Narration can be found in any form of literature, including plays, short stories, poems, novels, or even jokes. They are considered narration, or narrative, as long as they tell a story.
Variations of the Narration Form
Narrative poems, essays and novels can be any length. What makes them "narrative" is their ability to tell a story.
The first example of narration below is an excerpt from a narrative essay called “Playground Memory.” Notice the sensory details:
“Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick on that leaves me with the fabled “warm and fuzzy feelings.” As the daughter of an Air Force Major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe. However, I have discovered that when reflecting on my childhood, it is not the trips that come to mind, instead there are details from everyday doings; a deck of cards, a silver bank or an ice cream flavor."
Other examples of narration come from poetry. Narrative poetry tells stories about societies and heroic deeds. Many of them are very long, like some ballads and epic poems.
The best examples of narration come from works like Geoffrey Chaucer’s "The Canterbury Tales" and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Hiawatha.”
Here is an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -Only this, and nothing more.'
The last example is an excerpt from the novel, Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
"Landlord!" said I, "what sort of chap is he -- does he always keep such late hours?" It was now hard upon twelve o'clock.The landlord chuckled again with his lean chuckle, and seemed to be mightily tickled at something beyond my comprehension. "No," he answered, "generally he's an early bird -- airley to bed and airley to rise -- yea, he's the bird what catches the worm. -- But to-night he went out a peddling, you see, and I don't see what on airth keeps him so late, unless, may be, he can't sell his head.""Can't sell his head? -- What sort of a bamboozingly story is this you are telling me?" getting into a towering rage. "Do you pretend to say, landlord, that this harpooneer is actually engaged this blessed Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, in peddling his head around this town?"
Categories of Compositions
In addition to narration, there are three other categories of composition. Sometimes the categories will overlap but usually a composition is primarily one or the other.
- Narration - Narration is simply telling a story, usually from the viewpoint of one person. Many times, the writer is also making a point as well as recounting events that occurred.
- Description - Descriptive writing uses sensory writing and includes vivid and rich details. It portrays certain events, people, or objects in a way that the reader can visualize what the writer is describing. The writer uses figurative language, like metaphors and symbolism, to enhance the sensory experience for the reader.
- Exposition - Exposition gives the reader information about one or more topics. It informs, explains, and even interprets. It comes from the Latin word that means “a showing forth.”
- Argument - Writing in an argumentative way is not like arguing; rather it is showing proofs to the reader to convince him of your position. It is meant to persuade, usually in a logical way, but is also a means for the writer to explain the reasoning behind his views.
Sometimes the categories will overlap; but, usually a composition is primarily one or the other category of composition.
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Examples of Narration
By YourDictionaryNarration can be found in any form of literature, including plays, short stories, poems, novels, or even jokes. They are considered narration, or narrative, as long as they tell a story.
As a mode of expository writing, the narrative approach, more than any other, offers writers a chance to think and write about themselves. We all have experiences lodged in our memories, which are worthy of sharing with readers. Yet sometimes they are so fused with other memories that a lot of the time spent in writing narrative is in the prewriting stage.
When you write a narrative essay, you are telling a story. Narrative essays are told from a defined point of view, often the author's, so there is feeling as well as specific and often sensory details provided to get the reader involved in the elements and sequence of the story. The verbs are vivid and precise. The narrative essay makes a point and that point is often defined in the opening sentence, but can also be found as the last sentence in the opening paragraph.
Since a narrative relies on personal experiences, it often is in the form of a story. When the writer uses this technique, he or she must be sure to include all the conventions of storytelling: plot, character, setting, climax, and ending. It is usually filled with details that are carefully selected to explain, support, or embellish the story. All of the details relate to the main point the writer is attempting to make.
To summarize, the narrative essay
- is told from a particular point of view
- makes and supports a point
- is filled with precise detail
- uses vivid verbs and modifiers
- uses conflict and sequence as does any story
- may use dialogue
The purpose of a narrative report is to describe something. Many students write narrative reports thinking that these are college essays or papers. While the information in these reports is basic to other forms of writing, narrative reports lack the "higher order thinking" that essays require. Thus narrative reports do not, as a rule, yield high grades for many college courses. A basic example of a narrative report is a "book report" that outlines a book; it includes the characters, their actions, possibly the plot, and, perhaps, some scenes. That is, it is a description of "what happens in the book." But this leaves out an awful lot.
What is left out is what the book or article is about -- the underlying concepts, assumptions, arguments, or point of view that the book or article expresses. A narrative report leaves aside a discussion that puts the events of the text into the context of what the text is about. Is the text about love? Life in the fast lane? Society? Wealth and power? Poverty? In other words, narrative reports often overlook the authors purpose or point of view expressed through the book or article.
Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.
- Remember to involve readers in the story. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it.
- Find a generalization, which the story supports. This is the only way the writer's personal experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole; it can concern the writer, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds.
- Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must be carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance the story.
Conventions of Narrative Essays
In writing your narrative essay, keep the following conventions in mind.
- Narratives are generally written in the first person, that is, using I. However, third person (he, she, or it) can also be used.
- Narratives rely on concrete, sensory details to convey their point. These details should create a unified, forceful effect, a dominant impression. More information on the use of specific details is available on another page.
- Narratives, as stories, should include these story conventions: a plot, including setting and characters; a climax; and an ending.
Here are some popular essay topic examples for your narrative essay type:
- First Day at College
- The Moment of Success
- A Memorable Journey
The essay topic you choose should be interesting and important to you, because the best essays are written on the topics that really matter to the writer.