A. P. English Language and Composition

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A.P. English Language and Composition

Fall 2015

Narrative Essay

A narrative essay tells a story from a defined point of view (usually 1st-person), using specific, sensory details and vivid, precise diction to develop the main point of the story. As a story, the narrative essay contains main story conventions:

  • a plot, including setting and defined characters

  • a climax (a peak experience often leading to the realization of the thesis idea)

  • a resolution (explanation of how the incident resolved itself, alluding to how the thesis idea comes to its full realization)

As an essay, the narrative essay also contains essay conventions:

  • an introduction, establishing the thesis concept that the story will address

  • body paragraphs in support of the thesis idea that move the reader through the complexity of main ideas and evidence

  • a conclusion, reflecting on the near and far significance of the event and the thesis concept

Narratives can detail a moment of insight, can explore a character, can illustrate an idea, can impart historical information, can argue for a course of action, or can simply exist for their own sake.

Importantly, the larger point (thesis) of the narrative essay does not have to capture a truth about all humanity; the truth can be very personal, revealing a truth about the writer’s own life or understanding of reality.

Essays (All are in The Writer’s Presence)

  • Cooper, Bernard. “A Clack of Tiny Sparks: Remembrances of a Gay Boyhood.” Answer #1 or #2

  • Staples, Brent. “Just Walk on By.” Answer #2 OR the questions posed in the italicized intro to “Another Version.”

  • Silko, Leslie Marmon. “In the Combat Zone.” Answer #1 or #2

  • White, E.B. “Once More to the Lake.” Answer #2
  • Compose all responses in analytical paragraph format, please.

  • Examine the range of prompts posed per question, choose a specific line of inquiry, and then craft complex responses that assert a claim, integrate specific textual references and provide commentary regarding the evidence.

***See the back for formatting requirements.***



Read Bourdain essay in-class; model analytical paragraph response

  • Read Staples essay (both versions)


  • Staples ¶ due

  • Read Silko essay in-class

  • Silko ¶ due

  • Read Cooper essay in-class



  • Cooper ¶ due

  • Read White in-class


  • Work on narrative essay

  • Work on narrative essay

  • Work on narrative essay




Questions to Ask of a Narrative (when reading and when composing)

  • What is the purpose of this narrative? If a larger idea is being explored, what is that idea?

  • For what audience is this written? What seems to be the desired reaction from the audience?

  • How does this narrative move from its opening, gain momentum, and find resolution?

  • What is appropriate about the narrative perspective?

  • What tone has the writer chosen to adopt? Is the tone consistent, or does it change?

Useful Rhetorical Strategies for Thinking and Writing about Narratives

  • Point of view/vantage point

  • Conflict

  • Motives/motivation

  • Plot

  • Irony

  • Varied syntax

  • Setting

  • Active verbs

  • Figurative language

  • Dialogue and dialect

  • Context

  • Sensory details

Analytical Response Formatting Requirements

  • 12 point-font

  • Double-spaced

  • 1” margins on all 4 sides

  • Type your heading NOT in the header, but on the first line of the body. Double-space your heading

  • Justify your heading on the left-hand side of the page

  • Provide a title for the assignment that is centered on the first line below the heading

  • Indent the first line of your paragraph 5 spaces. Your “tab” button might not be set for 5-spaces.

Your Name

My Name

Class and Period

Assignment due date


Begin your paragraph…

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