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.
Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.comments powered by
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.
Writing a narrative essay is an essential talent for field research. Rather than summing things up for your reader, it presents your experience and allows them to draw their own conclusions. The narrative essay makes it point by subtly guiding the reader, rather than battering them the way a rhetorical essay would.
By observing these basic ideas, you can improve your narrative essay.
Complex words and syntax are a hindrance to clarity and should be avoided. Ideas should be clearly distributed between sentences and paragraphs.
Example: Although I have never been to the races before, I was very excited to behold them, yet also somewhat nervous, because of the type of people who go there.
Improved: I’d never been to a horse race. I was excited to go, but also a little nervous, since I wasn’t sure about the people at the track.
2. Don’t describe each and every one of your own movements
Example: As I went in the door, I turned and saw a TV. I looked around and saw posters on the wall. As I went further in I noticed everyone was watching M*A*S*H.
Improved: I immediately noticed the posters on the wall, though everyone else’s eyes were focused on a TV playing M*A*S*H.
3. Avoid the second-person narrative
An important part of the narrative essay is the fact that the writer experienced the events described.
Example: As you go in the door, you will turn and see a TV. You look around and see posters on the wall. As you go further in you notice everyone is watching M*A*S*H.
Writing in the present tense is okay, however.
4. To interest the reader, dynamic word choice is key
Avoid sounding too clinical. Use the same slang, idiom, and turns of phrase you would use in speech. Avoid passive constructions.
Example: I am presented an array of unpleasant photos in which many casualties are shown after automobile accidents.
Improved: They showed me a book stuffed with gruesome pictures of people who’d been in car wrecks.
5. Limit references
MLA format recommends including citations in the text, but in a narrative essay this is disruptive. If a work was helpful, cite it in a ‘Works Consulted’ list after the essay. Explain yourself as you go along, rather than trying to refer your reader back to a previous statement.
Example: When I first saw the comic book fans jumping up and down, I thought as they would, “Lord, what fools these mortals be” (Gaiman 1989.) I later learned why they do this.
Improved: The fans jump up and down. When I first saw this, I wondered what they were doing and my mind conjured a quote from Shakespeare that Neil Gaiman used in his “Sandman”: “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” However, I watched a bit longer and realized the company spokesmodels were throwing free merchandise. The fans wanted to get the most from their day at the convention.
The narrative essay is a keen rhetorical tool because it allows the readers to draw their own conclusions, but falling into the traps above deprive it of its effectiveness. By avoiding these errors, you can subtly guide your reader in your desired direction.