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Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay Examples

Caleb S.

10+ Interesting Narrative Essay Examples Plus Writing Tips!

Narrative Essay Examples

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Narrative Essay - A Complete Writing Guide with Examples

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Crafting a Winning Narrative Essay Outline: A Step-by-Step Guide

Many students struggle with crafting engaging and impactful narrative essays. They often find it challenging to weave their personal experiences into coherent and compelling stories.

If you’re having a hard time, don't worry! 

We’ve compiled a range of narrative essay examples that will serve as helpful tools for you to get started. These examples will provide a clear path for crafting engaging and powerful narrative essays.

So, keep reading and find our expertly written examples!

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  • 1. Narrative Essay Definition
  • 2. Narrative Essay Examples
  • 3. Narrative Essay Examples for Students
  • 4. Narrative Essay Topics
  • 5. Narrative Essay Writing Tips

Narrative Essay Definition

Writing a narrative essay is a unique form of storytelling that revolves around personal experiences, aiming to immerse the reader in the author's world. It's a piece of writing that delves into the depths of thoughts and feelings. 

In a narrative essay, life experiences take center stage, serving as the main substance of the story. It's a powerful tool for writers to convey a personal journey, turning experiences into a captivating tale. This form of storytelling is an artful display of emotions intended to engage readers, leaving the reader feeling like they are a part of the story.

By focusing on a specific theme, event, emotions, and reflections, a narrative essay weaves a storyline that leads the reader through the author's experiences. 

The Essentials of Narrative Essays

Let's start with the basics. The four types of essays are argumentative essays , descriptive essays , expository essays , and narrative essays.

The goal of a narrative essay is to tell a compelling tale from one person's perspective. A narrative essay uses all components you’d find in a typical story, such as a beginning, middle, and conclusion, as well as plot, characters, setting, and climax.

The narrative essay's goal is the plot, which should be detailed enough to reach a climax. Here's how it works:

  • It's usually presented in chronological order.
  • It has a function. This is typically evident in the thesis statement's opening paragraph.
  • It may include speech.
  • It's told with sensory details and vivid language, drawing the reader in. All of these elements are connected to the writer's major argument in some way.

Before writing your essay, make sure you go through a sufficient number of narrative essay examples. These examples will help you in knowing the dos and don’ts of a good narrative essay.

It is always a better option to have some sense of direction before you start anything. Below, you can find important details and a bunch of narrative essay examples. These examples will also help you build your content according to the format. 

Here is a how to start a narrative essay example:


Sample Narrative Essay

The examples inform the readers about the writing style and structure of the narration. The essay below will help you understand how to create a story and build this type of essay in no time.


Here is another narrative essay examples 500 words:


Narrative Essay Examples for Students

Narrative essays offer students a platform to express their experiences and creativity. These examples show how to effectively structure and present personal stories for education.

Here are some helpful narrative essay examples:

Narrative Essay Examples Middle School

Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 7

Narrative Essay Examples for Grade 8

Grade 11 Narrative Essay Examples

Narrative Essay Example For High School

Narrative Essay Example For College

Personal Narrative Essay Example

Descriptive Narrative Essay Example

3rd Person Narrative Essay Example

Narrative Essay Topics

Here are some narrative essay topics to help you get started with your narrative essay writing.

  • When I got my first bunny
  • When I moved to Canada
  • I haven’t experienced this freezing temperature ever before
  • The moment I won the basketball finale
  • A memorable day at the museum
  • How I talk to my parrot
  • The day I saw the death
  • When I finally rebelled against my professor

Need more topics? Check out these extensive narrative essay topics to get creative ideas!

Narrative Essay Writing Tips

Narrative essays give you the freedom to be creative, but it can be tough to make yours special. Use these tips to make your story interesting:

  • Share your story from a personal viewpoint, engaging the reader with your experiences.
  • Use vivid descriptions to paint a clear picture of the setting, characters, and emotions involved.
  • Organize events in chronological order for a smooth and understandable narrative.
  • Bring characters to life through their actions, dialogue, and personalities.
  • Employ dialogue sparingly to add realism and progression to the narrative.
  • Engage readers by evoking emotions through your storytelling.
  • End with reflection or a lesson learned from the experience, providing insight.

Now you have essay examples and tips to help you get started, you have a solid starting point for crafting compelling narrative essays.

However, if storytelling isn't your forte, you can always turn to our essay service for help.

Our writers are specialists who can tackle any type of essay with great skill. With their experience, you get a top-quality, 100% plagiarism-free essay everytime.

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by Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.  

Essays Every High School Student Should Read

December 4, 2016 in  Pedagogy

Essays for High School Students

One of the most important goals of any English class should be to help students learn how to express themselves to an audience — how to tell their own stories, how to provide much-needed information, and how to convince others to see things from a different perspective.

Below are some essays students can read, not only to help them see how such writing is done in the real world, but also to learn more about the world around them.

[bctt tweet=”Need a #mentortext for student essays? Check out these exemplars for personal narrative, argumentative, and expository essay writing.”]

Note : This is a living list. I will continue adding to it as I find important essays and articles, and as my readers make suggestions.

If You Think Racism Doesn’t Exist by Jordan Womack | Lesson Plan

A 17-year-old Oklahoma author details incidents of discrimination he has faced within his own community. Brief, yet impactful, the author’s authenticity strikes readers at their core and naturally leads the audience to consider other perspectives.

Facebook hack ‘worse than when my house burned down’ says teacher by Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

When a hacker destroyed my Facebook account and I couldn’t find a way to reach out to Facebook, I decided to use my story, voice, and platform to shed light on a situation faced by people around the world. This can serve as a mentor text for students writing personal narratives on shared experiences in the context of current events.

Letter from a Vietnamese to an Iraqi Refugee by Andrew Lam

Vietnamese lecturer, journalist, and author Andrew Lam offers advice in this letter to a young Iraqi refugee he sees in a photograph on the Internet.

Allowing Teenage Boys to Love Their Friends by Jan Hoffman

Learn why early and lifelong friendships are as vital for boys as they are for girls and what happens when those friendships are fractured.

Chris Cecil: Plagiarism Gets You Fired by Leonard Pitts Jr

The Miami Herald columnist and 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary winner castigates a Georgia newspaper editor for plagiarizing his work. This column would go great with this followup article from The Boston Globe: Ga. Editor is Fired for Lifting Columns .

Class Dismissed by Walter Kirn

The author of Lost in the Meritocracy postulates that getting rid of the high school senior year might be good for students.

Complaint Box | Packaging by Dylan Quinn

A high school junior complains about the impossible-to-open packaging faced by consumers of everything “from action figures to zip drives.”

Drowning in Dishes, but Finding a Home  by Danial Adkison

In this 2014 essay, a teenager learns important lessons from his boss at Pizza Hut.

How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldua

An American scholar of Chicana cultural theory discusses how she maintained her identity by refusing to submit to linguistic terrorism.

Humble Beast: Samaje Perine by John Rohde

The five-time Oklahoma Sportswriter of the Year features the University of Oklahoma’s running back.

In Praise of the F Word by Mary Sherry

An adult literacy program teacher argues that allowing students to fail will actually help them.

The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me by Sherman Alexie

A Native American novelist recounts his experience loving reading and finally writing in spite of a culture that expected him to fail in the “non-Indian world” in order to be accepted.

Lane’s Legacy: One Final Ride by Keith Ryan Cartwright

A heartbreaking look back at the hours before and the circumstances surrounding Lane Frost’s untimely death, followed by reflections on his rise to fame — before and after death.

Learning to Read by Malcolm X

The 1960s Civil Rights leader writes about how educating himself in prison opened his mind and lead him to become one of the leading spokesmen for black separatism.

Learning to Read and Write by Frederick Douglass

A former slave born in 1818 discusses how he learned to read in spite of laws against teaching slaves and how reading opened his eyes to his “wretched condition, without remedy.”

Learning From Animal Friendships by Erica Goode

Scientists consider studying the phenomenon of cross-species animal friendships like the ones you see on YouTube.

Losing Everything, Except What Really Matters by Dan Barry

After a 2011 tornado destroys a house, but spares the family, a reporter writes about what’s important.

The Marked Woman by David Grann

How an Osage Indian family in Oklahoma became the prime target of one of the most sinister crimes in American history.

Meet Mikey, 8: U.S. Has Him on Watch List by Lizette Alvarez

Read about what happens if you happen to share a name of a “suspicious person” on the U.S. No-Fly List.

Newly Homeless in Japan Re-Establish Order Amid Chaos by Michael Wines

After the tsunami that resulted in nuclear disaster in 2011, a reporter writes about the “quiet bravery in the face of tragedy” of the Japanese people.

No Ordinary Joe by Rick Reilly

Why in creation did American Football Conference’s 1981 best young running back Joe Delaney jump into that pit full of water that day, even though he couldn’t swim?

Politics and the English Language By George Orwell

Animal Farm and 1984 author, Orwell correlates the degradation of the English language into multi-syllabic drivel and the corruption of the American political process.

Serving in Florida by Barbara Ehrenreich

The Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America author tells about her experiences attempting to survive on income of low-paying jobs.

Starvation Under the Orange Trees by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck, who later authored the fictionalized account of Okies in California, The Grapes of Wrath, first wrote this essay documenting the starvation of migrant workers in California during the Great Depression.

To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This by Mandy Len Catron

Is falling in love really a random event, or can two people “love smarter?”

We’ll Go Forward from this Moment by Leonard Pitts

The 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary winner pens a column chronicling the toughness of the American family’s spirit in the face of the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks. He wrote the column one day after the attacks.

What’s Wrong with Black English? by Rachel L. Jones

Jones, a student at Southern Illinois University in the 1980s, wrote this piece for Newsweek. In her essay, Jones adds her story and perspective to the debate over Black English.

Related topics: Mentor Texts , Teaching Writing

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About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

A wonderful list of essays! I have neglected to teach essays as literature (only as student writing samples before we began work on an essay, after a novel). I’m looking forward to using these!

Thank you very much! I’d love to hear (or read) your feedback on the selections. Your input can help other teachers decide which essays to teach their students.

This list looks really great. Unfortunately, the first two links I chose were not working. One took me to a professors homepage and the other never opened.

Thank you for letting us know. I checked the “If you think racism doesn’t exist” went to the WordPress.com site where the author wrote his article and “Letter from a Vietnamese to an Iraqi Refugee” went to the Huffington Post article. Is it possible that your school web filter is blocking WordPress and Huffington Post?

Thank you for this. I am teaching a summer class that prepares 8th graders for high school essay writing. Trying to find a way to make it more creative and interesting, even interactive. I like the essays. If you have ideas about specific ways to use them, beyond reading and discussion, I would love to hear them.

You’re welcome! I think additional activities would depend on who your students are, their interests, and which essay(s) you plan to use. Perhaps if you join our RTE Facebook group and tell us about your kids and the essay you want to use, we can devise some activities to help them engage. Check us out here .

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50 Engaging Narrative Essay Topics for High Schoolers

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What’s Covered:

Narrative essays vs. analytical essays, how to pick the right narrative essay topic, elements of a strong narrative essay, engaging narrative essay topics for high schoolers, where to get your narrative essay edited for free.

Narrative essays are an extensive form of writing that gives readers the opportunity to follow along as a person goes through a journey or sets of experiences. Rather than providing analytic insight, narrative essays simply share a story and offer a first-person account. These essays may seem easy to write at first, but it takes a certain finesse to write a narrative essay that is interesting, cohesive, and well-researched. Whether you’re looking for a unique topic to write about, or just want some new inspiration, CollegeVine is here to help! These 50 narrative essay topics are engaging, unique and will have you writing in no time.

A narrative essay is a great way to express your personal experiences and opinions, but it is important to remember that this type of essay is different from an analytical paper. In a narrative essay, you do not need to provide background information or explain your thoughts and feelings; instead, you simply tell a story. It’s important to avoid too much telling in your writing; instead, use creative details and vivid imagery to make readers feel as if they are actually right there with you.

Where You Will Encounter Narrative Essays

This type of essay is typically encountered in high school, where students may be required to write personal statements to prepare for their Common App essay . Narrative essays are also commonly seen in AP Language and Composition. Therefore, it’s important you are aware of the style because you are bound to have a narrative essay assignment.  

Of course, before you start writing, it is important to pick the right essay topic. There are many factors involved in the process of picking the perfect narrative essay topic for your story.

You should always choose a topic that you are passionate about, since writing on something you care about will make the process much easier. Not only will it be more interesting to create your paper around something that truly interests you, but it will also allow you to fully express yourself in your essay. You also want to be sure that the topic has enough material to work with. If your chosen topic is too short, you will not have enough content to write a complete paper. For example, if you are writing about your experience getting lost at the mall, make sure that you have enough information to work with to craft an engaging narrative. 

The best topic for an engaging narrative essay is one that focuses on showing versus telling, has a clear structure, and provides a dialogue. These elements come together to form an engaging narrative essay. Regardless of what subject you pick, any topic may be turned into a fascinating, A+ worthy narrative using the tips below.

Show, Don’t Tell

To write a good narrative essay, it’s important to show, not tell. Instead of simply informing your audience, show them what you mean. For example, instead of saying “I was nervous,” you could say “My heart began to race and my stomach filled with butterflies.” Also make sure to use sensory details, such as sights, sounds and tastes, and include a personal reflection at the end of your narrative. 

Begin with a Strong Opening Line

A good narrative essay will begin with an attention-grabbing opening line. But make sure to avoid common clichés, such as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Instead, come up with something original and specific to you and your situation. For example: “My pre-calc teacher was obsessed with circles. I mean, he even used circular note cards.” Or, “It all started the day my mom brought home a guinea pig.”

Follows a Three-Act Structure

A strong narrative essay follows the same three-act structure as other essays. But in order to make it interesting, you’ll need to come up with a creative way to break things down into sections. For example, using the guinea pig example from above, you could write the following:

  • Act 1 – Introduction: The day my mom brought home a guinea pig.
  • Act 2 – Conflict: The day I had to say goodbye to my beloved pet.
  • Act 3 – Conclusion: Looking back at how much I miss him now that he’s gone.

Conclude with Personal Reflection

To conclude your narrative essay, you’ll want to explain what this specific experience taught you or how you’ve changed. For example, upon realizing that her pre-calc teacher was obsessed with circles, the writer of the previous example begins to notice circular shapes everywhere. Another way to conclude your narrative essay is by touching on how this experience impacted you emotionally. For example, after losing his guinea pig, the writer explains how much he missed it.

Use Dialogue

Include a conversation in your essay to make it come alive. For example, instead of simply saying that you met a new friend, talk about how you introduced yourselves or what they were wearing when you met them.

short narrative essay sample pdf high school

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The following list of 50 narrative essay topics is divided into categories. This will make it easier to find a topic that fits your writing style.

1. What is a childhood song that still sticks with you today?

2. Your first day of Kindergarten

3. Talk about a time when you’re siblings looked up to you

4. Describe the best birthday party you’ve ever had

5. Talk about the best day you ever spent with a childhood friend

6. Explain your first childhood hobby

7. Describe your first halloween costume

8. A family vacation gone wrong

9. Your first family reunion

10. Describe a tradition that is unique to your family

11. Describe your family to a person who’s never met them before

12. What frustrates you most about your family

13. If you could only keep one memory of your family, what would it be and why?

14. Describe a time your family embarrassed you in public

15. The most beautiful place in the world

16. Your favorite season and why

17. If you were a part of nature, what element would you be? Why?

18. When you go outside, which of your senses are you most thankful to have?

19. Describe the first time you witnessed a tornado 

20. Write a poem about your favorite season

21. Describe yourself as one of the four seasons

22. Describe a time in which you felt connected with nature

23. Describe the first time you played an instrument and how you felt

24. What major event would be much worse if music was removed, and why?

25. If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?

26. What would a life without music look like?

27. If you could master one instrument, what would it be and why?

Relationships

28. What if you had never met your best friend?

29. Describe a time when you fixed a broken relationship

30. Talk about a movie that defined a relationship for you

31. Describe your first date

32. Describe the first time you made a friend

33. Describe your relationship with your parents

Self Reflection

34. Have you ever fooled someone? If so, describe what happened and how you felt about it

35. What is the worst thing you’ve done to someone else?

36. Write about the difference between how things seem and how they really are. 

37. Have you ever been embarrassed in some way? If so, describe the situation and how it affected you as well as those around you

38. Have you ever witnessed something really beautiful? Describe it

39. Is your glass half empty or half full?

Overcoming Adversity 

40. Have you ever been very afraid of something but tried your hardest to appear fearless? If so, describe that experience

41. When have you ever succeeded when you thought you might fail

42. What are your secret survival strategies?

43. Describe the last time you were stressed and why?

44. Describe a time when you were discriminated against

45. The most memorable class you’ve had and why

46. Your favorite study abroad memory

47. Describe your kindergarten classroom

48. Describe your first teacher

49. The first time you experienced detention

50. Your first field trip

Hopefully these topics will get you thinking about a personal experience that could make for a thoughtful and engaging narrative essay. Remember, a strong narrative essay must contain relatable details and a clear flow that keeps the reader entertained and engaged to read all the way to the end.

If you need some additional guidance on your narrative essay, use CollegeVine’s free peer review essay tool to get feedback for free!

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3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

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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.

body_fair

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.

body_moth

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.

body_baldwin

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.

What’s Next?

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 !

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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.

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  • How to write a narrative essay | Example & tips

How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .

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Table of contents

What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.

When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.

These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.

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Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.

  • Write a story about your first day of school.
  • Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.

You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.

  • Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
  • Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?

In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.

Narrative essays in college applications

When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.

For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.

In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.

An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.

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.

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If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

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.

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Home — Essay Types — Personal Narrative Essay

Personal Narrative Essay Examples

In the realm of personal narrative essays, personal narrative essay examples serve as a compelling platform for individuals to share their unique stories, experiences, and perspectives. These essays are more than just pieces of personal history; they are windows into the human condition. However, a key factor in crafting a memorable personal narrative essay lies in selecting the right topic. In this article, we'll delve into the art of choosing personal narrative essay topics and explore their significance in creating a meaningful and engaging narrative.

Finding Ideas for a Personal Narrative Essay

The first step in the journey of crafting a captivating personal narrative essay is finding ideas and inspiration. Inspiration often resides within our own lives and experiences:

  • Reflecting on Personal Experiences: Personal narrative essays draw their strength from real-life encounters and observations. Take time to reflect on moments that have left a lasting impact on you.
  • Exploring Emotions and Memories: Emotions are the lifeblood of personal narratives. Recall events that stirred powerful emotions within you, whether it was joy, fear, anger, or love.
  • Identifying Life-Changing Moments: Sometimes, our most profound stories revolve around events that changed the course of our lives. Identify these turning points and consider how they have shaped you.

By utilizing these ideas for a personal narrative essay, you will unlock a wealth of storytelling potential. Reflecting on personal experiences , exploring emotions and memories, and identifying life-changing moments will enable you to tap into the richness of your own life.

Popular Personal Narrative Essay Ideas and Topics

Now, let's explore some popular personal narrative essay ideas that encompass a wide range of experiences and emotions:

Childhood Memories

  • First Day of School : Delve into the nerves, excitement, and anticipation of your very first day of school. What did it teach you about resilience and adaptability?
  • A Memorable Family Vacation: Share the details of a family vacation that etched memories into your heart. What made it unforgettable, and how did it shape your bond with your family?
  • A Childhood Friendship: Reflect on a cherished childhood friendship. Explore the lessons you learned about trust, loyalty, and the bittersweet passage of time.

Life-changing Experiences

  • Overcoming a Fear or Phobia: Narrate an experience where you conquered a deep-seated fear or phobia. What steps did you take, and what did it reveal about your inner strength?
  • A Pivotal Life Decision: Share the story of a critical decision that altered the course of your life. What factors weighed on your choice, and what did you gain or lose?
  • An Unexpected Adventure: Recount an unexpected adventure that took you out of your comfort zone. What challenges did you face, and how did you grow as a person?

Personal Growth and Reflection

  • A Lesson Learned from a Mistake: Explore a mistake you made and the valuable lesson it taught you. How did this experience shape your decision-making and personal growth?
  • Achieving a Personal Goal: Celebrate the journey of achieving a personal goal. Reflect on the obstacles you overcame and the determination that fueled your success.
  • A Moment of Self-Discovery: Share a moment when you discovered something profound about yourself. How did this newfound self-awareness impact your life and relationships?

Tips for Choosing the Right Topic

When it comes to selecting topics for personal narratives, making the right choice is essential to craft a compelling and meaningful story. Your chosen topic forms the foundation of your narrative, shaping its tone, relevance, and impact on your readers. Selecting the right personal narrative essay topics is crucial. Here are some tips to guide your choice:

  • Connecting with Your Audience: Consider your target audience and choose a topic that will resonate with them. Your narrative should evoke emotions and experiences that your readers can relate to.
  • The Importance of Authenticity: Authenticity is the key to a compelling personal narrative. Choose a topic that genuinely reflects your experiences and emotions. Readers can sense when a story is authentic.
  • Balancing Significance and Relatability: While dramatic events make for engaging narratives, even seemingly small moments can hold immense significance. Balance the significance of the event with its relatability to your audience.

In the realm of personal narrative essays, the choice of topic serves as the foundation upon which the narrative is built. It determines whether your story will resonate with readers and leave a lasting impression. Personal narrative essay examples can illustrate how a well-chosen topic can make your narrative more engaging and relatable. As we conclude this exploration of personal narrative essay topics, remember that your life is a treasure trove of stories waiting to be shared. Whether it's a childhood memory, a life-changing experience, or a moment of self-discovery, the power of your narrative lies in your ability to choose the right topic and let your unique voice shine through. So, embrace your experiences, and embark on a journey of storytelling that captivates, inspires, and connects with others.

Embark on a journey through this writing guide, where personal narrative examples aren’t merely presented; they leap off the page, enveloping us in a world where stories don’t just speak—they roar, resonate, and sometimes, perform a whimsical dance. In this realm, personal narrative examples serve as our guideposts, illuminating the path to crafting narratives that are as authentic as they are compelling.

What is a Personal Narrative Essay Examples

A personal narrative essay is a type of essay that tells a story from the author’s own life experiences and perspectives. It is a form of creative nonfiction in which the author shares a personal story, event, or incident that holds meaning or significance. Personal narrative essays often aim to engage the reader by providing a vivid and emotional account of the author’s experiences.

When crafting a personal narrative essay, it’s essential to find valuable personal narrative essay examples to guide you. This type of writing demands a unique approach, where external research is unnecessary. Draw from your personal experiences and explore your ideas from a personal point of view. The purpose of such essays is to let you work on a certain topic by using analysis and by turning to reflective writing practices. 

The examples of personal narrative essays may relate to anything from bullying to the way social media affects our perception of body image in a negative way. Likewise, if you are majoring in Journalism or Political Sciences, you may take any topic that would relate to what you are currently exploring unless you have already been provided with an essay prompt. In either case, you must take your time to focus on your opinion and things that inspire you the most. If you can keep your writing interesting and unique, it will always show as you write.

Personal narrative essays are a popular form of writing that allow individuals to share their personal experiences, stories, and insights. In the infographics we’ve prepared, you can find a most common types of personal narrative essays:

Types of Personal Narrative Essays

These are some of the most common types of personal narrative essays, each with its unique focus and storytelling approach. The choice of type depends on the author’s personal experiences and the message they want to convey.

How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay

Writing a personal narrative essay is a creative and introspective process that enables you to share a piece of your life with others. If you’re wondering how to write a personal narrative essay, here are 5 key steps to help you get started:

  • Choose a Meaningful Experience : Select a personal experience that has had a significant impact on your life. Whether it’s a moment of growth, a life-changing event, or a cherished memory, pick a topic that resonates with you.
  • Plan Your Narrative : Create an outline to organize your thoughts. Highlight the main events or moments you want to include and decide on the order in which you’ll present them. This will provide structure to your essay.
  • Engage Your Audience : Craft a captivating introduction that immediately grabs the reader’s attention. You can use vivid descriptions, a compelling question, or a thought-provoking quote. Establish the setting and context to draw the reader into your story.
  • Tell Your Story : In the body of your essay, narrate your story chronologically. Describe the events, emotions, and thoughts you experienced. Utilize descriptive language to create a vivid picture for the reader, immersing them in your narrative.
  • Reflect and Conclude : Conclude your essay by reflecting on the significance of the experience. Share what you’ve learned, how it has affected you, and the message or insight you want to leave with your reader. Summarize the key points to make a lasting impression.

Writing a personal narrative essay allows you to share your unique experiences and connect with your audience on a personal level. By carefully selecting your topic, crafting a compelling narrative, and reflecting on its importance, you can create an impactful and memorable essay. If you’re looking for an example of a personal narrative essay , studying well-crafted essays can provide valuable insights into the structure and storytelling techniques that make them effective.

Incorporating these steps into your writing process will help you craft a compelling and meaningful personal narrative essay that resonates with your audience.

Writing a Personal Narrative Essay: Tips and Tricks

Writing a personal narrative is an art form that invites readers into your world, offering them a glimpse of your experiences, emotions, and reflections. Whether you’re crafting a personal narrative essay for a class, a publication, or your satisfaction, the following tips and tricks, illustrated with personal narrative essay examples, can help you create a compelling and resonant story.

  • Start with a Strong Hook. Engage your readers from the very beginning with a captivating hook. This could be a thought-provoking question, a surprising fact, or a vivid scene. For example, a personal narrative example might begin with a dramatic moment that immediately places the reader in the heart of the story.
  • Focus on a Significant Moment. A personal narrative should center around a significant moment or series of events that had a profound impact on you. This doesn’t have to be a life-altering event, but it should be meaningful enough to warrant exploration. Personal narrative essay examples often highlight a turning point that offers insight into the writer’s growth or change.
  • Include Sensory Details. Bring your story to life with sensory details. Describe what you saw, heard, smelled, touched, and tasted to help the reader experience the event as you did. A personal narrative essay example might describe the aroma of a grandmother’s kitchen or the texture of a rough sea to immerse the reader fully.
  • Explore Your Emotions and Reflections. The heart of a personal narrative lies in your introspection and emotional journey. Discuss how the events affected you, what you learned, and how you changed. Personal narrative essay examples excel when they delve deep into the writer’s emotional landscape, offering honest and relatable reflections.
  • Use Dialogue Effectively . Incorporating dialogue can add dynamism to your narrative, bringing characters to life and moving the story forward. Ensure that the dialogue sounds natural and contributes to the development of the story or the understanding of the characters. A well-chosen dialogue in a personal narrative example can illustrate a relationship or a pivotal moment vividly.
  • Structure Your Narrative with Care. While a personal narrative may not follow a traditional plot structure, having a clear beginning, middle, and end is crucial. Lead your readers through the events with a purposeful narrative arc, guiding them toward the resolution or the main point of your story. Personal narrative examples show how an effectively structured narrative can enhance the impact of the story.
  • Revise and Edit. A great personal narrative doesn’t just happen on the first draft. Revise your work for clarity, coherence, and conciseness. Pay attention to grammar and punctuation, and consider feedback from readers to refine your narrative. Personal narrative essay examples that resonate the most are often those that have been carefully polished.
  • Reflect on the Universality of Your Experience . While a personal narrative is inherently personal, reflecting on the universal themes within your story can connect with a broader audience. Consider how your personal experiences touch on larger truths or common human experiences. A personal narrative essay that captures universal themes becomes relatable and impactful.

By following these tips and tricks and studying personal narrative essay examples, you can craft a personal narrative that not only tells your story but also touches the hearts and minds of your readers. Remember, a personal narrative is a gift of your perspective, a glimpse into your world that can enlighten, entertain, and inspire.

How to Structure a Personal Narrative Essay: Examples

Turning to personal narrative structure , you are mostly allowed to approach a free style where you may keep your narration according to your preferences, yet it’s recommended to keep your topics narrowed down to a certain period of time or a take on things if that speaks of your life’s experience. To create an engaging and well-structured personal narrative essay , follow these essential elements:

  • Introduction : Set the Stage
  • Start with a hook: Begin your essay with an attention-grabbing sentence or anecdote that draws readers in.
  • Provide context: Introduce the setting, time, and place of your story.
  • Present the thesis statement: Clearly state the main idea or message you want to convey through your narrative.
  • Background Information : Build the Foundation
  • Offer background details: Provide essential information about the characters, setting, and circumstances relevant to your story.
  • Develop characters: Describe the key individuals involved, including yourself, if applicable.
  • Plot Development : Unfold the Story
  • Sequence events: Organize the events of your narrative in chronological order to maintain clarity.
  • Build tension: Use rising action to create anticipation and interest in the narrative.
  • Climax: Present the turning point or the most significant moment of your story.
  • Descriptive Detail s: Paint a Vivid Picture
  • Utilize sensory imagery: Engage readers’ senses by describing sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings.
  • Use vivid language: Employ descriptive adjectives and metaphors to enhance the reader’s understanding of your experiences.
  • Reflection and Analysis : Share Insights
  • Reflect on the significance: Explain why the experience was meaningful or how it impacted you.
  • Offer personal insights: Share your thoughts, emotions, and personal growth resulting from the experience.
  • Conclusion : Wrap It Up
  • Summarize the story: Provide a concise summary of the main events and their outcomes.
  • Reinforce the thesis: Reiterate the key message or lesson learned.
  • End with a powerful closing: Leave readers with a thought-provoking statement, a lesson, or a reflection.
  • Editing and Proofreading : Polish Your Essay
  • Revise for clarity: Ensure the narrative flows smoothly and is easy to follow.
  • Check for grammar and spelling errors: Use tools like Grammarly to eliminate mistakes.
  • Seek feedback: Have someone else review your essay for constructive input.
  • Title : Choose an Engaging Title
  • Craft a title that captures the essence of your narrative and intrigues potential readers.

Remember, personal narrative essays allow you to share your unique experiences and perspectives, making them compelling and relatable to your audience. By following this structured approach, you can create a well-crafted and engaging personal narrative essay.

How to Start a Personal Narrative Essay

Starting a personal narrative essay can be both exciting and challenging. To help you embark on this writing journey effectively, here are 5 key points on how to start a personal narrative essay :

P1. Choose an Engaging Topic: Begin by selecting a compelling and personal experience as your essay’s focus. Reflect on moments from your life that had an impact, taught you a lesson, or evoked strong emotions. Your chosen topic should resonate with both you and your potential readers.

P2. Create a Captivating Hook: Grab your readers’ attention right from the start. You can use a catchy anecdote, a thought-provoking question, a relevant quote, or a vivid description to engage your audience. The hook sets the tone for your narrative.

P3. Develop a Clear Thesis Statement: In a personal narrative essay, your thesis statement should convey the central message or lesson you want to share through your story. It serves as a roadmap for your essay, guiding both you and your readers throughout the narrative.

P4. Organize Your Ideas: Outline the main events and details you want to include in your essay. Ensure a logical flow of events, from the introduction to the climax and resolution. Organizing your thoughts beforehand will make the writing process smoother.

P5. Show, Don’t Just Tell: Use descriptive language and vivid imagery to paint a picture for your readers. Let them experience the emotions and sensations you felt during the event. Showcasing your experiences through sensory details helps create a more immersive narrative.

By following these 5 key points on how to start a personal narrative essay , you can begin your essay-writing journey with confidence and captivate your readers from the very beginning.

Personal Narrative Examples to Inspire Your Writing

A personal narrative essay example , such as this personal narrative essay example about life , is a written piece that serves as an illustration or personal narrative essay sample. It is a real-life essay that an author has written to share a personal experience or story, often in the first-person perspective.

Free personal narrative essay examples are used to demonstrate how to structure and craft a personal narrative essay, showcase effective storytelling techniques, and provide inspiration and guidance to other writers who may be working on their own personal narratives. They are valuable resources for both students and writers looking to understand the art of personal storytelling and how to effectively convey their own experiences through essays.

Good Personal Narrative Essay Samples

Good examples of personal narratives serve as effective tools for enhancing your comprehension. Here are some excellently crafted narrative essay examples. Take the time to thoroughly analyze them and leverage their guidance to create a well-written essay of your own.

Short Free Personal Narrative Essay Examples

Dive into these brief yet impactful stories for inspiration and insights into crafting your own compelling personal narratives.

Examples of Personal Narrative Essays for College

These narratives delve into diverse experiences, offering valuable insights and storytelling inspiration for those navigating the world of higher education. Dive into these narratives to discover the power of personal storytelling in a college context.

Personal Narrative Essay Examples for High School

These narratives are tailored to resonate with high school students, providing a valuable glimpse into personal experiences, challenges, and moments of growth.

Checklist for Writing a Personal Narrative Essay

While it is considered that no thesis statement is necessary for a personal narrative essay, you should keep your main thought throughout as you deal with a certain topic. See our free personal narrative essay examples and brainstorm various ideas before you start. Don’t forget to check our helpful checklist to make sure that you follow the general structure rules for this essay: 

  • You write in the first person.
  • Your tone is narrative and explanatory where and if necessary.
  • You keep up with the same idea and avoid vague statements.
  • You have a strong hook or some fact in your introduction.
  • You bring out a moral lesson in your conclusion part.
  • There are transitions and topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph. ( Use words like “Therefore”, “As a result of”)

Although it’s a personal narrative, make sure that you choose your topic wisely by exploring the objectives and checking your grading rubric twice! 

Exploring the Essence of Personal Narrative Examples

Diving into today’s exploration, we’ve encountered the enchanting essence of personal narratives. Far from mere storytelling, these narratives act as vibrant conduits for conveying messages, rendering abstract ideas tangible, and forging authentic human connections. Whether deployed in a polished professional presentation, a candid conversation, or the draft of your latest writing endeavor, the strategic integration of a well-crafted story can significantly amplify your message.

Navigating the art of personal storytelling requires a balanced approach—aim for authenticity without veering into the realm of TMI (Too Much Information), and strive to captivate without tipping into melodrama. The arenas for employing these personal narratives are boundless. Whether in formal professional environments or spontaneous casual interactions, a memorable story can leave a lasting impression, elevating you in the minds of your audience.

The Joy of the Catch: A Personal Narrative on Fishing

Fishing is often regarded as a serene pastime, a chance to connect with nature and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, for me, catching my first fish was more than just a leisure activity; it was a transformative experience that instilled in…

The Echoes of Loss: A Personal Narrative on Anna Garcia’s Death

Introduction The death of a loved one is a profound and transformative experience, often leaving an indelible mark on those who remain. The passing of Anna Garcia, a cherished friend, and confidante, was a moment that significantly altered the course of my life. Her untimely…

Reflections on a Golden Summer: My Childhood Story

Introduction Childhood is often regarded as a golden period in one’s life, a time when the world is full of possibilities and each day brings new adventures. Reflecting on my own childhood, I am transported back to a summer that was filled with joy, innocence,…

Personal Narrative Drivers Ed

Learning to drive is often seen as a rite of passage for many teenagers. It represents newfound freedom, independence, and an essential step towards adulthood. This essay explores the personal journey of acquiring driving skills through a Drivers Education (Drivers Ed) program, reflecting on the…

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From Familiar Shores to New Horizons: My Journey to Shanghai

Introduction Moving to a new city, especially one as dynamic and culturally rich as Shanghai, is an experience that can shape one’s life in profound ways. This essay recounts my personal narrative of relocating from my hometown to Shanghai, a move that encompassed a blend…

Envisioning My Dream House: A Personal Narrative

Introduction Dreams often serve as the canvas upon which our deepest desires and aspirations are painted. Among these dreams, the vision of a dream house holds a special place, encapsulating not only the essence of comfort and luxury but also the embodiment of one’s personal…

Echoes in the Deep: My Encounter with the Humpback Whale

Introduction The allure of the ocean has always been a powerful force, a vast, uncharted territory that beckons the curious and the adventurous. Among its many wonders, the humpback whale stands out as a symbol of nature’s majesty and mystery. My personal encounter with a…

The Transformative Experience of a Camping Trip

Introduction Personal narratives serve as a powerful tool to reflect on individual experiences and derive meaning from them. Engaging in a camping trip offers a unique platform for such reflections, blending the serenity of nature with the challenges of outdoor living. This essay delves into…

Personal Narrative Paper: My Dream Car

Introduction Throughout my life, the concept of a “dream car” has evolved alongside my personal growth and changing tastes. As a child, I was fascinated by the flashy colors and sleek designs of sports cars, inspired by television shows and toy collections. In my teenage…

Embracing Another Opportunity: A Journey of Resilience and Growth

Introduction Opportunities often come in the most unexpected forms, sometimes disguised as setbacks or challenges. The ability to recognize and seize these moments can significantly alter the trajectory of one’s life. This essay delves into a personal narrative that encapsulates the essence of embracing another…

What is a personal narrative essay?

In most cases, you must take ideas that deal with a personal narrative that can be a story from your life or a case that you have been involved in. You should write from the first person. Personal narrative examples include writing about your birthday or meeting your best friend in middle school. The topics should inspire you and have a beginning with a hook sentence, content, and a conclusion.

How to write personal narrative essays?

Regardless of what subject you may write about, most personal narrative essays should include an argumentation or a lesson. Ask yourself about what can your audience learn when reading your story. It may be a little difficult to write at first, yet start with a brief introduction, thesis, and a story itself with a powerful conclusion. See our free personal narrative essay to see how it can be done right.

What is the purpose of a personal narrative essay?

The primary purpose is to share a personal experience or story, allowing readers to connect with the author on a deeper level. It may also convey a lesson, moral, or reflection.

How do I choose a topic for my personal narrative essay?

Select a topic that holds personal significance, such as a life-changing event, memorable journey, or lesson learned. Choose something that resonates with you.

What makes a personal narrative essay compelling?

Vivid descriptions, sensory details, and emotional connections make a personal narrative essay compelling. Show, don't just tell the story.

Can I write a humorous personal narrative essay?

Absolutely! Personal narrative essays can be humorous, serious, or a mix of both, depending on the tone you want to convey.

How do I conclude a personal narrative essay effectively?

Summarize the main events, reiterate the central message or lesson, and end with a thought-provoking statement or reflection.

What is the recommended word count for a personal narrative essay?

The word count can vary, but a typical personal narrative essay may range from 500 to 1,500 words. It's best to follow the guidelines provided by your instructor or publication if applicable.

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Narrative Essay Writing

Narrative Essay Examples

Cathy A.

20+ Top Narrative Essay Examples by Experts

12 min read

Published on: Apr 12, 2020

Last updated on: Mar 24, 2024

narrative essay examples

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How to Write a Narrative Essay in Simple Steps

Interesting Narrative Essay Topics and Ideas

Personal Narrative Essay - Easy Guide & Examples

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Narrative essays are a common assignment in school, but many students struggle to write them. 

The problem with narrative essays is that they can be difficult to write. They require students to think about their own experiences and to put those experiences into words. This can be a challenge, especially for students who are not used to writing about themselves.

The solution to the problem of writing narrative essays is to provide students with examples. By reading examples of narrative essays, students can see how other students have successfully written about their own experiences. 

In this blog post, we will provide you with examples of narrative essays.By the end of this blog post, you will have a better understanding of how to write a narrative essay.

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Before writing, go through narrative essay examples to ensure that outlining and formatting are done correctly. Moreover, looking at examples will allow the writer to understand sensory details and vocabulary to describe events, settings, characters, and emotions.

Here are some famous narrative essays that you can consider adding to your reading wishlist:

“A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift

“Once More to the Lake” by EB White

“The Fourth of July” by Audre Lorde

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

“The Crisis” by Thomas Paine

But it doesn't end here! To help our students, CollegeEssay.org has gathered many other narrative essay sample. These examples will help you learn the correct formation of a narrative essay.

Read on to discover!

Personal Narrative Essay Example

Are you looking for a sample to draft a personal narrative essay ? Go through the example provided below to understand how the first-person and third-person perspectives are used in a narrative essay.

Sample Personal Narrative Essay

Narrative Essay Example for Middle School

A narrative essay is frequently assigned to middle school students to assess their writing and creative skills. If you are a student looking for a sample narrative essay for your middle school assignment, go through the example provided below.

Narrative Essay Example: 7th Grade

Narrative Essay Example for Grade 8

Grade 9 Narrative Essay Example

Sample Narrative Essay Grade 12

Narrative Essay Example for High School

When drafting assignments for high school, professional writing is essential. Your essays and papers should be well structured and written in order to achieve better grades. If you are assigned a narrative essay, go through the sample provided to see how an effective essay is written.

Sample Narrative Essay For High School

Good Narrative Essay Examples for College

College essays are more complex in nature than other academic levels. They require a better understanding of the concept, following a proper writing procedure, and an outline.

Although you are to draft a narrative essay for your college assignment, make sure it is professionally written. Read the sample narrative essay provided below.


Descriptive Narrative Essay Example

If you are to draft a document on the recreation of an event, a descriptive narrative essay is written. It presents an incident that happened to the writer and the backed-up information that supports the story.

The following is a perfect example of a descriptive narrative essay.

Sample Descriptive Narrative Essay

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Literacy Narrative Essay Example

Academic assignments often require students to draft essays on education. Education is the most significant topic of discussion, and for this purpose, almost every essay type and research paper studies it.

If you are drafting a narrative essay on literacy, go through the sample provided.

Fictional Narrative Essay Example

Drafting a fictional piece of document requires a more vivid description and detail. If you are assigned a narrative essay to draft on a fictional theme, read the example provided below.

Sample Fictional Narrative Essay

The Essentials of Narrative Essays

In a narrative essay, the goal is to write a story from one person's perspective. To do this well requires incorporating all of these aspects: 

Below are some golden points that you should keep in mind when writing a narrative essay.

  • Chronological order is the most common way to present information.
  • A thesis statement has a function in an essay. This is typically evident in the opening paragraph.
  • The writer's argument is clearly communicated through the use of sensory details and vivid language.
  • This draws the reader in and makes them interested in what the writer has to say. Everything in the passage is somehow related to the main point.

How to Start a Narrative Essay?

When you start writing the narrative essay, you should follow some steps and make your writing process easy.

For your help, we gathered some steps that you should follow when starting writing the essay.

  • Choose a narrative essay topic that is engaging and interesting.
  • Do some research and then start writing the essay.
  • Create an outline.
  • Start writing the essay. The way you describe things should be creative and colorful. Thus, the reader can feel as if they are right there with what's happening.
  • Proofread the essay before submitting it.

Watch the video below for tips on how to write a narrative essay:

Narrative Essay Writing Tips 

Professional essay writers of CollegeEssay.org have gathered some tips and tricks for you to follow to make your narrative essay remarkable. Even if you are aware of the writing procedure, it is advised to use expert tips to make your documents flawless. 

Follow the tips provided below to draft an exceptional narrative essay.

  • Clear Content: The narrative essay content should be clear. All the details and descriptions provided should be readable and understandable by the audience. Avoid using complex words and distribute content into paragraphs.
  • Keep it concise: Avoid describing every minor detail or movement. Provide only explanations that are important for the readers to imagine. 
  • Use first-person perspective: To make something believable and interesting for the readers, state it from the first-person perspective. Share your personal experiences, stories, and opinions to make the content impactful. 
  • Use limited referencing: When drafting an essay, according to the instructed format, avoid using frequent in-text citations. 
  • Use Clear Stance: Write your point of view clearly, so the readers feel that it is a genuine piece of writing. 

Keep in mind that a narrative essay is different from an expository essay but the same as a descriptive essay .  

In conclusion,

Using the tips provided by the professionals and going through the narrative essay examples will let you draft an effective paper. 

Looking for top-tier essay writing help online ?

Our narrative essay writing service offers unparalleled expertise to bring your stories to life with clarity and creativity.

Also, elevate your writing journey with the best essay writer , our AI-driven tool that combines cutting-edge technology with user-friendly functionality. Experience the blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern innovation in your next essay. Try it now!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is a narrative paragraph.

Paragraphs vary in length depending on the content, but a standard 5-sentence paragraph usually isn't enough to tell an interesting story. 

How do I write a narrative essay?

Here are some steps that will help you to write a great narrative essay. 

  • Consider the topic 
  • Start writing the draft 
  • Provide supporting facts 
  • Revise your essay 

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  • 5 Common Types of High School Essays (With Examples)
  • Last modified 2024-04-01
  • Published on 2021-08-28

When it comes to high school essays, descriptive and narrative essays are very similar in the sense that they encourage writers to be creative in expressing their ideas. Expository and argumentative essays focus on providing clear information and making compelling points. Analytical essays require writers to present their arguments and are intended to enhance readers’ understanding of a topic, while persuasive writers try to persuade readers to accept a point of view.

In this article, we will go into detail about each one to help you better define the type and the writing method when you start writing.

1. Descriptive high school essays

A descriptive essay asks writers to describe something vividly —object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc., but more commonly, you will be asked to describe something abstract —emotions, experiences, or something outside of your typical experience.

A descriptive essay allows writers to be creative and have the freedom to express, especially when the topic is personal about them and what they care about, such as their favorite food or culture. Even though this sounds easy, this type of essay tests the writer’s ability to make appropriate word choices and have strong creativity to help readers visualize the overall picture of what they are writing about. A descriptive essay normally starts with introducing the subject or object of description, continuing with giving an overall picture, and then going into details. Additionally, understanding different points of view, as detailed in the Guide to Point of View in Writing , can greatly enhance the descriptive elements of the essay, providing varied perspectives and enriching the reader’s experience

Below is an example of a descriptive essay from Yourdictionary :

I watched a thunderstorm, far out over the sea. It began quietly, and with nothing visible except tall dark clouds and a rolling tide. There was just a soft murmur of thunder as I watched the horizon from my balcony. Over the next few minutes, the clouds closed and reflected lightning set the rippling ocean aglow. The thunderheads had covered up the sun, shadowing the vista. It was peaceful for a long time.

I was looking up when the first clear thunderbolt struck. It blazed against the sky and sea; I could see its shape in perfect reverse colors when I blinked. More followed. The thunder rumbled and stuttered as if it could hardly keep up. There were openings in the cloud now, as if the sky were torn, and spots of brilliant blue shone above the shadowed sea.

I looked down then, watching the waves. Every bolt was answered by a moment of spreading light on the surface. The waves were getting rough, rising high and crashing hard enough that I could hear them.

Then came the rain. It came all at once and in sheets, soaking the sand, filling the sea. It was so dense I could only see the lightning as flashes of light. It came down so hard the thunder was drowned. Everything was rhythmic light and shadow, noise and silence, blending into a single experience of all five senses.

In an instant it stopped. The storm broke. The clouds came apart like curtains. The rain still fell, but softly now. It was as if there had never been a storm at all, except for a single signature. A rainbow, almost violently bright, spread above and across the water. I could see the horizon again.

2. Narrative Essay

A narrative high school essay is similar to a descriptive essay but focuses more on the story description rather than the object description. The story can be about a personal experience that the writer has had, an event, a story, or an incident. Writers can even narrate a fictional experience that they haven’t had. Narrative essays are typically written in the first person. For example, the personal statement high school students must write for college applications.

The purpose of a narrative essay is not only to tell a story, but also to highlight the importance of the experience. Therefore, to write a perfect narrative essay, writers must include the elements of settings, context, plot, ending, and climax.

We have an example from a student’s work, which was published on the blog: People’s Republic of Creativity

Glup, glup.

I sat watching the plunger slowly make its way down the tube and into Miriam’s body. Inside the tube was a clear unknown liquid that would soon be injected into my own body. This was the third time this week, the twelfth time this month, and who knows how many times since we have been trapped in this hell on earth. Each day, we have only been given the bare minimum of food, water, and sleep. I don’t know how much longer we can survive before deemed useless by him.

Miriam fell out of her chair and onto the cold concrete floor, screaming in pain. She scrambles for something she can grasp onto to prop her malnourished body up. Then the piercing sound just suddenly stopped. Her thin arms that look only of bones and skin drop to the ground and she lay still on the floor, as if she were…dead. Please don’t tell me she’s dead! No, she couldn’t be; we promised each other to live until the day of liberation.

She needs to live.

It was my turn. He walked over with a syringe full of what had just been injected into Miriam. I try to focus on the red, black, and white badge on his left arm instead of letting the fear crawl in and take over my brain. But the unsettling tension stirs my thoughts around and around.

“Twin A1387, let’s hope what happened to your sister doesn’t happen to you.” He smirked. The needle pierced through my skin and my body was suddenly aflame. The raging blaze spread through every one of my veins, until I was shrouded in darkness.

When I opened my eyes again, I found myself in an empty confinement. The space next to me, the space for Miriam, was empty too. Where was everyone? Most importantly, where was Miriam?

I got up and set my bare foot onto the dirty, wooden floor. Suddenly, my head started spinning and along with it, the world spun too. I fell to the ground, and when I could finally lift my head, what I saw above me terrified me. It was him, death in human form, and beside him were four of his helpers. They grabbed my arms and forced me to stand up.

“Good morning A1387. I am afraid your dear twin sister couldn’t handle the injections from yesterday. Let’s hope your fragile little limbs can endure those chemicals. I wonder how many more injections it will take for you to meet your pathetic sister,” he said, patting my head. His tone was playful, but deadly.

I froze. What? Miriam…dead? That one word, “twins”, has taken away everything of what feels like my past life, and now my last hope? I felt a surge of anger, hatred, sadness, fear, devastation swirling inside me like boiling lava in a volcano, ready to erupt. I wanted to scream, to shout, to kill him, but I couldn’t. My soft limbs felt as if they would collapse merely by trying to stand up. They would be harmless and defenceless against the Angel of Death. When he saw the hatred on my face, he started laughing hysterically and simply said, “What a shame; she was only 13. I cannot wait to see how long it will take for you to fall apart!”

3. Expository Essay

According to Purdue University , the expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. To accomplish this, writers use the method of comparison and contrast, definition, example, cause and effect, etc.

Writers are not required to argue or make a personal opinion but to present balanced and well-organized facts and figures.

In an expository essay–as the name suggests–you need to expose the particular subject in question by providing enough information. It is an informative piece of writing that provides a balanced analysis of the topic. It does not contain any personal opinion; instead, it is based on real facts and figures. Therefore, this kind of high school essay is commonly assigned in high school or college in order to test students’ familiarity with a topic and ability to convey information.

This is an example from College Board’s SAT Writing Prompt.  

In response to our world’s growing reliance on artificial light, writer Paul Bogard argues that natural darkness should be preserved in his article “Let There be dark”. He effectively builds his argument by using a personal anecdote, allusions to art and history, and rhetorical questions.

Bogard starts his article off by recounting a personal story – a summer spent on a Minnesota lake where there was “woods so dark that [his] hands disappeared before [his] eyes.” In telling this brief anecdote, Bogard challenges the audience to remember a time where they could fully amass themselves in natural darkness void of artificial light. By drawing in his readers with a personal encounter about night darkness, the author means to establish the potential for beauty, glamour, and awe-inspiring mystery that genuine darkness can possess. He builds his argument for the preservation of natural darkness by reminiscing for his readers a first-hand encounter that proves the “irreplaceable value of darkness.” This anecdote provides a baseline of sorts for readers to find credence with the author’s claims.

Bogard’s argument is also furthered by his use of allusion to art – Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” – and modern history – Paris’ reputation as “The City of Light”. By first referencing “Starry Night”, a painting generally considered to be undoubtedly beautiful, Bogard establishes that the natural magnificence of stars in a dark sky is definite. A world absent of excess artificial light could potentially hold the key to a grand, glorious night sky like Van Gogh’s according to the writer. This urges the readers to weigh the disadvantages of our world consumed by unnatural, vapid lighting. Furthermore, Bogard’s alludes to Paris as “the famed ‘city of light’”. He then goes on to state how Paris has taken steps to exercise more sustainable lighting practices. By doing this, Bogard creates a dichotomy between Paris’ traditionally alluded-to name and the reality of what Paris is becoming – no longer “the city of light”, but moreso “the city of light…before 2 AM”. This furthers his line of argumentation because it shows how steps can be and are being taken to preserve natural darkness. It shows that even a city that is literally famous for being constantly lit can practically address light pollution in a manner that preserves the beauty of both the city itself and the universe as a whole.

Finally, Bogard makes subtle yet efficient use of rhetorical questioning to persuade his audience that natural darkness preservation is essential. He asks the readers to consider “what the vision of the night sky might inspire in each of us, in our children or grandchildren?” in a way that brutally plays to each of our emotions. By asking this question, Bogard draws out heartfelt ponderance from his readers about the affecting power of an untainted night sky. This rhetorical question tugs at the readers’ heartstrings; while the reader may have seen an unobscured night skyline before, the possibility that their child or grandchild will never get the chance sways them to see as Bogard sees. This strategy is definitively an appeal to pathos, forcing the audience to directly face an emotionally-charged inquiry that will surely spur some kind of response. By doing this, Bogard develops his argument, adding gutthral power to the idea that the issue of maintaining natural darkness is relevant and multifaceted.

Writing as a reaction to his disappointment that artificial light has largely permeated the presence of natural darkness, Paul Bogard argues that we must preserve true, unaffected darkness. He builds this claim by making use of a personal anecdote, allusions, and rhetorical questioning.

4. Argumentative Essay

The argumentative high school essay is similar to the expository essay, because it requires writers to present their evidence-based arguments. Writers have to present a thesis statement, gather and evaluate evidence, and establish a position on the topic. Many people think argumentative and expository essays are the same. They belong to a similar genre, but an argumentative essay requires more research than an expository essay. An expository essay is normally used in the SAT test, because test takers are required to investigate and present points from the prompts given. An argumentative essay is generally used in a final project or a capstone, which requires length and detailed research. The essay is divided into 3 parts: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction has a topic and thesis statement, the body has evidence and arguments, and the conclusion summarizes the arguments and potential directions for future research.

Below is an example from a GRE writing answer from ETS : 

Prompt : The best ideas arise from a passionate interest in commonplace things

Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement above and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how those considerations shape your position.

Passion is clearly necessary for a truly great idea to take hold among a people—passion either

on the part of the original thinker, the audience, or ideally both. The claim that the most lucrative

subject matter for inspiring great ideas is “commonplace things” may seem initially to be counterintuitive. After all, aren’t great ideas usually marked by their extraordinary character? While this is true, their extraordinary character is as often as not directly derived from their insight into things that had theretofore gone unquestioned. While great ideas certainly can arise through seemingly pure innovation… say, for example, Big Bang cosmology, which developed nearly all of its own scientific and philosophical precepts through its own process of formation, it is nevertheless equally true that such groundbreaking thought was, and is, still largely

a reevaluation of previous assumptions to a radical degree… after all, the question of the ultimate nature of the universe, and man’s place in it, has been central to human thought since the dawn of time. Commonplace things are, additionally, necessary as material for the generation of “the best ideas” since certainly the success among an audience must be considered in evaluating the significance and quality of an idea.

The advent of Big Bang cosmology, which occurred in rudimentary form almost immediately upon Edwin Hubble’s first observations at the Hooker telescope in California during the early 20th century, was the most significant advance in mankind’s understanding of the universe in over 400 years. The seemingly simple fact that everything in the universe, on a very large scale, is moving away from everything else in fact betrays nearly all of our scientific knowledge of the origins and mechanics of the universe. This slight, one might even say commonplace, distortion of tint on a handful of photographic plates carried with it the greatest challenge to Man’s general, often religiously reinforced, conception of the nature of the world to an extent not seen since the days of Galileo. Not even Charles Darwin’s theory, though it created more of a stir than Big Bang cosmology, had such shattering implications for our conceptions of the nature of our reality. Yet it is not significant because it introduced the question of the nature of what lies beyond Man’s grasp. A tremendous number of megalithic ruins, including the Pyramids both of Mexico and Egypt, Stonehenge, and others, indicate that this question has been foremost on humankind’s collective mind since time immemorial. Big Bang cosmology is so incredibly significant in this line of reasoning exactly because of the degree to which it changed the direction of this generally held, constantly pondered, and very ancient train of thought.

Additionally, there is a diachronic significance to the advent of Big Bang cosmology, which is that, disregarding limitations such as the quality of optical devices available and the state of theoretical math, it could have happened at any point in time. That is to say, all evidence points to roughly the same raw intellectual capacity for homo sapiens throughout our history, our progress has merely depended upon the degree of it that a person happens to inherit, a pace that has been increasing rapidly since the industrial revolution. Yet this discovery had to happen at a certain point in time or another—it cannot have been happening constantly or have never happened yet still be present—and this point in time does have its own significance. That significance is precisely the fact that the aforementioned advent must have occurred at precisely the point in time at which it truly could have occurred—that is to say, it marks the point in our history when we had progressed sufficiently to begin examining, with remarkable substantiated acuity, the workings of the universe across distances that would take millions of human lifetimes to reach or to traverse. The point for the success of this advent must necessarily have been, additionally, the point at which the audience concerned was capable and prepared to accept such a radical line of reasoning.

Both factors, a radical, passionate interpretation of the commonplace and the preparedness to accept such an interpretation, are necessary for the formulation of a truly great idea. If the passion is absent from an inquiry by the thinker or by the bulk of an audience, the idea will die out if it comes to fruition at all. If the material is not sufficiently commonplace to be considered by an informed audience of sufficient size, the same two hazards exist. Given these two factors, the idea must still be found palatable and interesting by the audience if it is to hope to gain a foothold and eventually establish itself in a significant fashion.

5. Analytical Essay

An analytical essay is a writing genre that provides an in-depth analysis of a topic, ranging from art, music, and literary text to politics, science, and philosophy, etc. Analytical essays can boost a writer’s writing skills and overall comprehension of a topic while helping readers become more educated about the subjects of importance. This type of essay does not aim to persuade readers to a certain point of view but rather to provide a well-rounded and comprehensive analysis for the readers. The analytical essay is normally used in the GRE writing section.

A good analytical essay includes a thesis statement stating your main argument, followed by an analysis of your thesis and supporting evidence. Here are the 7 Steps to Write a Literary Analysis Essay .

We will take an example from a student’s work about CRISPR, a genetic engineering method. The full essay can be accessed here , but below is the preview of the essay:

No matter how much money people are willing to pay for health care, they may still suffer terribly from incurable diseases such as AIDS and cancer because of the underdevelopment of medical technology. However, today, the advancement in human knowledge has led to the introduction of human gene-editing, turning impossibility to possibility. In particular, the recent technology for genome editing called CRISPR has been having a groundbreaking impact on research in genetic science. This is due to its remarkable potential to simply cure genetic diseases in an embryo before they have a serious effect on further developmental progression. Although currently, there have been numerous debates regarding its extension in research for widespread uses, CRISPR is a completely promising technology because of the benefits it brings to people.

CRISPR, or Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, is the newest innovation in genetic engineering. The way CRISPR works is similar to “the scissor-like action of Cas 9 to target… any specific DNA sequence” (Baylis and Rossant). By making cuts in specific locations in DNA, CRISPR can cure diseases and make alterations in an embryo’s DNA, which prevent diseases from being passed down to following generations (Baylis and Rossant). Throughout the history, governments and researchers came up with different approaches politically and scientifically in attempt to control population. They hoped to encourage the “richest, wisest and healthiest to breed like rabbits” and the “sick, stupid, and poor to take one for the empire and remain childless” (Comfort 28). The second attempt happened during the 20th century, when the U.S government passed the law preventing marriage and immigration that would threaten a perceived core American “stock.” Another more extreme example was when Nazi sterilization law further advanced this population control approach. Later in the century, a biotechnological approach was established as a safer and more humane way to manage population health (qtd in Comfort 28). “Gene surgery,” which is similar to CRISPR technology, was established and followed by contentious debates regarding ethical issues between disease treatment and human trait enhancements. Currently, there has been a halt in the use of CRISPR because of the increase in concern from the public about the pros and cons of this technology.

Further reading: 

  • Where to Submit Your Writing Works: 5 Main Platforms
  • 6 Differences between High School and College Writing
  • 20 Tips to Improve Your Writing
  • Guide to Point of View in Writing
  • 10 Mistakes High School Students Make in Creative Writing
  • How to Overcome Writer’s Block in High School Writing Competitions

Aralia Writing Courses

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This class is offered in the summer every year. Students from 13 to 18 years old wanting to learn how to shape their written English into effective and publishable creative pieces will find this particular Writing Competition course very exciting. The class will be shown a range of tools to learn the nuances of controlled, purposeful writing, including: figurative language, effective structuring and specific forms that they will apply to their own pieces.

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This course helps students develop and improve their writing skills to prepare students for higher education courses. The methodology emphasizes the ability to read critically, think critically, and write critically. Students will learn informative, narrative, descriptive, creative, and persuasive essay writing skills. Students will learn how to brainstorm, structure and outline, form an argument, defend it, incorporate academic sources, and develop a clear, articulate writing style. The focus will be on the writing process, intended audience, consistent tenses, point of view, correct grammar uses, building vocabulary, appropriate style, and proper research and citation protocols.

  • Academic Tips

An In-Depth Look at American High School History Curriculum

Aralia Education is an innovative online education platform for ambitious middle and high school students worldwide. Aralia’s instructors propel students forward by helping them build a strong foundation in traditional academic courses. They also actively engage and guide students in exploring personal interests beyond their school curriculum. With this holistic approach, Aralia ensures its students are well-prepared for college and equipped for success in their future careers.

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short narrative essay sample pdf high school

Examples

High School Essay

High school essay generator.

short narrative essay sample pdf high school

Navigating the complexities of High School Essay writing can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. Our guide, infused with diverse essay examples , is designed to simplify this journey for students. High school essays are a crucial part of academic development, allowing students to express their thoughts, arguments, and creativity. With our examples, students learn to structure their essays effectively, develop strong thesis statements, and convey their ideas with clarity and confidence, paving the way for academic success.

What Is a High School Essay? A high school essay is anything that falls between a literary piece that teachers would ask their students  to write. It could be anything like an expository essay , informative essay , or a descriptive essay . High school essay is just a broad term that is used to describe anything that high school student writes, probably in subjects like English Grammar or Literature.

It is a good way to practice every student’s writing skills in writing which they might find useful when they reach college. Others might even be inspired to continue writing and take courses that are related to it.

High School Essay Bundle

Download High School Essay Bundle

When you are in high school, it is definite that you are expected to do some write-ups and projects which require pen and paper. Yes. You heard that right. Your teachers are going to let you write a lot of things starting from short stories to other things like expository essays. However, do not be intimidated nor fear the things that I have just said. It is but a normal part of being a student to write things. Well, take it from me. As far as I can recall, I may have written about a hundred essays during my entire high school years or maybe more. You may also see what are the parts of an essay?

High School Essay Format

1. introduction.

Hook: Start with an engaging sentence to capture the reader’s interest. This could be a question, a quote, a surprising fact, or a bold statement related to your topic. Background Information: Provide some background information on your topic to help readers understand the context of your essay. Thesis Statement: End the introduction with a clear thesis statement that outlines your main argument or point of view. This statement guides the direction of your entire essay.

2. Body Paragraphs

Topic Sentence: Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea of the paragraph, supporting your thesis statement. Supporting Details: Include evidence, examples, facts, and quotes to support the main idea of each paragraph. Make sure to explain how these details relate to your topic sentence and thesis statement. Analysis: Provide your analysis or interpretation of the evidence and how it supports your argument. Be clear and concise in explaining your reasoning. Transition: Use transition words or phrases to smoothly move from one idea to the next, maintaining the flow of your essay.

3. Conclusion

Summary: Begin your conclusion by restating your thesis in a new way, summarizing the main points of your body paragraphs without introducing new information. Final Thoughts: End your essay with a strong closing statement. This could be a reflection on the significance of your argument, a call to action, or a rhetorical question to leave the reader thinking.

Example of High School Essay

Community service plays a pivotal role in fostering empathy, building character, and enhancing societal well-being. It offers a platform for young individuals to contribute positively to society while gaining valuable life experiences. This essay explores the significance of community service and its impact on both individuals and communities. Introduction Community service, an altruistic activity performed for the betterment of society, is a cornerstone for personal growth and societal improvement. It not only addresses societal needs but also cultivates essential virtues in volunteers. Through community service, high school students can develop a sense of responsibility, a commitment to altruism, and an understanding of their role in the community. Personal Development Firstly, community service significantly contributes to personal development. Volunteering helps students acquire new skills, such as teamwork, communication, and problem-solving. For instance, organizing a local food drive can teach students project management skills and the importance of collaboration. Moreover, community service provides insights into one’s passions and career interests, guiding them towards fulfilling future endeavors. Social Impact Secondly, the social impact of community service cannot be overstated. Activities like tutoring underprivileged children or participating in environmental clean-ups address critical societal issues directly. These actions not only bring about immediate positive changes but also inspire a ripple effect, encouraging a culture of volunteerism within the community. The collective effort of volunteers can transform neighborhoods, making them more supportive and resilient against challenges. Building Empathy and Understanding Furthermore, community service is instrumental in building empathy and understanding. Engaging with diverse groups and working towards a common goal fosters a sense of solidarity and compassion among volunteers. For example, spending time at a senior center can bridge the generational gap, enriching the lives of both the elderly and the volunteers. These experiences teach students the value of empathy, enriching their emotional intelligence and social awareness. In conclusion, community service is a vital component of societal development and personal growth. It offers a unique opportunity for students to engage with their communities, learn valuable life skills, and develop empathy. Schools and parents should encourage students to participate in community service, highlighting its benefits not only to the community but also in shaping responsible, caring, and informed citizens. As we look towards building a better future, the role of community service in education cannot be overlooked; it is an investment in our collective well-being and the development of the next generation.

Essay Topics for High School with Samples to Edit & Download

  • Should schools have dress codes?
  • Sex education in middle school
  • Should homework be abolished?
  • College education costs
  • How does technology affect productivity?
  • Is climate change reversible?
  • Is social media helpful or harmful?
  • Climate change is caused by humans
  • Effects of social media on youth
  • Are men and women treated equally?
  • Are professional athletes overpaid?
  • Changes over the past decade
  • Guns should be more strictly regulated
  • My favorite childhood memory
  • Religion in school
  • Should we stop giving final exams?
  • Video game addiction
  • Violence in media content

High School Essay Examples & Templates

High School Essay

Free Download

High School Essay For Students

High School Essay For Students

High School Essay Outline

High School Essay Outline

High School Essay Example

High School Essay

High School Self Introduction Essay Template

High School Self Introduction Essay Template

High School Student Essay

High School Student Essay

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Reflective High School

Reflective High School

oregoncis.uoregon.edu

Argumentative Essays for High School

Argumentative Essays for High School

Informative Essays for High School

Informative Essays for High School1

High School Persuasive

High School Persuasive

writecook.com

Narrative Essays

Narrative Essays for High School

Scholarship Essays

Scholarship Essays for High School

High School Application

High School Application

e-education.psu.edu

High School Graduation Essay

High School Graduation Essay

High School Leadership Essay

High School Leadership Essay

web.extension.illinois.edu

How to Write a High School Essay

Some teachers are really not that strict when it comes to writing essay because they too understand the struggles of writing stuff like these. However, you need to know the basics when it comes to writing a high school essay.

1. Understand the Essay Prompt

  • Carefully read the essay prompt or question to understand what’s required. Identify the type of essay (narrative, persuasive, expository, etc.) and the main topic you need to address.

2. Choose a Topic

  • If the topic isn’t provided, pick one that interests you and fits the essay’s requirements. Make sure it’s neither too broad nor too narrow.

3. Conduct Research (if necessary)

  • For expository, argumentative, or research essays, gather information from credible sources to support your arguments. Take notes and organize your findings.

4. Create an Outline

  • Outline your essay to organize your thoughts and structure your arguments effectively. Include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

5. Write the Introduction

  • Start with a hook to grab the reader’s attention (a quote, a question, a shocking fact, etc.). Introduce your topic and end the introduction with a thesis statement that presents your main argument or purpose.

6. Develop Body Paragraphs

  • Each body paragraph should focus on a single idea or argument that supports your thesis. Start with a topic sentence, provide evidence or examples, and explain how it relates to your thesis.

7. Write the Conclusion

  • Summarize the main points of your essay and restate your thesis in a new way. Conclude with a strong statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Types of High School Essay

1. narrative essay.

Narrative essays tell a story from the writer’s perspective, often highlighting a personal experience or event. The focus is on storytelling, including characters, a setting, and a plot, to engage readers emotionally. This type allows students to explore creativity and expressiveness in their writing.

2. Descriptive Essay

Descriptive essays focus on detailing and describing a person, place, object, or event. The aim is to paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind using sensory details. These essays test the writer’s ability to use language creatively to evoke emotions and bring a scene to life.

3. Expository Essay

Expository essays aim to explain or inform the reader about a topic in a clear, concise manner. This type of essay requires thorough research and focuses on factual information. It’s divided into several types, such as compare and contrast, cause and effect, and process essays, each serving a specific purpose.

4. Persuasive Essay

Persuasive essays aim to convince the reader of a particular viewpoint or argument. The writer must use logic, reasoning, and evidence to support their position while addressing counterarguments. This type tests the writer’s ability to persuade and argue effectively.

5. Analytical Essay

Analytical essays require the writer to break down and analyze an element, such as a piece of literature, a movie, or a historical event. The goal is to interpret and make sense of the subject, discussing its significance and how it achieves its purpose.

6. Reflective Essay

Reflective essays are personal pieces that ask the writer to reflect on their experiences, thoughts, or feelings regarding a specific topic or experience. It encourages introspection and personal growth by examining one’s responses and learning from them.

7. Argumentative Essay

Similar to persuasive essays, argumentative essays require the writer to take a stance on an issue and argue for their position with evidence. However, argumentative essays place a stronger emphasis on evidence and logic rather than emotional persuasion.

8. Research Paper

Though often longer than a typical essay, research papers in high school require students to conduct in-depth study on a specific topic, using various sources to gather information. The focus is on presenting findings and analysis in a structured format.

Tips for High School Essays

Writing a high school essay if you have the tips on how to do essay effectively . This will give you an edge from your classmates.

  • Stay Organized: Keep your notes and sources well-organized to make the writing process smoother.
  • Be Clear and Concise: Avoid overly complex sentences or vocabulary that might confuse the reader.
  • Use Transitions: Ensure that your paragraphs and ideas flow logically by using transition words and phrases.
  • Cite Sources: If you use direct quotes or specific ideas from your research, make sure to cite your sources properly to avoid plagiarism.
  • Practice: Like any skill, essay writing improves with practice. Don’t hesitate to write drafts and experiment with different writing styles.

Importance of High School Essay

Aside from the fact that you will get reprimanded for not doing  your task, there are more substantial reasons why a high school essay is important. First, you get trained at a very young age. Writing is not just for those who are studying nor for your teachers. As you graduate from high school and then enter college (can see college essays ), you will have more things to write like dissertations and theses.

At least, when you get to that stage, you already know how to write. Aside from that, writing high essays give a life lesson. That is, patience and resourcefulness. You need to find the right resources for your essay as well as patience when finding the right inspiration to write.

How long is a high school essay?

A high school essay typically ranges from 500 to 2000 words, depending on the assignment’s requirements and the subject matter.

How do you start a personal essay for high school?

Begin with an engaging hook (an anecdote, quote, or question) that introduces your theme or story, leading naturally to your thesis or main point.

What makes a good high school essay?

A good high school essay features a clear thesis, coherent structure, compelling evidence, and personal insights, all presented in a polished, grammatically correct format.

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Text prompt

  • Instructive
  • Professional

Write a High School Essay on the importance of participating in sports.

Discuss the role of student government in high schools in a High School Essay.

Literacy Ideas

Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students

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MASTERING THE CRAFT OF NARRATIVE WRITING

Narratives build on and encourage the development of the fundamentals of writing. They also require developing an additional skill set: the ability to tell a good yarn, and storytelling is as old as humanity.

We see and hear stories everywhere and daily, from having good gossip on the doorstep with a neighbor in the morning to the dramas that fill our screens in the evening.

Good narrative writing skills are hard-won by students even though it is an area of writing that most enjoy due to the creativity and freedom it offers.

Here we will explore some of the main elements of a good story: plot, setting, characters, conflict, climax, and resolution . And we will look too at how best we can help our students understand these elements, both in isolation and how they mesh together as a whole.

Visual Writing

WHAT IS A NARRATIVE?

What is a narrative?

A narrative is a story that shares a sequence of events , characters, and themes. It expresses experiences, ideas, and perspectives that should aspire to engage and inspire an audience.

A narrative can spark emotion, encourage reflection, and convey meaning when done well.

Narratives are a popular genre for students and teachers as they allow the writer to share their imagination, creativity, skill, and understanding of nearly all elements of writing.  We occasionally refer to a narrative as ‘creative writing’ or story writing.

The purpose of a narrative is simple, to tell the audience a story.  It can be written to motivate, educate, or entertain and can be fact or fiction.

A COMPLETE UNIT ON TEACHING NARRATIVE WRITING

narrative writing | narrative writing unit 1 2 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

Teach your students to become skilled story writers with this HUGE   NARRATIVE & CREATIVE STORY WRITING UNIT . Offering a  COMPLETE SOLUTION  to teaching students how to craft  CREATIVE CHARACTERS, SUPERB SETTINGS, and PERFECT PLOTS .

Over 192 PAGES of materials, including:

TYPES OF NARRATIVE WRITING

There are many narrative writing genres and sub-genres such as these.

We have a complete guide to writing a personal narrative that differs from the traditional story-based narrative covered in this guide. It includes personal narrative writing prompts, resources, and examples and can be found here.

narrative writing | how to write quest narratives | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

As we can see, narratives are an open-ended form of writing that allows you to showcase creativity in many directions. However, all narratives share a common set of features and structure known as “Story Elements”, which are briefly covered in this guide.

Don’t overlook the importance of understanding story elements and the value this adds to you as a writer who can dissect and create grand narratives. We also have an in-depth guide to understanding story elements here .

CHARACTERISTICS OF NARRATIVE WRITING

Narrative structure.

ORIENTATION (BEGINNING) Set the scene by introducing your characters, setting and time of the story. Establish your who, when and where in this part of your narrative

COMPLICATION AND EVENTS (MIDDLE) In this section activities and events involving your main characters are expanded upon. These events are written in a cohesive and fluent sequence.

RESOLUTION (ENDING) Your complication is resolved in this section. It does not have to be a happy outcome, however.

EXTRAS: Whilst orientation, complication and resolution are the agreed norms for a narrative, there are numerous examples of popular texts that did not explicitly follow this path exactly.

NARRATIVE FEATURES

LANGUAGE: Use descriptive and figurative language to paint images inside your audience’s minds as they read.

PERSPECTIVE Narratives can be written from any perspective but are most commonly written in first or third person.

DIALOGUE Narratives frequently switch from narrator to first-person dialogue. Always use speech marks when writing dialogue.

TENSE If you change tense, make it perfectly clear to your audience what is happening. Flashbacks might work well in your mind but make sure they translate to your audience.

THE PLOT MAP

narrative writing | structuring a narrative | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

This graphic is known as a plot map, and nearly all narratives fit this structure in one way or another, whether romance novels, science fiction or otherwise.

It is a simple tool that helps you understand and organise a story’s events. Think of it as a roadmap that outlines the journey of your characters and the events that unfold. It outlines the different stops along the way, such as the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, that help you to see how the story builds and develops.

Using a plot map, you can see how each event fits into the larger picture and how the different parts of the story work together to create meaning. It’s a great way to visualize and analyze a story.

Be sure to refer to a plot map when planning a story, as it has all the essential elements of a great story.

THE 5 KEY STORY ELEMENTS OF A GREAT NARRATIVE (6-MINUTE TUTORIAL VIDEO)

This video we created provides an excellent overview of these elements and demonstrates them in action in stories we all know and love.

Story Elements for kids

HOW TO WRITE A NARRATIVE

How to write a Narrative

Now that we understand the story elements and how they come together to form stories, it’s time to start planning and writing your narrative.

In many cases, the template and guide below will provide enough details on how to craft a great story. However, if you still need assistance with the fundamentals of writing, such as sentence structure, paragraphs and using correct grammar, we have some excellent guides on those here.

USE YOUR WRITING TIME EFFECTIVELY: Maximize your narrative writing sessions by spending approximately 20 per cent of your time planning and preparing.  This ensures greater productivity during your writing time and keeps you focused and on task.

Use tools such as graphic organizers to logically sequence your narrative if you are not a confident story writer.  If you are working with reluctant writers, try using narrative writing prompts to get their creative juices flowing.

Spend most of your writing hour on the task at hand, don’t get too side-tracked editing during this time and leave some time for editing. When editing a  narrative, examine it for these three elements.

  • Spelling and grammar ( Is it readable?)
  • Story structure and continuity ( Does it make sense, and does it flow? )
  • Character and plot analysis. (Are your characters engaging? Does your problem/resolution work? )

1. SETTING THE SCENE: THE WHERE AND THE WHEN

narrative writing | aa156ee009d91a57894348652da98b58 | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

The story’s setting often answers two of the central questions in the story, namely, the where and the when. The answers to these two crucial questions will often be informed by the type of story the student is writing.

The story’s setting can be chosen to quickly orient the reader to the type of story they are reading. For example, a fictional narrative writing piece such as a horror story will often begin with a description of a haunted house on a hill or an abandoned asylum in the middle of the woods. If we start our story on a rocket ship hurtling through the cosmos on its space voyage to the Alpha Centauri star system, we can be reasonably sure that the story we are embarking on is a work of science fiction.

Such conventions are well-worn clichés true, but they can be helpful starting points for our novice novelists to make a start.

Having students choose an appropriate setting for the type of story they wish to write is an excellent exercise for our younger students. It leads naturally onto the next stage of story writing, which is creating suitable characters to populate this fictional world they have created. However, older or more advanced students may wish to play with the expectations of appropriate settings for their story. They may wish to do this for comic effect or in the interest of creating a more original story. For example, opening a story with a children’s birthday party does not usually set up the expectation of a horror story. Indeed, it may even lure the reader into a happy reverie as they remember their own happy birthday parties. This leaves them more vulnerable to the surprise element of the shocking action that lies ahead.

Once the students have chosen a setting for their story, they need to start writing. Little can be more terrifying to English students than the blank page and its bare whiteness stretching before them on the table like a merciless desert they must cross. Give them the kick-start they need by offering support through word banks or writing prompts. If the class is all writing a story based on the same theme, you may wish to compile a common word bank on the whiteboard as a prewriting activity. Write the central theme or genre in the middle of the board. Have students suggest words or phrases related to the theme and list them on the board.

You may wish to provide students with a copy of various writing prompts to get them started. While this may mean that many students’ stories will have the same beginning, they will most likely arrive at dramatically different endings via dramatically different routes.

narrative writing | story elements | Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students | literacyideas.com

A bargain is at the centre of the relationship between the writer and the reader. That bargain is that the reader promises to suspend their disbelief as long as the writer creates a consistent and convincing fictional reality. Creating a believable world for the fictional characters to inhabit requires the student to draw on convincing details. The best way of doing this is through writing that appeals to the senses. Have your student reflect deeply on the world that they are creating. What does it look like? Sound like? What does the food taste like there? How does it feel like to walk those imaginary streets, and what aromas beguile the nose as the main character winds their way through that conjured market?

Also, Consider the when; or the time period. Is it a future world where things are cleaner and more antiseptic? Or is it an overcrowded 16th-century London with human waste stinking up the streets? If students can create a multi-sensory installation in the reader’s mind, then they have done this part of their job well.

Popular Settings from Children’s Literature and Storytelling

  • Fairytale Kingdom
  • Magical Forest
  • Village/town
  • Underwater world
  • Space/Alien planet

2. CASTING THE CHARACTERS: THE WHO

Now that your student has created a believable world, it is time to populate it with believable characters.

In short stories, these worlds mustn’t be overpopulated beyond what the student’s skill level can manage. Short stories usually only require one main character and a few secondary ones. Think of the short story more as a small-scale dramatic production in an intimate local theater than a Hollywood blockbuster on a grand scale. Too many characters will only confuse and become unwieldy with a canvas this size. Keep it simple!

Creating believable characters is often one of the most challenging aspects of narrative writing for students. Fortunately, we can do a few things to help students here. Sometimes it is helpful for students to model their characters on actual people they know. This can make things a little less daunting and taxing on the imagination. However, whether or not this is the case, writing brief background bios or descriptions of characters’ physical personality characteristics can be a beneficial prewriting activity. Students should give some in-depth consideration to the details of who their character is: How do they walk? What do they look like? Do they have any distinguishing features? A crooked nose? A limp? Bad breath? Small details such as these bring life and, therefore, believability to characters. Students can even cut pictures from magazines to put a face to their character and allow their imaginations to fill in the rest of the details.

Younger students will often dictate to the reader the nature of their characters. To improve their writing craft, students must know when to switch from story-telling mode to story-showing mode. This is particularly true when it comes to character. Encourage students to reveal their character’s personality through what they do rather than merely by lecturing the reader on the faults and virtues of the character’s personality. It might be a small relayed detail in the way they walk that reveals a core characteristic. For example, a character who walks with their head hanging low and shoulders hunched while avoiding eye contact has been revealed to be timid without the word once being mentioned. This is a much more artistic and well-crafted way of doing things and is less irritating for the reader. A character who sits down at the family dinner table immediately snatches up his fork and starts stuffing roast potatoes into his mouth before anyone else has even managed to sit down has revealed a tendency towards greed or gluttony.

Understanding Character Traits

Again, there is room here for some fun and profitable prewriting activities. Give students a list of character traits and have them describe a character doing something that reveals that trait without ever employing the word itself.

It is also essential to avoid adjective stuffing here. When looking at students’ early drafts, adjective stuffing is often apparent. To train the student out of this habit, choose an adjective and have the student rewrite the sentence to express this adjective through action rather than telling.

When writing a story, it is vital to consider the character’s traits and how they will impact the story’s events. For example, a character with a strong trait of determination may be more likely to overcome obstacles and persevere. In contrast, a character with a tendency towards laziness may struggle to achieve their goals. In short, character traits add realism, depth, and meaning to a story, making it more engaging and memorable for the reader.

Popular Character Traits in Children’s Stories

  • Determination
  • Imagination
  • Perseverance
  • Responsibility

We have an in-depth guide to creating great characters here , but most students should be fine to move on to planning their conflict and resolution.

3. NO PROBLEM? NO STORY! HOW CONFLICT DRIVES A NARRATIVE

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This is often the area apprentice writers have the most difficulty with. Students must understand that without a problem or conflict, there is no story. The problem is the driving force of the action. Usually, in a short story, the problem will center around what the primary character wants to happen or, indeed, wants not to happen. It is the hurdle that must be overcome. It is in the struggle to overcome this hurdle that events happen.

Often when a student understands the need for a problem in a story, their completed work will still not be successful. This is because, often in life, problems remain unsolved. Hurdles are not always successfully overcome. Students pick up on this.

We often discuss problems with friends that will never be satisfactorily resolved one way or the other, and we accept this as a part of life. This is not usually the case with writing a story. Whether a character successfully overcomes his or her problem or is decidedly crushed in the process of trying is not as important as the fact that it will finally be resolved one way or the other.

A good practical exercise for students to get to grips with this is to provide copies of stories and have them identify the central problem or conflict in each through discussion. Familiar fables or fairy tales such as Three Little Pigs, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Cinderella, etc., are great for this.

While it is true that stories often have more than one problem or that the hero or heroine is unsuccessful in their first attempt to solve a central problem, for beginning students and intermediate students, it is best to focus on a single problem, especially given the scope of story writing at this level. Over time students will develop their abilities to handle more complex plots and write accordingly.

Popular Conflicts found in Children’s Storytelling.

  • Good vs evil
  • Individual vs society
  • Nature vs nurture
  • Self vs others
  • Man vs self
  • Man vs nature
  • Man vs technology
  • Individual vs fate
  • Self vs destiny

Conflict is the heart and soul of any good story. It’s what makes a story compelling and drives the plot forward. Without conflict, there is no story. Every great story has a struggle or a problem that needs to be solved, and that’s where conflict comes in. Conflict is what makes a story exciting and keeps the reader engaged. It creates tension and suspense and makes the reader care about the outcome.

Like in real life, conflict in a story is an opportunity for a character’s growth and transformation. It’s a chance for them to learn and evolve, making a story great. So next time stories are written in the classroom, remember that conflict is an essential ingredient, and without it, your story will lack the energy, excitement, and meaning that makes it truly memorable.

4. THE NARRATIVE CLIMAX: HOW THINGS COME TO A HEAD!

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The climax of the story is the dramatic high point of the action. It is also when the struggles kicked off by the problem come to a head. The climax will ultimately decide whether the story will have a happy or tragic ending. In the climax, two opposing forces duke things out until the bitter (or sweet!) end. One force ultimately emerges triumphant. As the action builds throughout the story, suspense increases as the reader wonders which of these forces will win out. The climax is the release of this suspense.

Much of the success of the climax depends on how well the other elements of the story have been achieved. If the student has created a well-drawn and believable character that the reader can identify with and feel for, then the climax will be more powerful.

The nature of the problem is also essential as it determines what’s at stake in the climax. The problem must matter dearly to the main character if it matters at all to the reader.

Have students engage in discussions about their favorite movies and books. Have them think about the storyline and decide the most exciting parts. What was at stake at these moments? What happened in your body as you read or watched? Did you breathe faster? Or grip the cushion hard? Did your heart rate increase, or did you start to sweat? This is what a good climax does and what our students should strive to do in their stories.

The climax puts it all on the line and rolls the dice. Let the chips fall where the writer may…

Popular Climax themes in Children’s Stories

  • A battle between good and evil
  • The character’s bravery saves the day
  • Character faces their fears and overcomes them
  • The character solves a mystery or puzzle.
  • The character stands up for what is right.
  • Character reaches their goal or dream.
  • The character learns a valuable lesson.
  • The character makes a selfless sacrifice.
  • The character makes a difficult decision.
  • The character reunites with loved ones or finds true friendship.

5. RESOLUTION: TYING UP LOOSE ENDS

After the climactic action, a few questions will often remain unresolved for the reader, even if all the conflict has been resolved. The resolution is where those lingering questions will be answered. The resolution in a short story may only be a brief paragraph or two. But, in most cases, it will still be necessary to include an ending immediately after the climax can feel too abrupt and leave the reader feeling unfulfilled.

An easy way to explain resolution to students struggling to grasp the concept is to point to the traditional resolution of fairy tales, the “And they all lived happily ever after” ending. This weather forecast for the future allows the reader to take their leave. Have the student consider the emotions they want to leave the reader with when crafting their resolution.

While the action is usually complete by the end of the climax, it is in the resolution that if there is a twist to be found, it will appear – think of movies such as The Usual Suspects. Pulling this off convincingly usually requires considerable skill from a student writer. Still, it may well form a challenging extension exercise for those more gifted storytellers among your students.

Popular Resolutions in Children’s Stories

  • Our hero achieves their goal
  • The character learns a valuable lesson
  • A character finds happiness or inner peace.
  • The character reunites with loved ones.
  • Character restores balance to the world.
  • The character discovers their true identity.
  • Character changes for the better.
  • The character gains wisdom or understanding.
  • Character makes amends with others.
  • The character learns to appreciate what they have.

Once students have completed their story, they can edit for grammar, vocabulary choice, spelling, etc., but not before!

As mentioned, there is a craft to storytelling, as well as an art. When accurate grammar, perfect spelling, and immaculate sentence structures are pushed at the outset, they can cause storytelling paralysis. For this reason, it is essential that when we encourage the students to write a story, we give them license to make mechanical mistakes in their use of language that they can work on and fix later.

Good narrative writing is a very complex skill to develop and will take the student years to become competent. It challenges not only the student’s technical abilities with language but also her creative faculties. Writing frames, word banks, mind maps, and visual prompts can all give valuable support as students develop the wide-ranging and challenging skills required to produce a successful narrative writing piece. But, at the end of it all, as with any craft, practice and more practice is at the heart of the matter.

TIPS FOR WRITING A GREAT NARRATIVE

  • Start your story with a clear purpose: If you can determine the theme or message you want to convey in your narrative before starting it will make the writing process so much simpler.
  • Choose a compelling storyline and sell it through great characters, setting and plot: Consider a unique or interesting story that captures the reader’s attention, then build the world and characters around it.
  • Develop vivid characters that are not all the same: Make your characters relatable and memorable by giving them distinct personalities and traits you can draw upon in the plot.
  • Use descriptive language to hook your audience into your story: Use sensory language to paint vivid images and sequences in the reader’s mind.
  • Show, don’t tell your audience: Use actions, thoughts, and dialogue to reveal character motivations and emotions through storytelling.
  • Create a vivid setting that is clear to your audience before getting too far into the plot: Describe the time and place of your story to immerse the reader fully.
  • Build tension: Refer to the story map earlier in this article and use conflict, obstacles, and suspense to keep the audience engaged and invested in your narrative.
  • Use figurative language such as metaphors, similes, and other literary devices to add depth and meaning to your narrative.
  • Edit, revise, and refine: Take the time to refine and polish your writing for clarity and impact.
  • Stay true to your voice: Maintain your unique perspective and style in your writing to make it your own.

NARRATIVE WRITING EXAMPLES (Student Writing Samples)

Below are a collection of student writing samples of narratives.  Click on the image to enlarge and explore them in greater detail.  Please take a moment to read these creative stories in detail and the teacher and student guides which highlight some of the critical elements of narratives to consider before writing.

Please understand these student writing samples are not intended to be perfect examples for each age or grade level but a piece of writing for students and teachers to explore together to critically analyze to improve student writing skills and deepen their understanding of story writing.

We recommend reading the example either a year above or below, as well as the grade you are currently working with, to gain a broader appreciation of this text type.

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NARRATIVE WRITING PROMPTS (Journal Prompts)

When students have a great journal prompt, it can help them focus on the task at hand, so be sure to view our vast collection of visual writing prompts for various text types here or use some of these.

  • On a recent European trip, you find your travel group booked into the stunning and mysterious Castle Frankenfurter for a single night…  As night falls, the massive castle of over one hundred rooms seems to creak and groan as a series of unexplained events begin to make you wonder who or what else is spending the evening with you. Write a narrative that tells the story of your evening.
  • You are a famous adventurer who has discovered new lands; keep a travel log over a period of time in which you encounter new and exciting adventures and challenges to overcome.  Ensure your travel journal tells a story and has a definite introduction, conflict and resolution.
  • You create an incredible piece of technology that has the capacity to change the world.  As you sit back and marvel at your innovation and the endless possibilities ahead of you, it becomes apparent there are a few problems you didn’t really consider. You might not even be able to control them.  Write a narrative in which you ride the highs and lows of your world-changing creation with a clear introduction, conflict and resolution.
  • As the final door shuts on the Megamall, you realise you have done it…  You and your best friend have managed to sneak into the largest shopping centre in town and have the entire place to yourselves until 7 am tomorrow.  There is literally everything and anything a child would dream of entertaining themselves for the next 12 hours.  What amazing adventures await you?  What might go wrong?  And how will you get out of there scot-free?
  • A stranger walks into town…  Whilst appearing similar to almost all those around you, you get a sense that this person is from another time, space or dimension… Are they friends or foes?  What makes you sense something very strange is going on?   Suddenly they stand up and walk toward you with purpose extending their hand… It’s almost as if they were reading your mind.

NARRATIVE WRITING VIDEO TUTORIAL

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Teaching Resources

Use our resources and tools to improve your student’s writing skills through proven teaching strategies.

When teaching narrative writing, it is essential that you have a range of tools, strategies and resources at your disposal to ensure you get the most out of your writing time.  You can find some examples below, which are free and paid premium resources you can use instantly without any preparation.

FREE Narrative Graphic Organizer

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THE STORY TELLERS BUNDLE OF TEACHING RESOURCES

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A MASSIVE COLLECTION of resources for narratives and story writing in the classroom covering all elements of crafting amazing stories. MONTHS WORTH OF WRITING LESSONS AND RESOURCES, including:

NARRATIVE WRITING CHECKLIST BUNDLE

writing checklists

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (92 Reviews)

OTHER GREAT ARTICLES ABOUT NARRATIVE WRITING

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Narrative Writing for Kids: Essential Skills and Strategies

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7 Great Narrative Lesson Plans Students and Teachers Love

narrative writing | Top narrative writing skills for students | Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students | literacyideas.com

Top 7 Narrative Writing Exercises for Students

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How to Write a Scary Story

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This page features 22 of my favorite short stories with questions . These reading activities are perfect for classroom use. Written by some of the greatest authors in history, these stories are short enough to cover in a single class period, and rich enough to warrant study. I tried to select stories that students would find highly interesting. I chose stories with ironic endings, interesting twists, and clever plot movements . This collection will nurture your students' love of reading and storytelling. I also prepared ten multiple-choice and long response questions for each text. These questions cover a range of reading skills from comprehension and inferring to interpreting themes and identifying figurative language techniques.






















These reading activities are available in both the old-school paper format (.RTF and .PDF) and the updated Ereading Worksheet format . With the print-out versions, I optimized to reduce paper use. Most of these fit onto 4 sides. With the new Ereading Worksheets (online versions), I was not limited by paper sides, and was able to ask follow-up short response questions to each multiple-choice. I recommend that you use these if you have the tech at your disposal. They can be completed on any Internet connected device. Students receive instant feedback, and they can print, save, or email score sheets . They can also share their results on Facebook. These activities are easy to integrate with Google Classroom . Definitions of challenging vocabulary words can be found with one click. And perhaps most importantly, these activities are more accessible to students with disabilities . Without further introduction, I present 22 of my favorite short stories with questions, available as worksheets and online activities.

This is a preview image of "Two Leaves". Click on it to enlarge it or view the source file.

I hope that these stories and resources help you accomplish your goals. Please let me know if you find any errors or have any feedback. Leave a comment below or contact me directly at [email protected] . Thank you for visiting my website.

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55 Best Short Stories for High School Students

Quick and engaging.

“All of us must have something or someone to be proud of.”

If there is one thing that my students and I share, it is our love for short stories for high school. They may not choose to read short stories on their own time, but they get very excited when the story I choose to teach a concept is short . I find that because they are short stories, they pack a stronger emotional punch. Short stories for high school elicit real reactions, especially if the author manages to surprise them. Short stories for high school are the thing I use most often to teach literary devices, act as mentor text for our writing, and get students excited about reading. Here is a collection of 55 short stories for high school students. 

1. “Lamb to the Slaughter” by Roald Dahl

“‘i’ll fix some supper,’ she whispered. when she walked across the room, she couldn’t feel her feet touching the floor. she couldn’t feel anything except a slight sickness. she did everything without thinking. she went downstairs to the freezer and took hold of the first object she found. she lifted it out, and looked at it. it was wrapped in paper, so she took off the paper and looked at again—a leg of lamb..

Why I love it: The dramatic irony. The discussion that follows: Who is the innocent lamb in this story?

2. “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell

“the world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees.”.

“The world is made up of two classes—the hunters and the huntees.”

Why I love it: This is one of those short stories for high school that engages all of my students. I love to ask them what they think the most dangerous game in the world is. I like to watch them figure out what is about to happen as we read through the story.

3. “The Landlady” by Roald Dahl

“‘i stuff all my little pets myself when they pass away. will you have another cup of tea’”.

Why I love it: This story is great for suspense, irony, and characterization. It always creeps students out.

4. “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury

“i think the sun is a flower / that blooms for just one hour.”.

Why I love it: This story is heartbreaking and truth-telling. Bradbury takes us to Venus and uses the setting to drive the conflict and focus on the character’s behavior.

5. “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury

“too much of anything isn’t good for anyone.”.

Why I love it: It’s a dystopian story about the power of technology in our lives. It’s easy to connect to students’ lives.

6. “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson

“there’s always been a lottery.”.

“There’s always been a lottery.”

Why I love it: The brutality of this story sneaks up on you. For a while, you’re convinced this town is ordinary until you find out the dark consequences of blindly following tradition.

7. “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe

“it is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.”.

Why I love it: My students love a murder mystery. This one is made even more alluring while the narrator tries to convince the readers of his sanity.

8. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry

“the james dillingham youngs were very proud of two things which they owned. one thing was jim’s gold watch. … the other thing was della’s hair.”.

Why I love it: It’s one of the best stories for high school to teach irony during the holiday season.

9. “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs

“never mind, dear,” said his wife soothingly; perhaps you’ll win the next one.”.

Why I love it: One of the classic short stories for high school about what can go wrong when granted three wishes. Students also love to know that there was a Simpsons episode based on this short story.

10. “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber

“the district attorney suddenly thrust a heavy automatic at the quiet figure on the witness stand. ‘have you ever seen this before’ walter mitty took the gun and examined it expertly. ‘this is my webley-vickers 50.80,’ he said calmly. an excited buzz ran around the courtroom.”.

Why I love it: This story moves from the ordinary to the extraordinary. It highlights the mundane adult life while the main character escapes to fantastical situations, inspired by his surroundings. Bonus: the movie version that was released in 2013.

11. “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” by Ursula K. LeGuin

“this is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”.

Why I love it: This story encourages high school students to consider the cost of happiness.

12. “Araby” by James Joyce

“her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which i myself did not understand. my eyes were often full of tears (i could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. i thought little of the future. i did not know whether i would ever speak to her or not or, if i spoke to her, how i could tell her of my confused adoration.”.

Why I love it: It’s about growing up and developing a crush that is all-consuming.

13. “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury

“it fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across time. eckels’ mind whirled. it couldn’t change things. killing one butterfly couldn’t be that important could it”.

Why I love it: It’s a short story about the butterfly effect. The plot asks the question many have asked before, if we could travel back in time, how would it change the future?

14. “Two Kinds” by Amy Tan

“my mother believed you could be anything you wanted to be in america.”.

Why I love it: It explores the complex mother-daughter relationship.

15. “Rules of the Game” by Amy Tan

“next time win more, lose less.”.

Why I love it: Use this for an example of extended metaphor and, again, the dynamics of a mother-daughter relationship.

16. “Eraser Tattoo” by Jason Reynolds

“he knew the sting wouldn’t last forever. but the scar would.”.

Why I love it: I love a teenage love story. Focus on the symbolism of the eraser tattoo.

17. “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst

“all of us must have something or someone to be proud of.”.

“All of us must have something or someone to be proud of.”- short stories for high school

Why I love it: A beautifully written heartbreaking story about brothers.

18. “A Good Man Is Hard To Find” Flannery O’Connor

“‘it isn’t a soul in this green world of god’s that you can trust,’ she said. ‘and i don’t count nobody out of that, not nobody,’ she repeated, looking at red sammy.”.

Why I love it: It’s a great story for studying characters, their flaws, and their transformation by the end of the story.

19. “Ruthless” by William de Mille

“when it comes to protecting my property, i make my own laws.”.

Why I love it: It’s a tale of revenge with unexpected twists and turns.

20. “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

“when the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills.”.

Why I love it: It makes you ponder the question: Can a person die of a broken heart?

21. “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros

“what they don’t understand about birthdays, and what they’ll never tell you, is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.”.

Why I love it: I use this when I teach creative writing. What changes when we turn 11? How are we different from when we were 10? Most agree that it is a significant change.

22. “The Test” by Theodore Thomas

“nobody should want to drive a car after going through what you just went through.”.

Why I love it: Your students will not see the ending coming.

23. “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury

“and one voice, with sublime disregard for the situation, read poetry … until all the film spools burned, until all the wires withered and the circuits cracked.”.

Why I love it: Use this futuristic story to teach setting, foreshadowing, and theme.

24. “The Schoolmistress” by Anton Chekhov

“‘it is beyond all understanding,’ she thought, ‘why god gives beauty, this graciousness, and sad, sweet eyes to weak, unlucky, useless people—why they are so charming.’”.

Why I love it: We get to see simple moments become symbols for larger happenings in her life.

25. “Lob’s Girl” by Joan Aiken

“some people choose their dogs, and some dogs choose their people.”.

Why I love it: Read it for a tale of friendship paired with elements of suspense.

26. “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce

“he had power only to feel, and feeling was torment.”.

Why I love it: The ending will shock your students.

27. “The Chaser” by John Collier

“‘she will want to know all you do,’ said the old man. ‘all that has happened to you during the day. every word of it. she will want to know what you are thinking about, why you smile suddenly, why you are looking sad.’”.

“‘She will want to know all you do,’

Why I love it: For the discussion afterward, what would you be willing to do for love? Bonus: Pair with a Twilight Zone episode.

28. “The Janitor in Space” by Amber Sparks

“she feels at home beyond the skies. she lied and said she came here to be close to god, but she feels further away from him than ever.”.

Why I love it: The creative plot created in this story launches deep discussion after reading.

29. “Standard Loneliness Package” by Charles Yu

“root canal is one fifty, give or take, depending on who’s doing it to you. a migraine is two hundred.”.

Why I love it: The plot is intriguing enough for students to be invested. Imagine a world where you outsource negative feelings and experiences to other people.

30. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

“i cry at nothing, and cry most of the time.”.

Why I love it: I still remember the first time I read this story in high school and the discussion about women and mental health and the symbolism throughout the story.

31. “ A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell

“oh, well,” said mrs. hale’s husband, with good-natured superiority, “women are used to worrying over trifles.”.

Why I love it: It’s a story about women being misunderstood and underestimated.

32. “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan Poe

“‘the cough is a mere nothing; it will not kill me. i shall not die of a cough.’ ‘true—true,’ i replied.”.

Why I love it: It’s a revenge story that allows students to see examples of irony throughout.

33. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London

“he now received the full force of the cold. the blood of his body drew back from it. the blood was alive, like the dog.”.

Why I love it: This story is great for any adventurous soul.

34. “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty

“[the sniper’s eyes] were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.”.

“[The sniper's eyes] were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.”

Why I love it: It’s a story that illustrates the pain and loss of war.

35. “The Lady or the Tiger?” by Frank Stockton

“it mattered not that he might already possess a wife and family, or that his affections might be engaged upon an object of his own selection; the king allowed no such subordinate arrangements to interfere with his great scheme of retribution and reward.”.

Why I love it: Use this as a short story that illustrates that actions have consequences.

36. “The Black Cat” by Edgar Allan Poe

“yet, mad i am not—and very surely do i not dream.”.

Why I love it: This is one of the classic Poe short stories for high school about madness.

37. “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Mark Twain

“smiley said all a frog wanted was education, and he could do ‘most anything’—and i believe him.”.

Why I love it: A Mark Twain story about a man who bets on anything. Use this next time a student says “Bet!” to you.

38. “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

“one morning, when gregor samsa woke from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin.”.

Why I love it: Read this story for symbolism, as the main character turns into an insect overnight. It’s an excellent story that illustrates alienation and loneliness.

39. “Young Goodman Brown” by Nathaniel Hawthorne

“depending upon one another’s hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. now are ye undeceived. evil is the nature of mankind.”.

“Depending upon one another's hearts, ye had still hoped that virtue were not all a dream. Now are ye undeceived. Evil is the nature of mankind.”- short stories for high school

Why I love it: A great read for American literature that explores the nature of humanity and questions of faith.

40. “Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing

“they were of that coast; all of them were burned smooth dark brown and speaking a language he did not understand. to be with them, of them, was a craving that filled his whole body.”.

Why I love it: The story focuses on overcoming limitations while an 11-year-old trains to swim through an underwater hole in a rock.

41. “The Ice Palace” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“up in her bedroom window sally carrol happer rested her nineteen-year-old chin on a fifty-two-year-old sill and watched clark darrow’s ancient ford turn the corner.”.

Why I love it: Fitzgerald was gifted in writing about tension in love. This story is about the tension between lovers from the North and South. Read it for the story and the poetic language of Fitzgerald.

42. “The Purple Jar” by Maria Edgeworth

“‘oh mother, how happy i should be,’ said she, as she passed a toy-shop, ‘if i had all these pretty things’”.

Why I love it: It’s a simple story of the conflict between what we desire versus what we need.

43. “Birthday Party” by Katharine Brush

“there was nothing conspicuous about them, nothing particularly noticeable, until the end of their meal, when it suddenly became obvious that this was an occasion—in fact, the husband’s birthday, and the wife had planned a little surprise for him.”.

Why I love it: This is a very quick read and still manages to pack a punch.

44. “Thank You, Ma’am” by Langston Hughes

“you ought to be my son. i would teach you right from wrong.”.

Why I love it: The story is relatable and sends an important message.

45. “Girl” by Jamaica Kincaid

“this is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely.”.

“This is how you smile to someone you don’t like too much; this is how you smile to someone you don’t like at all; this is how you smile to someone you like completely.”

Why I love it: It’s a message from a mother to a daughter on how to behave.

46. “Powder” by Tobias Wolff

“my father was driving. my father in his forty-eighth year, rumpled, kind, bankrupt of honor, flushed with certainty. he was a great driver.”.

Why I love it: This is one of the great short stories for high school that explores the complexity of a father-son relationship.

47. “The Pie” by Gary Soto

“once, at the german market, i stood before a rack of pies, my sweet tooth gleaming and the juice of guilt wetting my underarms. i nearly wept.”.

Why I love it: This is one of the best short stories for high school about the strength and power of guilt in the presence of childhood and into an adulthood.

48. “Sticks” by George Saunders

“the pole was dad’s only concession to glee.”.

Why I love it: This super-short story is about a father’s tradition of decorating a pole in the yard and all that the pole represents.

49. “Marigolds” by Eugenia Collier

“for one does not have to be ignorant and poor to find that one’s life is barren as the dusty yards of our town.”.

Why I love it: This is a story about realizing that we’re growing up. This is one of the great short stories for high school students that they can connect to.

50. “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury

“the multicolored or grey lights touching their faces, but never really touching them …”.

“The multicolored or grey lights touching their faces, but never really touching them ...”

Why I love it: This story takes place in 2053. Ray Bradbury has a way of making the future feel like the present. Bradbury reminds us how important it is to not lose our humanity.

51. “The Stolen Party” by Liliana Heker

“she was so pleased with the compliment that a while later, when her mother came to fetch her, that was the first thing she told her.”.

Why I love it: This story lets us view a party through a child’s eyes and a mother’s desire to protect her daughter’s heart. 

52. “Through the Tunnel” by Doris Lessing

“he would do it if it killed him, he said defiantly to himself.”.

Why I love it: This is a story that is rich in symbolism and beautifully illustrates the transition from childhood to adulthood. 

53. “The Wretched and the Beautiful” by E. Lily Yu

“‘come out where we can see you,’ the policeman said. the rest of us were glad that someone confident and capable, someone who was not us, was handling the matter.”.

Why I love it: While this story involves aliens, it asks readers to think about what it means to be human. There is also great symbolism in this story.

54. “Cooking Time” by Anita Roy

“at that moment, all i felt was angry. i’d always known that mandy’s obsession would get us into trouble. but would she listen never.”.

Why I love it: This is a story that is set in a dystopian future where the food has been replaced by a supplement. It’s a unique take on a dystopian world as it involves a cooking show and trying to change the way the world operates.

55. “ He — Y, Come On Ou — t! ” by Shinichi Hoshi, translated by Stanleigh Jones

“whatever one wished to discard, the hole accepted it all. the hole cleansed the city of its filth. …”.

Why I love it: This is a story about a Japanese village discovering a mysterious hole and illustrates what happens when people behave selfishly.

Did you enjoy these short stories for high school students? Check out this list of Our All-Time Favorite Classroom Quotes .

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  1. Short Narrative Essay

    A short narrative essay typically ranges from 500 to 1500 words, aiming to convey a concise and focused story or experience within a limited word count. Narrative essays are designed to express and tell experiences making it an interesting story to share. It has the three basic parts and contains at least five elements.

  2. PDF Unit 2 Narrative Essays

    ca. have two functions:1. It can deliver the moral of the story by telling the reader what the character(s) lear. ed. rom the experience.2. It can make a prediction or a revelation (disclosure of something that was not known before) about future actions that will happen as a result of. Unit 2 • Narrative Essays.

  3. Free Narrative Essay Examples

    Narrative Essay Definition. Writing a narrative essay is a unique form of storytelling that revolves around personal experiences, aiming to immerse the reader in the author's world. It's a piece of writing that delves into the depths of thoughts and feelings. In a narrative essay, life experiences take center stage, serving as the main substance of the story. It's a powerful tool for writers ...

  4. PDF Narr ESSAY Worksheets

    A narrative essay tells a story. It uses descriptive language to tell the beginning, middle, and end of an event. It has an introduction that engages the reader's interest, details about the main event or action in the story, and a conclusion that describes the outcome. The hook gets the reader's attention with an interesting or surprising ...

  5. Narrative Essay

    A narrative essay is a form of storytelling where the writer shares a personal experience in a detailed and engaging manner. Crafting a Short Narrative Essay allows the author to focus on a specific event or moment, making it concise and impactful. Writing a Beneficial Narrative Essay helps readers connect with the author's journey, providing insight and reflection.

  6. PDF Examples of narrative essays

    Near the top, Peter and Michael had climbed onto a rock to admire the view of the valley far below them. That was when disaster had struck. On clambering down, Peter had tumbled awkwardly to the ground, his leg bent at a painful angle beneath him. Unable to move, he was forced to wait where he was, wrapped in Michael's jacket, while Michael ...

  7. Narrative Essay

    Plan the structure of your essay. Outline the sequence of events and decide how you will introduce your story, build the plot, and conclude. 3. Write a Strong Introduction: Start with a hook to grab the reader's attention. This could be a quote, a question, a vivid description, or an interesting fact.

  8. Essays Every High School Student Should Read

    In this 2014 essay, a teenager learns important lessons from his boss at Pizza Hut. How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldua. An American scholar of Chicana cultural theory discusses how she maintained her identity by refusing to submit to linguistic terrorism. Humble Beast: Samaje Perine by John Rohde.

  9. 50 Engaging Narrative Essay Topics for High Schoolers

    A good narrative essay will begin with an attention-grabbing opening line. But make sure to avoid common clichés, such as "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.". Instead, come up with something original and specific to you and your situation. For example: "My pre-calc teacher was obsessed with circles.

  10. PDF Sample Narrative Essay

    Read this sample narrative essay, and then read the notes below. 1. The sample essay begins with a general statement, "Learning something new can be a scary experience." This statement introduces the subject of the essay, which is a particular learning experience that the author had. The use of "I" in the essay indicates that what is being ...

  11. 15 Inspiring Personal Narrative Examples for Writers

    15 Inspiring Personal Narrative Examples for Writers. Reveal a part of yourself in your essay. Students start writing personal narratives at a young age, learning to use descriptive language to tell a story about their own experiences. Try sharing these personal narrative examples for elementary, middle, and high school to help them understand ...

  12. 3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

    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.

  13. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    Interactive example of a narrative essay. An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt "Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself," is shown below. Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works. Narrative essay example.

  14. Free Personal Narrative Essay Examples. Best Topics, Titles

    639 words | 1 Page. Introduction Moving to a new city, especially one as dynamic and culturally rich as Shanghai, is an experience that can shape one's life in profound ways. This essay recounts my personal narrative of relocating from my hometown to Shanghai, a move that encompassed a blend…. Journey.

  15. PDF Sample Personal Narrative

    narrative a title. The writer describes his or her feelings about the situation. The writer describes the events in the order in which they happened. The writer ends his or her story by sharing what he or she learned from this experience. The writer sets the scene and makes the reader want to read more. The writer describes a problem he or she ...

  16. Sample Narrative Essay High School

    Crafting a narrative essay on the topic of Sample Narrative Essay High School can be both challenging and rewarding. On one hand, the familiarity of the subject may seem comforting, as high school experiences are personal and relatable. However, this familiarity can also pose a challenge finding a unique angle or perspective that sets your essay apart from others. The difficulty lies in ...

  17. 20+ Easy Narrative Essay Examples and Writing Tips

    Narrative Essay Example for High School. When drafting assignments for high school, professional writing is essential. Your essays and papers should be well structured and written in order to achieve better grades. If you are assigned a narrative essay, go through the sample provided to see how an effective essay is written.

  18. 5 Common Types of High School Essays (With Examples)

    I could see the horizon again. 2. Narrative Essay. A narrative high school essay is similar to a descriptive essay but focuses more on the story description rather than the object description. The story can be about a personal experience that the writer has had, an event, a story, or an incident.

  19. High School Essay

    Types of High School Essay. 1. Narrative Essay. Narrative essays tell a story from the writer's perspective, often highlighting a personal experience or event. The focus is on storytelling, including characters, a setting, and a plot, to engage readers emotionally.

  20. Narrative Writing: A Complete Guide for Teachers and Students

    A narrative can spark emotion, encourage reflection, and convey meaning when done well. Narratives are a popular genre for students and teachers as they allow the writer to share their imagination, creativity, skill, and understanding of nearly all elements of writing. We occasionally refer to a narrative as 'creative writing' or story writing.

  21. Short Stories with Questions

    This page features 22 of my favorite short stories with questions. These reading activities are perfect for classroom use. Written by some of the greatest authors in history, these stories are short enough to cover in a single class period, and rich enough to warrant study. I tried to select stories that students would find highly interesting.

  22. Narrative Essays

    Narrative Essays - Free download as Word Doc (.doc), PDF File (.pdf), Text File (.txt) or read online for free. Ernesto was a lazy student in high school who liked telling jokes. His class inspector criticized him for being lazy and a poor joke teller. In his fourth year, Ernesto decided to change his ways and was elected vice president by his classmates.

  23. 55 Best Short Stories for High School Students

    Here is a collection of 55 short stories for high school students. 1. "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl. "'I'll fix some supper,' she whispered. When she walked across the room, she couldn't feel her feet touching the floor. She couldn't feel anything except a slight sickness. She did everything without thinking.

  24. 41 Short Stories for High School: FREE PDF Download

    41 Short Stories for High School: Free PDF Downloads. Below you will find the best short stories for high school across multiple genres: horror stories, mystery stories, humorous stories, classic stories, and more. Each story includes a link (READ IT) that will take you to a free copy you can read, copy, download or print.

  25. PDF Roles, Scope, Criteria, Standards and Procedures of the Department of

    Book-length creative works (novels, short story collections, memoirs, essay collections, books of poetry, and other creative genres) Poems, short stories, essays published in literary magazines (publications or productions in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, drama, and similar genres) appropriate to the candidate's

  26. arXiv:2407.04549v1 [cs.CL] 5 Jul 2024

    The essay effectively captures the frustration and disappointment experienced by the author when their team members failed to attend a practice session. The evolution of the author's understanding of leadership and the subsequent change in their approach are clearly presented. The essay is well-structured and the narrative has a coherent flow.