen explains the power of the personal narrative.
Narrative Writing and the Personal Narrative Essay • Video by TEDx Talks
Anything and everything can be the topic of your essay. It could be as benign as a walk to school or as grandiose as a trip to the moon — so long as that narrative exists within reality. Give your thoughts and opinions on the matter too — don’t be afraid to say “this is what I think” so long as it’s supported by storytelling techniques. Remember, never limit yourself as a writer, just keep in mind that certain topics will be harder to make engaging than others.
Narrative Essay Outline
How to write a narrative essay.
First step, game plan. You’re going to want to map out the story from beginning to end, then mark major story beats in your document.
Like all stories, your narrative essay needs a clear beginning, middle, and end. Each section should generally conform to a specifically outlined structure. For reference, check out the outline below.
Narrative Essay Format • How to Write a Narrative Essay Step by Step
Make sure to reference back to this outline throughout the writing process to make sure you have all your major beats covered.
Purpose of narrative essay writing
Narrative essays give writers the ability to freely express themselves within the structure of a traditional story. Nearly all universities ask applicants to submit a narrative essay with their formal application. This is done for two reasons: they allow institutions to judge the linguistic and grammar capabilities of its applicants, as well as their raw creative side.
If you’re considering studying creative writing in an undergraduate or graduate program, then you’re going to write A LOT of narrative style essays. This process may seem indomitable; How am I supposed to write hundreds of pages about… me? But by the end, you’ll be a better writer and you’ll have a better understanding of yourself.
One thing that all successful essayists have in common is that they make radical, often defiant statements on the world at large. Think Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf, and Langston Hughes for example.
Being a professional essayist isn’t easy, and it’s near-impossible to be one who makes a lot of money. Many essayists work as professors, editors, and curriculum designers as well.
This next video features the late, award-winning essayist Brian Doyle. He explains all the things you need to hear when thinking about writing a story.
Narrative Essay Examples “Lecture” via Boston University
We can learn a lot from the way Doyle “opens” his stories. My favorite is how he begins with the statement, “I met the Dalai Lama once.” How can we not be interested in learning more?
This brings us all the way back to the beginning. Start with a hook, rattle off the line, then reel in the sinker. If you entice the reader, develop a personal plot, and finish with a resolute ending, you’ll have a lot of success in essay writing.
Adapting a true story.
A narrative essay is often rooted in real-events, then extrapolated upon with fictional elements. Many of the challenges presented with narrative essays also exist with adapting a true story. In this next article, we look at how pro-writers like Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Kaufmann, and the Safdie Brothers adapt true stories with renewed creative license.
Up Next: Writing fiction based on real events →
Write and produce your scripts all in one place..
Write and collaborate on your scripts FREE . Create script breakdowns, sides, schedules, storyboards, call sheets and more.
- Pricing & Plans
- Product Updates
- Featured On
- StudioBinder Partners
- The Ultimate Guide to Call Sheets (with FREE Call Sheet Template)
- How to Break Down a Script (with FREE Script Breakdown Sheet)
- The Only Shot List Template You Need — with Free Download
- Managing Your Film Budget Cashflow & PO Log (Free Template)
- A Better Film Crew List Template Booking Sheet
- Best Storyboard Softwares (with free Storyboard Templates)
- Movie Magic Scheduling
- Gorilla Software
- Storyboard That
A visual medium requires visual methods. Master the art of visual storytelling with our FREE video series on directing and filmmaking techniques.
We’re in a golden age of TV writing and development. More and more people are flocking to the small screen to find daily entertainment. So how can you break put from the pack and get your idea onto the small screen? We’re here to help.
- Making It: From Pre-Production to Screen
- What is Film Financing — How to Get Funding for a Movie
- Anaphora Examples — Literature, Film, Music, Poetry & More
- What is Pre-Lap in a Screenplay — Function & Format
- How to Make a Call Sheet in StudioBinder — Step by Step
- What is a Location Manager in Film — Role Explained
- 1 Pinterest
Best Descriptive Narrative Essay Examples For College Students
Table of Contents
What makes writing potent? The simple fact is that it can make both real and fictional things come out alive on a piece of paper. Before the development of modern language and syntax, language and writing existed and helped people connect and served as the main driver to reach, conquer, or explore.
Much of the writing started with a real subject against it, but the examples can be anything and everything. In academic institutions, essay writing is a dominant driver for teachers to teach and gauge the academic prowess of the students based on their written expression.
Descriptive Essay Writing
Essays come in different shapes, sizes, and forms. Among them, one of the most important and widely used in schools and colleges is descriptive writing. In a nutshell, a descriptive essay is a subjective account of a person, a thing, a place, or an event, based heavily on sensory details and figurative language. The purpose of writing a descriptive narrative essay is to paint a picture for the readers so that they can understand the subject without laying their eyes on it.
Descriptive writing relies heavily on literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and so on to supplement the details. Many confuse a descriptive essay with a description which is a highly concentrated sentence or paragraph “describing” the subject under consideration.
Writing A Descriptive Essay
Figurative language is the heart and soul of descriptive writing. There is no other tool or way that writers can rely on while describing something else. It adds depth to the prose and makes the readers see or feel the subject that is being described on a piece of paper. For instance, there is information in “the night was cold” but there is no description in it. Whereas, writing “even nocturnal animals were seeking cover” lends the necessary descriptive cover.
Human beings are endowed with five senses, that are sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. We depend on them to distinguish between things and make decisions based on sensory information received through them. While writing a descriptive essay, writers should rely on this stimulus to evoke images and scenes in the minds of the readers. Students can also consult examples from literature where writers even create fictional worlds and characters out of their imagination, merely depending on rich descriptions.
No matter what you call a rose, it will never lose its sweet fragrance. This adage is true for the real world scenario but when it comes to written description, a rose should be rose and described as such. To create authentic images in the minds of the readers, writers should employ pertinent words and phrases to provide context for the situation. We have seen many good topics being slain by the mediocre usage of vocabulary so this aspect should be kept in mind.
Descriptive Essay Vs. Narrative Essay
As two of the most relied upon essay types in academia, descriptive essays and narrative essays give a tough time to the students. Due to their lack of knowledge and skills of the language and structure, they struggle with both and seek examples.
So before moving forward, simple discrimination between the two is in order.
- A narrative essay is a personal account of an experience or an incident in the life of a writer that changed his perspective and the series of events coming after it. It has elements like characters, plot, theme, setting, and so on.
- A descriptive essay, however, could be a detail-rich account of the said incident or the person behind that incident, or the place where that incident took place. It relies on sensory details and figurative language to bridge the gap for students.
Top 4 Descriptive Essay Writing Examples
These examples we will go through in our descriptive essays are based on four major categories of descriptive essays. Since students have a hard time understanding the nuances of each, especially how to mold the narrative and get sensory details and expressions to work, this section is a goldmine for all.
Describing A Person
In every descriptive essay pursuit, this is one of the most common ones. Describing a person in an essay requires a cohesion of both his personality and his conduct with others. For instance, if you are tasked to write an essay to describe the person you envied, you need to set the premise by telling your side of the story, who you are, and what you long for. Then you can connect the narrative with the person that you envy, the qualities he possesses, as well as the success he is having because of who he is. Often, students make the mistake of showing flat two-dimensional characters which can be problematic.
Describing A Place
We all go see new places often and depending on the relation to our visit there, we connect with them and either long to revisit them or play for the chance to avoid them. While writing a descriptive essay on a place, fictional or otherwise, it is necessary to showcase what it stands for. A wilderness can be a symbol of peace and tranquility or it can be a haven for monsters lurking in the shadows. Even when the physical traits of the wilderness do not change, the perception and feeling did. Novice writers should aim for that and anything less should be improved upon.
Describing A Thing
Just like a person or a place, a thing can stand for much more than what it is composed of. When students need to choose a topic, they need to come up with a hinge to connect the narrative with the description. For instance, if you have planned to write about a thing you consider to be lucky for you, it is necessary to describe what it is and how it reinforced the idea of being lucky at key events of life. Many players consider different things lucky for them and these superstitions are also carried by the general populace. The idea here should be to catch the essence and connect readers with it.
Describing An Event/ Experience
This is something that can be as objective or subjective as possible, depending on the angle of the writer. Mostly, descriptive essays are written on persons or places, but events and experiences can be great topics to cover in an essay. Again, in this case, students need to find cohesive details and bridge what is physical or real with what is metaphysical or felt during that event or experience. Another narrative expects from this example is how it changed the future course of events for the writers. Keep in mind that a person attending an event cannot capture every detail. Similarly, experiences are remembered for what they stand for.
Excellent Descriptive Essay Topics In 2022
In this section, we will go through a handful of topics from all major categories, so that writers can visualize how they can take examples and apply them to different categories and genres.
So, let’s get started:
- My favorite place in my hometown
- The house I spent my childhood in
- My idea of a perfect vacation
- My dream apartment in downtown NY
- A visit to a nostalgia shop
- Things I see from my bedroom window
- Visiting a cafe with my love
- My mother – is the most creative person
- My father is a genius
- The best singer and actor in my family
- The first athlete I liked in my childhood
- The writer of the essay
- An interesting stranger in the neighborhood
- Why I love my girlfriend
- The idea of a perfect date
- The time I visited a foreign country
- Spending time with grandparents on a farm
- The best birthday bash I was invited to
- The scariest moment of my life
- A lucky thing I have
- The anti-stress balls to play with
- My first car was a beautiful beast
- My favorite food
- What I always keep in my pocket
- The must-have applications on my smartphone
- The way I unwind after a hectic fishing trip
FAQs on Essay Writers
How do you write a descriptive essay.
Writing a descriptive essay requires a subject that you want to explain or describe to the readers. This is the first step. In the next step, you need to come up with the theme that you want to incorporate in every major section of the essay. In the end, it is topped off with concluding remarks where the theme and key takeaways from the essay are mentioned.
What are the major steps in writing a descriptive essay?
Here is a simple content flow to write a descriptive essay:
- Choosing a specific topic
- Researching and gathering the necessary information
- Creating an outline
- Writing the first draft
- Proofreading and editing
- Finalizing the essay
What is the role of literary devices in a descriptive essay?
It would not be an overstatement to say that descriptive essays are incomplete without literary devices. The job of the writer is to help readers see what is only possible through comparisons, analogies, parallels, and more which are all part of the literary devices. So, this is the bread and butter for a writer who is trying to write a descriptive essay.
Can you provide rich context without relying on sensory details?
Sensory details are the input that we receive through sensory organs, such as ears, eyes, nose, tongue, and skin. These details can reveal the true or near-to-life character of the subject under consideration and make them “see” and “feel” it. Without sensory details, it is hard to think about the rich context in a descriptive essay.
What is the ideal word count for a descriptive essay?
The ideal word count for a descriptive essay is hard to determine. Novice writers who are just trying their hands on the craft should aim for five paragraphs. One is to introduce the subject and set the stage. The next three should be of the main body to explain and cover the bulk of the essay. In the end, one should be to conclude the description with the highlighted theme and parallels.
What is the difference between explanatory and descriptive sentences?
Although it has some subjective character, especially compared to an argumentative essay, a descriptive essay is much based on how a writer wants to portray an image of the subject under consideration. Depending on the inclinations, a theme and a thesis statement can be formed to provide a wide context to the essay.
An example is a great way to learn a craft or a vocation. When it comes to writing descriptive essays , students can learn a lot by deeply studying examples from masters of the craft. In this post, we have shared four distinct examples of descriptive essays that writers can rely on so that they can become better and faster at churning out descriptions. In addition to this, we have also shared some topics that can either serve as the practice field for the students or they can pick one of them to write descriptive essays for schools or colleges.
So, the best thing to do now is to connect the dots for the object and start adding sensory details and figurative language to it.
Free Features For You
How To Write A Short Essay Read More »
How To Write a Informative Essay Read More »
How Many Words is a Perfect Essay? Read More »
Want to create or adapt books like this? Learn more about how Pressbooks supports open publishing practices.
37 Student Narrative Essay Examples
The pot calling the kettle black….
“You aren’t acting normal,” my dad said with a dopy, concerned look on his face. He was a hard-working, soft and loving man. He was smaller than my mother, physically and figuratively. She sat beside him. She had a towering stature, with strong, swimmers’ shoulders, but she was hunched often. She didn’t really have eyebrows, but she didn’t need them. She had no problem conveying emotion on her face, especially negative ones.
“What’s wrong?” my mother asked. She took my hand frantically. Not the way one might take someone’s hand to connect with or comfort them. She needed reassurance more than I did.
My parents were sitting across from me on cushioned, bland-colored chairs in my dad’s office, while I sat on a rickety, torturous wooden chair. My dad’s office generally utilized natural light due to the expansive glass windows that allowed the light to drown the room, enclosing us in the chamber. I felt like an inmate being prepped for lethal injection. The weather was particularly gray and dismal. Perhaps it was the ambiguous, gray, confusing feelings I was breathing through. My parents had somewhat regular “interventions” to address my somewhat regular (sometimes public) emotional breakdowns, my self-medicating habits, and my general shitty attitude.
This week in particular, I had purposely destroyed two of my mother’s collectible horses. She had a maniacal obsession for them. She also maniacally collected sunflower artwork, which was the one obsession, of many, I found endearing. My old babysitter noted at one point there were 74 collectible horses in the house. After my outburst, there were 72.
I could see behind my parents, through the glass-paned door, my two younger sisters were secretly observing the altercation from the dining room, hiding under the table. They were illuminated by the ominous weather, which was also watching in on the dismal conversation through the windows. I was envious, jealous even, of my spectating sisters. My sisters didn’t have overflowing, excessive emotions. They didn’t have emotions that were considered “excessive.” I felt like an offender being put at the stocks: my parents were the executioners, and my sisters were the jesters.
“What about?” my dad asked, puzzled. “Did someone do something to you?”
“Honey, were you—” my mother looked to my dad, then concealed her mouth slightly with the other hand, “ raped ?”
I couldn’t help but raise my voice. “No, Mom, I wasn’t raped, Jesus.” I took a moment to grind on my teeth and imagine the bit I was chomping at. Calm, careful, composed, I responded. “I’m just angry. I don’t feel—”
“What don’t you feel?” She practically jumped on me, while yanking my imprisoned hand toward her. She yanked at my reins.
“I don’t feel understood!” My mind was bucking. I didn’t know why I needed to react by raising my voice. It felt instinctive, defensive. Shouting forcefully, I jerked my hand away from her, but it remained in her clutches. I didn’t feel satisfied saying it, though what I said was the truth.
“What are you talking about?” my dad asked mournfully. I knew he felt betrayed. But he didn’t understand. He didn’t know what it’s like for things to be too much. Or to be too much. My dad looked at me longingly, hoping I would correct what I had said. He looked lost, incapable of understanding why I was doing what I was doing. My mother interjected, cutting off my dad’s hypnotic, silent cry for connection.
“You’re crazy!” she said, maintaining eye contact. My mother then let go of my hand, flipped it back to me. She reclined in her chair, retracting from me and the discussion entirely. She crossed her legs, then her arms. She turned her head away, toward the glass windows, and (mentally) left.
I was and am not “too much.”
I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18 years old.
I had just stepped off a squealing MAX line onto a broken sidewalk slab, gnarled from tree roots, when I felt my phone buzz rhythmically.
“I need you to come to the hospital. Mom had a little accident.” My dad’s voice was distant and cracking, like a wavering radio signal, calling for help.
“What’s going on? Is she okay?” I asked while making my way to campus.
“Where are you?” He wasn’t going to tell me anything over the phone. Adrenaline set in. I let him know I was downtown and headed to campus, but that I would catch a Lyft to wherever they were. “We’re at Milwaukie Providence. How soon can you get here?
“I’ll let you know soon.” My assumption was that my parents had been in an argument, my mother left the house in a rage, and crashed her car. She’d been an erratic driver for as long as I could remember, and my parents had been arguing more than usual recently, as many new “empty-nesters” do. The lack of information provided by my dad, however, was unsettling. I don’t really recall the ride to the hospital. I do remember looking over the river while riding from the west to east side of town. I remember the menacing, dark clouds rolling in faster than the driver could transport me. I remember it was quick, but it was too much time spent without answers.
When I arrived at Providence, I jumped out of the sedan and galloped into the lobby of the emergency room like a race horse on its final lap. My younger sister and Dad were seated on cushioned, bland-colored chairs in the waiting room. There were expansive glass windows that allowed the light to drown the room. The weather was particularly gray and dismal. Perhaps it was the ambiguous, gray, confusing feelings I was breathing through. I sat down beside my dad, in a firmer-than-anticipated waiting room chair beside him. He took my hand frantically. He took it in the way one might take someone’s hand to connect with or comfort them. He needed reassurance more than I did.
“Where did she get in the accident?” I asked.
My sister, sitting across from me with her head in her knees, looked up at me with aquamarine, tear-filled eyes. She was staring through me, an unclouded window. “Mom tried to kill herself.”
“What?” My voice crescendoed from a normal volume to a shriek in the span of a single word. My mind felt like it was bucking. I grabbed at my hair, pulling it back tight with my spare hand. The tears and cries reared, no matter how hard I yanked my mane.
“We got in another argument this morning, and she sent me a message saying she didn’t want to be in pain anymore. She told me to tell you girls she’s sorry. I’m so sorry.” I’d never seen my dad cry before; I didn’t know he could. I didn’t know his tears would stream like gushing water from a broken dam. He looked lost, incapable of understanding why she was doing what she was doing. I looked from my dad to my sister to my hands. One hand remained enveloped by my dad’s gentle palm. At this point in life, I had not yet learned to be gentle with myself, or others. I cut off my dad’s hypnotic, silent cry for connection.
“She’s crazy!” I let go of my dad’s hand, flipped it back to him. I reclined in the
chair, retracting from the situation entirely. I crossed my legs, then my arms. I turned my head away, toward the glass windows, and (mentally) left.
“Crazy” is a term devised to dismiss people.
My mother was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 50 years old.
“This essay makes excellent use of repetition as a narrative strategy. Throughout the essay, terms and phrases are repeated, generally with slight alterations, drawing the reader’s attention to the moment in question and recontextualizing the information being conveyed. This strategy is especially powerful when used to disclose the separate diagnoses of bipolar disorder, which is central to the narrative. I also appreciate the use of dialogue, though it mostly serves an expository function here. In itself that’s effective, but this narrative would be strengthened if that dialogue could serve to make some of the characters, especially the mother, more rounded.”
– Professor Dunham
My College Education
The following essay, “My College Education” is from Chapter 15.2 – Narrative Essay , Writing for Success , University of Minnesota Libraries.
The first class I went to in college was philosophy, and it changed my life forever. Our first assignment was to write a short response paper to the Albert Camus essay “The Myth of Sisyphus.” I was extremely nervous about the assignment as well as college. However, through all the confusion in philosophy class, many of my questions about life were answered.
I entered college intending to earn a degree in engineering. I always liked the way mathematics had right and wrong answers. I understood the logic and was very good at it. So when I received my first philosophy assignment that asked me to write my interpretation of the Camus essay, I was instantly confused. What is the right way to do this assignment, I wondered? I was nervous about writing an incorrect interpretation and did not want to get my first assignment wrong. Even more troubling was that the professor refused to give us any guidelines on what he was looking for; he gave us total freedom. He simply said, “I want to see what you come up with.”
Full of anxiety, I first set out to read Camus’s essay several times to make sure I really knew what was it was about. I did my best to take careful notes. Yet even after I took all these notes and knew the essay inside and out, I still did not know the right answer. What was my interpretation? I could think of a million different ways to interpret the essay, but which one was my professor looking for? In math class, I was used to examples and explanations of solutions. This assignment gave me nothing; I was completely on my own to come up with my individual interpretation.
Next, when I sat down to write, the words just did not come to me. My notes and ideas were all present, but the words were lost. I decided to try every prewriting strategy I could find. I brainstormed, made idea maps, and even wrote an outline. Eventually, after a lot of stress, my ideas became more organized and the words fell on the page. I had my interpretation of “The Myth of Sisyphus,” and I had my main reasons for interpreting the essay. I remember being unsure of myself, wondering if what I was saying made sense, or if I was even on the right track. Through all the uncertainty, I continued writing the best I could. I finished the conclusion paragraph, had my spouse proofread it for errors, and turned it in the next day simply hoping for the best.
Then, a week or two later, came judgment day. The professor gave our papers back to us with grades and comments. I remember feeling simultaneously afraid and eager to get the paper back in my hands. It turned out, however, that I had nothing to worry about. The professor gave me an A on the paper, and his notes suggested that I wrote an effective essay overall. He wrote that my reading of the essay was very original and that my thoughts were well organized. My relief and newfound confidence upon reading his comments could not be overstated.
What I learned through this process extended well beyond how to write a college paper. I learned to be open to new challenges. I never expected to enjoy a philosophy class and always expected to be a math and science person. This class and assignment, however, gave me the self-confidence, critical-thinking skills, and courage to try a new career path. I left engineering and went on to study law and eventually became a lawyer. More important, that class and paper helped me understand education differently. Instead of seeing college as a direct stepping stone to a career, I learned to see college as a place to first learn and then seek a career or enhance an existing career. By giving me the space to express my own interpretation and to argue for my own values, my philosophy class taught me the importance of education for education’s sake. That realization continues to pay dividends every day.
Model Student Essay
Imagine the sensation of the one split second that you are floating through the air as you were thrown up in the air as a child, that feeling of freedom and carefree spirit as happiness abounds. Looking at the world through innocent eyes, all thoughts and feelings of amazement. Being free, happy, innocent, amazed, wowed. Imagine the first time seeing the colors when your eyes and brain start to recognize them but never being able to name the shade or hue. Looking at the sky as it changes from the blackness with twinkling stars to the lightest shade of blue that is almost white, then the deep red of the sunset and bright orange of the sun. All shades of the spectrum of the rainbow, colors as beautiful as the mind can see or imagine.
I have always loved the sea since I was young; the smell of saltiness in the air invigorates me and reminds me of the times spent with my family enjoying Sundays at the beach. In Singapore, the sea was always murky and green but I continued to enjoy all activities in it. When I went to Malaysia to work, I discovered that the sea was clear and blue and without hesitation, I signed up for a basic diving course and I was hooked. In my first year of diving, I explored all the dive destinations along the east coast of Malaysia and also took an advanced diving course which allowed me to dive up to a depth of thirty meters. Traveling to a dive site took no more than four hours by car and weekends were spent just enjoying the sea again.
Gearing up is no fun. Depending on the temperature of the water, I might put on a shortie, wetsuit or drysuit. Then on come the booties, fins and mask which can be considered the easiest part unless the suit is tight—then it is a hop and pull struggle, which reminds me of how life can be at times. Carrying the steel tank, regulator, buoyancy control device (BCD) and weights is a torture. The heaviest weights that I ever had to use were 110 pounds, equivalent to my body weight; but as I jump in and start sinking into the sea, the contrast to weightlessness hits me. The moment that I start floating in the water, a sense of immense freedom and joy overtakes me.
Growing up, we have to learn the basics: time spent in classes to learn, constantly practicing to improve our skills while safety is ingrained by our parents. In dive classes, I was taught to never panic or do stupid stuff: the same with the lessons that I have learned in life. Panic and over-inflated egos can lead to death, and I have heard it happens all the time. I had the opportunity to go to Antarctica for a diving expedition, but what led to me getting that slot was the death of a very experienced diver who used a drysuit in a tropic climate against all advice. He just overheated and died. Lessons learned in the sea can be very profound, but they contrast the life I live: risk-taker versus risk-avoider. However, when I have perfected it and it is time to be unleashed, it is time to enjoy. I jump in as I would jump into any opportunity, but this time it is into the deep blue sea of wonders.
A sea of wonders waits to be explored. Every journey is different: it can be fast or slow, like how life takes me. The sea decides how it wants to carry me; drifting fast with the currents so that at times, I hang on to the reef and corals like my life depends on it, even though I am taught never to touch anything underwater. The fear I feel when I am speeding along with the current is that I will be swept away into the big ocean, never to be found. Sometimes, I feel like I am not moving at all, kicking away madly until I hyperventilate because the sea is against me with its strong current holding me against my will.
The sea decides what it wants me to see: turtles popping out of the seabed, manta rays gracefully floating alongside, being in the middle of the eye of a barracuda hurricane, a coral shelf as big as a car, a desert of bleached corals, the emptiness of the seabed with not a fish in sight, the memorials of death caused by the December 26 tsunami—a barren sea floor with not a soul or life in sight.
The sea decides what treasures I can discover: a black-tipped shark sleeping in an underwater cavern, a pike hiding from predators in the reef, an octopus under a dead tree trunk that escapes into my buddy’s BCD, colorful mandarin fish mating at sunset, a deadly box jellyfish held in my gloved hands, pygmy seahorses in a fern—so tiny that to discover them is a journey itself.
Looking back, diving has taught me more about life, the ups and downs, the good and bad, and to accept and deal with life’s challenges. Everything I learn and discover underwater applies to the many different aspects of my life. It has also taught me that life is very short: I have to live in the moment or I will miss the opportunities that come my way. I allow myself to forget all my sorrow, despair and disappointments when I dive into the deep blue sea and savor the feelings of peacefulness and calmness. There is nothing around me but fish and corals, big and small. Floating along in silence with only the sound of my breath— inhale and exhale . An array of colors explodes in front of my eyes, colors that I never imagine I will discover again, an underwater rainbow as beautiful as the rainbow in the sky after a storm. As far as my eyes can see, I look into the depth of the ocean with nothing to anchor me. The deeper I get, the darker it turns. From the light blue sky to the deep navy blue, even blackness into the void. As the horizon darkens, the feeding frenzy of the underwater world starts and the watery landscape comes alive. Total darkness surrounds me but the sounds that I can hear are the little clicks in addition to my breathing. My senses overload as I cannot see what is around me, but the sea tells me it is alive and it anchors me to the depth of my soul.
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are truly adjusted to each other; who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” … In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man in spite of real sorrows….” The sea and diving have given me a new outlook on life, a different planet where I can float into and enjoy as an adult, a new, different perspective on how it is to be that child again. Time and time again as I enter into the sea, I feel innocent all over again.
Write What Matters Copyright © 2020 by Liza Long; Amy Minervini; and Joel Gladd is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
Share This Book
Personal Narrative Essay
Writing a Personal Narrative Essay: Everything You Need to Know
13 min read
Published on: Jun 15, 2018
Last updated on: Nov 16, 2023
People also read
Narrative Essay - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples
Best Narrative Essay Topics 2023 for Students
10+ Interesting Narrative Essay Examples Plus Writing Tips!
Crafting a Winning Narrative Essay Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide
Share this article
Writing a personal narrative essay can be a difficult task, but it's also an incredibly rewarding form of self-expression and a valuable tool in education.
Whether you're a high school student preparing for college applications or a college student, focused on improving your narrative writing skills, this blog has everything you need.
This blog will guide you through the process, providing expert tips and examples to help you succeed.
So let’s get right into it!
On This Page On This Page
Understanding Personal Narrative Essays
A narrative essay may include the option to create fictional narratives or stories. However, a personal narrative essay involves sharing personal experiences or recounting stories from a first-person perspective.
Personal narratives allow the writer to reflect on their experiences and share insights, while also connecting with the reader on a personal level.
This genre encourages self-expression and enhances one's storytelling and communication skills.
6 Steps on How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay
Writing a personal narrative essay involves several key factors. Let's delve into the essential steps of crafting a compelling personal narrative essay:
Step 1: Choosing the Right Topic
Selecting the perfect essay topic is a critical first step in the writing process. It will help you focus on the specific topic and maintain the flow;
Here are some strategies to help you decide:
- Reflect on Personal Experiences: Start by considering your life experiences, especially those that have deeply impacted your thoughts, feelings, or personal growth.
- Identify a Lesson Learned: Go for a topic that involves a valuable lesson or transformative moment. This could be an insightful realization or an experience that left a lasting impression.
- Resonate with Your Reader: Ensure that your chosen topic not only resonates with you but can also connect with your audience.
Here is a list of personal narrative essay topics you can choose from to get an idea:
- A Life-Changing Journey: Reflect on a travel experience that transformed your perspective.
- Overcoming a Fear: Share the story of how you conquered a significant fear or phobia.
- The Day Everything Changed: Describe a pivotal day in your life that had a profound impact.
- Lessons from Failure: Discuss a time when you faced failure and the valuable lessons you learned.
- An Unforgettable Family Event: Write about a memorable family gathering or celebration.
- A Milestone Achievement: Reflect on a significant achievement in your life and the journey to reach it.
- A Childhood Memory: Revisit a cherished childhood memory that continues to influence you.
- Navigating a Personal Challenge: Share the story of how you tackled a personal obstacle or adversity.
- An Unexpected Act of Kindness: Write about a time when someone's kindness made a lasting impression on you.
- A Cultural Experience: Discuss an encounter with a different culture that expanded your understanding of the world.
Take a look at this list of narrative essay topics to get inspiration for your essay.
Step 2: Creating a Compelling Introduction
The introduction of your personal narrative essay is the reader's first encounter with your story.
Here is what you should keep in mind while creating the introduction:
- Engage the Readers: An introduction can help engage your readers with a hook . Your opening should spark their interest and make them eager to read on.
- Starting Effectively: Provide an engaging anecdote, posing a thought-provoking question, or presenting a compelling fact related to your story.
- Thesis Statement: This brief yet impactful sentence guides your narrative, giving readers a sneak peek into your story's main point.
Let’s take a look at the example below to help you have a better understanding:
The introduction effectively captures the reader's attention. It introduces the central theme and purpose of the narrative. It also sets the stage for the forthcoming story.
Step 3: Developing the Plot
The development of your narrative's plot is an important part of your personal narrative essay.
Follow these guidelines:
- Structured Narrative : A clear sequence of events is crucial to make your story relatable and understandable. It ensures that your narrative flows smoothly.
- Readable Storyline: A well-developed plot has an easy-to-follow storyline. This enhances the credibility and relatability of your narrative, making it more engaging.
Let’s take a look at the example of the body paragraph to help you have a better understanding:
This paragraph smoothly transitions from the anticipation of a journey to the moment of boarding the train and then to the changing landscape, creating a smoother flow of events.
Step 4: Character Development
Enhancing your storytelling through character development is crucial for a captivating personal narrative essay.
This element adds depth and relatability to your story, making it more engaging for readers.
Here's how you can achieve it:
- Characterizing the Writer and Others: Portray yourself and other individuals in your narrative with authenticity and complexity. This makes the characters relatable and captivating.
- Influence on the Essay's Impact: Understand that character development shapes how readers perceive and understand your experiences. This can profoundly impact the essay's overall effect.
Let’s look at this example to understand how character development can be achieved:
This example effectively illustrates how character development can be a powerful tool in a personal narrative essay. It transforms a simple adventure story into a deeper exploration of personal growth and the dynamics between individuals.
Step 5: Using Descriptive Language
To make your personal narrative more immersive, focus on these techniques:
- Vivid and Descriptive Language: Use vivid and descriptive words and phrases to create mental images and evoke emotions, allowing readers to step into your narrative.
- Sensory Details: Engage readers' senses - sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell - to bring your story to life.
This example portrays these techniques effectively:
This descriptive language creates a vivid and immersive experience for the reader. By engaging the senses, readers can step into the author's experience, making the story more engaging and memorable.
Step 6: Crafting a Memorable Conclusion
Your conclusion leaves a lasting impression. Consider these key aspects:
- Purpose of a Strong Conclusion: A strong conclusion ties up loose ends, provides insight, or conveys a meaningful message, resonating with readers.
- Leaving a Lasting Impression: Reflect on lessons learned, offer a thought-provoking statement, or leave readers with a powerful image or emotional impact.
Here is an example to help you have a better understanding:
This conclusion provides insight by emphasizing the transformative nature of the journey. It resonates with the reader through a reflection on life's unpredictabilities and the beauty of embracing the unknown.
Personal Narrative Essay Examples
Examples are incredibly helpful in understanding the art of personal narrative essay writing.
Let's take a look at the personal narrative essay examples for inspiration and to help you understand the points made previously:
Here are some more examples you should consider:
High School Personal Narrative Essay
Personal Narrative Essay Example High School
College Personal Narrative Essay
Personal Narrative Essay Example College
Personal Narrative Essay 750 Words
Example of Personal Narrative Essay About Yourself
Take a look at some more narrative essay examples to have a better understanding of structuring your essays.
Expert Tips for Writing Personal Narrative Essays
Here are some expert tips for writing personal narrative essays:
- Choose a Unique Perspective: Find a unique angle or perspective for your personal narrative essay. Whether it's a specific moment, a lesson learned, or a personal growth experience, a unique perspective can make your essay stand out.
- Stay True to Your Voice: While it's essential to follow the rules of writing, don't lose your unique voice. Personal narrative essays are about self-expression, so let your personality shine through in your writing.
- Reflect and Analyze: Don't just recount events; reflect on their significance and analyze how they shaped you. Mention what you learned from the experience and the insights you gained.
- Show, Don't Tell: Instead of simply telling your readers about your experiences, show them through vivid descriptions and sensory details.
- Use Dialogue Sparingly: Incorporate dialogue to make your story more dynamic and realistic. However, use it judiciously, focusing on the most crucial conversations that drive the plot or reveal character traits.
- Consider Your Audience: Keep your audience in mind while writing. Tailor your language and style to the intended readers to ensure your narrative resonates with them.
- Seek Feedback: Share your essay with peers, teachers, or mentors for constructive feedback. An outside perspective can help you refine your narrative and identify areas for improvement.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Personal Narrative Essays
Here are common mistakes to avoid when writing personal narrative essays:
- Lack of Reflection: Failing to reflect on the significance of the events can make your narrative feel superficial. Don't just narrate; analyze and share insights or lessons learned.
- Neglecting Structure: A disorganized narrative can confuse readers. Ensure a clear structure with a beginning, middle, and end. Use transitions to guide the reader through the story.
- Ignoring the Editing Process: Rushing to publish your essay without thorough editing can lead to grammar and spelling mistakes, as well as unclear or confusing passages. Take time to revise and proofread your work.
- Overly Complicated Language: Avoid using overly complex language or jargon that may alienate readers. Clear and concise language is often more effective.
- Inconsistency in Verb Tenses: Stick to one verb tense throughout the essay. Shifting between past and present tense can disrupt the narrative's flow.
So there you have it!
By following this guide, you'll be well-equipped to write compelling personal narrative essays. You can craft compelling, meaningful stories that engage and resonate with your audience.
Are you in search of the best online essay writing service ? We have got you covered.
Our narrative essay writing service has experienced writers skilled in crafting high-quality essays. Whether it's a narrative essay or any other type, we're here to provide top-notch results.
So, get in touch with us today and experience the difference.
Caleb S. (Literature, Marketing)
Caleb S. has been providing writing services for over five years and has a Masters degree from Oxford University. He is an expert in his craft and takes great pride in helping students achieve their academic goals. Caleb is a dedicated professional who always puts his clients first.
Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!
We value your privacy
Website Data Collection
Are you sure you want to cancel?
Your preferences have not been saved.
- AI Content Shield
- AI KW Research
- AI Assistant
- SEO Optimizer
- AI KW Clustering
- Customer reviews
- The NLO Revolution
- Press Center
- Help Center
- Content Resources
- Facebook Group
A Clear Guide to Descriptive Narrative Essay
Table of Contents
A descriptive narrative essay is often confused by students due to the similarities between a descriptive and narrative essay. Both of these essays can be written by people of any age as they don’t contain facts but rather involve a creative approach.
This article will guide you through the difference between descriptive and narrative essays in detail.
Descriptive Vs. Narrative: What’s the Difference?
A descriptive paragraph gives the reader a lively experience by using vivid language and details of the subject and surroundings.
They’re not necessarily personal in nature. However, narrative paragraphs incorporate personal ideas, feelings, and growth.
The key difference between the two essays is:
- A descriptive essay is supposed to provide a detailed description of a specific place, object, or concept. The art of descriptive writing involves paying attention to sensory details.
- A narrative essay is intended to present a whole story. These essays are often personal, anecdotal, or experiential, which allows students to express themselves more creatively.
What Is a Descriptive Narrative Essay?
Descriptive narrative essays are essays that attempt to capture or recreate events from the audience’s point of view. They are not intended to be a guide to how to feel about said events but to convey what occurred in a facilitated manner.
Descriptive Essays in Detail
Descriptive essays involve many descriptions of a person, place, object, or feeling . The five sensory details, sight, smell, sound, taste, and touch, are employed in this type of writing.
Good descriptive writing should paint vivid pictures of the situation in the reader’s mind about the subject or surroundings. Examples of descriptive essay topics could be a haunted place, my pet, my best friend, my family, our new house, and more.
Narrative Essays in Detail
As the name suggests, a narrative essay is used to narrate a complete story in a sequence. The author could share an imaginative story or a personal experience.
A good narrative story contains a plot, setting, and characters that make the reader feel like it is a true incident. Writers often use the first point of view in this type of essay and also employ dialogues. Examples of narrative essay topics could be a trip to remember, the first day at school, an exciting Christmas Eve, and more.
Benefits of Teaching Descriptive Writing
Let’s look at some of the key benefits of teaching descriptive writing to students:
- It helps students make their writing more captivating and interesting to the readers.
- This allows students to practice using new words in meaningful contexts, which is a crucial aspect of building vocabulary.
- It enables students to observe and reflect on the methods employed by other authors to create vivid descriptions.
- Descriptive essays use figurative language, mostly similes, metaphors, personification, and onomatopoeia. Students can develop their critical verbal reasoning abilities by noticing figurative language in mentor texts and using it in their own work.
- Students can clarify their understanding of new subject matter material and remember more of what they have learned through it.
The differences between a descriptive and narrative essay are much more than merely a different type of essay. Some of the most significant differences lie in the nature of the topics discussed and the reasons for writing.
People prefer descriptive essays when they want to explore a topic by providing a detailed description of an individual or event . But narrative essays let you be creative while telling a personal story you have experienced.
Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.
Explore All Descriptive Text Articles
Effective writing tips to describe a person.
As with any piece of writing, it’s essential to paint a picture vividly and make your reader fully grasp your…
- Descriptive Text
Best Words to Describe Your Personality
There are instances when you’ll be required to describe yourself. It can be for a job interview or when introducing…
30+ Interesting Words To Describe Beauty
Beauty is the quality of being physically or visually attractive. It is the aesthetic properties of an entity, a natural…
Interesting Adjectives to Describe Movies
You might need to give a review about a movie you just watched. While you can use a few phrases…
Interesting Personality Adjectives to Describe People
What words best describe you? Funny? Determined? Hardworking? These words are adjectives. Adjectives modify one’s personality. They’re an easy and…
The Most Creative Words to Describe Smell
When depicting smell, descriptive language can help the reader have a much more vivid experience. This article explores the best…
Narrative Essay Guide
Narrative Essay Examples
Last updated on: Feb 9, 2023
Narrative Essay Examples: Samples & Tips
By: Nathan D.
Reviewed By: Chris H.
Published on: May 26, 2020
Writing a narrative essay for the first time?
Don't know how to tell an engaging story?
A narrative essay tells a story. It could be anything like a childhood memory or a personal narrative or experience, or anything that affected you in any way. It is somewhat like a descriptive essay and tells a story in elaborate detail.
But it is different from an argumentative essay as it also includes a person’s perspective.
We have explained the dos and don’ts of narrative writing with the help of few examples here.
Continue to get some great narrative essay examples
On this Page
A Detailed Analysis of a Narrative Essay
Good narrative essay examples help you to understand how this type of essay is written. They are structured and they tell an engaging story. They follow the usual essay structure and includes:
- An introduction
- A thesis statement
Generally, there are 5 paragraphs in an essay. However, you can increase the number based on the topic to write a narrative essay step by step.
Below, we have discussed a narrative essay example in detail and have added some more examples to guide you. You can download the samples and go through them before writing your essay.
A Spontaneous Visit to Ukraine
“Travelling has always been one of my favorite activities. By the time I was 30, I had already visited a number of countries in North America. However, I had never been to Europe. Visiting the grand places like Venice, London and Paris are one of my unfulfilled and burning desires.
My chance of visiting Europe came as a surprise. A distant friend called to give Season Greetings and invited me to visit Ukraine. He was working for an NGO there and wanted me to visit him. I was looking for a chance only and it came quite unexpectedly.
Without further adieu, I booked the first flight to Ukraine. It was a completely different place than what I have known for so far. Its culture is quite different than what we have in the US and Canada and it is situated on a territory that is a bit smaller than Texas. Surprisingly, it was considered quite big by the European standards.
Lvis, where I went, is a beautiful city that is filled with spiritual symbols and objects.
The people are deeply religious and traditional as you will find statues of Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary nearly in every corner. The people are friendly and the place is exquisitely beautiful with traditional churches and wooden houses, mountain rivers, beautiful lush forests and bright meadows.
It is a beautiful place and I believe that everyone should visit it at least once. As for me, I have grown quite a fondness for it and will be coming back to explore it.”
The example is ideal to understand how a good narrative essay is written. It explains the writer's visit to Ukraine and his experience and observation there.
Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!
Narrative Essay Samples - Free and Downloadable
Below are some PDF examples that you can download and save.
Death of a Moth
DEATH OF A MOTH
A Teeny Tiny Treasure Box
A TEENY TINY TREASURE BOX
He Left so I could Learn
HE LEFT SO I COULD LEARN
Violence can be an Answer
VIOLENCE CAN BE AN ANSWER
My College Education
MY COLLEGE EDUCATION
Tips to Write a Great Narrative Essay
Having great narrative writing skills is important. No matter what field you are, there will be a time when you will have to explain some things. And this is why teachers give these types of essays to you. They want to train you to present your point of view engagingly.
Following are some helpful tips that will help you write a narrative essay.
- It should be clear and described in detail.
- It should be in the first person narrative.
- It is presented in chronological order.
- It includes dialogues and vivid sensory details.
- It should have strong motifs and symbols.
- It should be engaging.
Besides, a strong narrative essay topic will make it more engaging. It is important that you have a strong topic for your narrative. Here is a list of narrative essay topics for your help to choose from and write a good essay.
However, it is not possible for every student to write an impressive essay. That is why some students are always looking for professional assistance.
Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!
Do you also need help with your narrative essay? 5StarEssays.com provides the best essay writing service . We have a team of expert writers, strong customer support, and affordable prices.
Order now to get your perfect narrative essay.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 5 basic components of a narrative essay.
The 5 basic and core elements of a narrative essay are given below.
Without discussing these elements, no narrative essay is complete.
What is a narrative paragraph?
A narrative paragraph tells a story and this story is, most of the time, from your personal experience and event.
Literature, College Essay
Nathan completed his Ph.D. in journalism and has been writing articles for well-respected publications for many years now. His work is carefully researched and insightful, showing a true passion for the written word. Nathan's clients appreciate his expertise, deep understanding of the process, and ability to communicate difficult concepts clearly.
Was This Blog Helpful?
- Narrative Essay - An Ultimate Guide With Examples & Topics
- Narrative Essay Topics - Best Topic Ideas for Your Essay
- How to Write a Narrative Essay Outline - Tips & Examples
People Also Read
- writing thesis statement
- writing book report
- expository essay examples
- writing an introduction for an argumentative essay
- illustration essay writing
Burdened With Assignments?
© 2023 - All rights reserved
2000+ SATISFIED STUDENTS
95% Satisfaction RATE
30 Days Money-back GUARANTEE
95% Success RATE
© 2023 5StarEssays.com. All rights reserved.
LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT
SIGN UP TO YOUR ACCOUNT
- Your phone no.
- Password Password must be minimum 8 characters.
- Confirm Password
- SEND PASSWORD
Writing help, paraphrasing tool, shlomo wiesel: echoes of the holocaust in a silent narrative.
How it works
When one hears the surname Wiesel in the context of history and literature, the mind almost reflexively conjures the image of Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize-winning author, and Holocaust survivor whose work has educated generations. Yet, the narrative of his father, Shlomo Wiesel, though less chronicled, offers profound insights into the resilience and unspoken tribulations of those who lived through one of history’s darkest epochs.
In his recollections, Elie depicts Shlomo as a man of dignity and strength, characteristics that often provided a beacon of hope amidst the despair of the concentration camps. Shlomo’s efforts to maintain family bonds and his unwavering commitment to his son’s well-being highlight a parental love that persisted even as the structures of ordinary life crumbled around them.
Despite Shlomo’s enduring spirit, his end came just months before the Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated. His death left a silence filled with unasked questions and unshared stories. This void speaks volumes about the impact of the Holocaust on individual families. The loss of Shlomo signifies not just the end of a single life, but also the extinguishing of a lineage, a culture, and a community’s potential.
Delving deeper into Shlomo’s life allows for a greater understanding of the Holocaust’s impact on familial relationships. The trials he and his son endured encapsulate a stark panorama of the struggle to maintain humanity in the face of systemic dehumanization. The perseverance and mutual protection seen in Shlomo’s efforts to keep his son alive stand as a testament to the strength of paternal love.
Yet, Shlomo Wiesel’s narrative also provides an essential perspective on the experiences of Jewish patriarchs during the Holocaust. As with many of his generation, the responsibility to protect and provide for the family became an almost insurmountable challenge under the Nazis’ tyrannical rule. Shlomo’s life, in its silent documentation through his son’s memories, provides a poignant reflection on the disruption of traditional family roles and the brutal realities that fathers had to navigate to preserve a semblance of normalcy and comfort for their loved ones.
Moreover, Shlomo’s presence in Elie’s writings serves as an enduring influence that shaped his son’s humanistic philosophy and activism. The lessons of compassion and the recognition of inherent dignity, even when faced with profound evil, are threads that run through Elie Wiesel’s works and advocacy. They can be traced back to the relationship and conversations between a father and a son in the most harrowing of circumstances.
In remembering Shlomo Wiesel, one pays homage not only to his legacy but also to the millions of stories that have gone unheard. As we reflect on his life through the lens of his son’s experiences, we are reminded of the importance of preserving these narratives and the weight they carry in our collective memory. Shlomo’s story is one of countless others, resonating beyond the confines of written history, reminding us of the preciousness of life and the indomitable will to survive.
In the vast expanse of Holocaust literature and historical recollection, figures like Shlomo Wiesel emerge as emblematic of the tenacity of love and hope. His narrative, though incomplete, offers a poignant glimpse into the soul of a generation that faced the unimaginable and yet found the strength to inspire future generations to remember and to learn. The legacy of Shlomo Wiesel, etched into the fabric of history, continues to echo as a silent yet powerful testament to resilience and the unconquerable human spirit.
The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Cite this page.
Shlomo Wiesel: Echoes of the Holocaust in a Silent Narrative. (2023, Nov 17). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/shlomo-wiesel-echoes-of-the-holocaust-in-a-silent-narrative/
"Shlomo Wiesel: Echoes of the Holocaust in a Silent Narrative." PapersOwl.com , 17 Nov 2023, https://papersowl.com/examples/shlomo-wiesel-echoes-of-the-holocaust-in-a-silent-narrative/
PapersOwl.com. (2023). Shlomo Wiesel: Echoes of the Holocaust in a Silent Narrative . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/shlomo-wiesel-echoes-of-the-holocaust-in-a-silent-narrative/ [Accessed: 18 Nov. 2023]
"Shlomo Wiesel: Echoes of the Holocaust in a Silent Narrative." PapersOwl.com, Nov 17, 2023. Accessed November 18, 2023. https://papersowl.com/examples/shlomo-wiesel-echoes-of-the-holocaust-in-a-silent-narrative/
"Shlomo Wiesel: Echoes of the Holocaust in a Silent Narrative," PapersOwl.com , 17-Nov-2023. [Online]. Available: https://papersowl.com/examples/shlomo-wiesel-echoes-of-the-holocaust-in-a-silent-narrative/. [Accessed: 18-Nov-2023]
PapersOwl.com. (2023). Shlomo Wiesel: Echoes of the Holocaust in a Silent Narrative . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/shlomo-wiesel-echoes-of-the-holocaust-in-a-silent-narrative/ [Accessed: 18-Nov-2023]
Don't let plagiarism ruin your grade
Make sure your essay is plagiarism-free or hire a writer to get a unique paper crafted to your needs.
Leave your email and we will send a sample to you., not finding what you need, search for essay samples now.
Having doubts about how to write your paper correctly?
Our writers will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!
Please check your inbox.
Don't use plagiarized sources
Where do you want us to send this sample, attention this is just a sample..
You can order an original essay written according to your instructions.
Trusted by over 1 million students worldwide
1. Tell Us Your Requirements
2. Pick your perfect writer
3. Get Your Paper and Pay
Hi! I'm Amy, your personal assistant!
Don't know where to start? Give me your paper requirements and I connect you to an academic expert.