AP Lang & Comp
Personal Narrative Essay Assignment
Write a narrative essay about a particularly memorable, significant aspect of or
experience in your life—something that has helped shaped who you are today. As you
relate your story, try to give your personal experience meaning for your readers.
Essay must have a purpose/thesis. (See “THINGS TO THINK ABOUT . . .) This is NOT a
short story; it is a narrative essay. Please see me if you do not understand the difference.
Choose a very specific topic, as your paper should be approximately 2 pages in length. I will
read no more than 3 pages. It must, of course, be typed and double- spaced in a 12 pt. font.
Please include a correctly formatted header; there is no need for a cover page.
I will be grading all of the usual: diction, syntax, format, organization, transitions, grammar,
spelling, punctuation, and content. Equally important this time are style and voice—the more
you read, the better you get at finding your own style and voice, so dig in to The Bedford and
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT AS YOU WRITE
What is the point of your narrative? Remember, you must have a purpose in writing your narrative.
Even if you do not provide a specific thesis statement, your story must focus on a central idea. By the
end of the story, your purpose should be obvious, as you build toward a memorable conclusion.
Narrator/Point of View:
YOU are the narrator and are writing about something significant in your life. This means that you
will use “I” when writing about yourself and the events you are relating. Nowhere in your paper
should you use “you” unless you are speaking directly to your audience (refer to the many examples
of narrative writing in The Bedford Reader).
Selection of Events:
Remember to address who, what, when, where, why, and how as you write of your experience. To
write a compelling essay, go beyond the “what” and dig into the “how” and “why.” Also, carefully
consider what you want to do with dialog and description, scene and summary. Re-read pages 80-81
in The Bedford Reader for review. This is NOT a short story, nor is it any type of fiction. Please
make sure that the selection of events includes items that really occurred and are essential to your
This is a personal essay, not a travelogue. So, if you're writing about a trip to another country, tell
about how your experiences affected you, and why they were interesting or meaningful to you. In
other words, the people reading the essay are interested in what makes you tick and how you got the
way you are, not in how the trains run in Paris.
Organization should be chronological. Please do not forget transitions as necessary.
50 points possible