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Narrative Essay: Telling A Personal Story With Meaning Narrative: What is it? • A personal essay • About something important to you • A big event, special day, cause, belief, opinion, current issue or event , worldview • A time when you were proud of yourself, A time when you had reached a certain goal, an experience that made an impact, or changed your views • Something that taught you a lesson, or a lesson you want to teach What makes a good narrative essay? • Good Organization – Planning – Pick your topic – Make a claim, establish the thesis/argument, moral of the story – Plan how you are going to tell the story – Think of the beginning, middle and end of the story – Make notes about each part of the story you want to tell What makes a good narrative essay? • Introduction: – A good opening to the story – Give some information about the topic. – Tell us where the story begins – Tell us what the story is about – TELL US THE MAIN IDEA: make your claim, establish your argument What makes a good narrative essay? • Tell The Story • Give Good Descriptions: GIVE DETAILS – Tell what you saw and heard, smelled or tasted – Tell what was going on around you – Tell how you felt – Tell about the people around you – Answer these questions: – Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? What makes a good narrative essay? • Find a meaning to your story. – What is something you learned from this special event, about this issue, what do you have to say about the topic – How has your experience influenced you or changed you? – Why do you make your claim? Why should we accept your argument? – What can others learn from your story? What makes a good narrative essay? • A good ending: The Conclusion – End the story by telling us what the story was about. – Tell us what the story means to you. – Tell us what we can learn from the story. Format • You can use “I” in your story. It is your story. You can tell it however you want. • Make sure it has a good beginning, middle and end. It can be a long or short story. Just make sure you tell a complete story. • Make sure you have an introduction paragraph, then tell the story in the paragraphs that follow; and finally, write a conclusion that tells what the story means to you. Remember • You all have many stories to tell that are important. By sharing your stories with others you can learn from them and share what you have learned. Everyone has had special events and memorable times in their lives; everyone has beliefs, values and opinions that are worthy of sharing. We all have a meaningful story to tell. The most important thing to remember is: YOU ARE THE STAR OF YOUR NARRATIVE ESSAY! Jeannie’s Narrative: Introduction Waiting Out The Rain: Reaching My Goal of Home Ownership It was a cold, rainy morning in November of 2003 but inside my car it felt like I was covered in a ray of sunshine. I put in a mixed CD I had made the night before, a collection of some of my favorite songs, to celebrate the big occasion. I was on my way to sign the papers that would make it official. Matt and I were buying our first home. I felt the thrill of knowing that by the end of the day a cabin in the woods would be ours. As I made the 45-minute drive to Ellijay, the mountain town I now call home, I thought of the long and sometimes difficult road we had to travel to get to this final goal of homeownership. Matt and I were college sweethearts, best friends, and we had been together through six years of many ups and downs. This day I realized that sacrifice, hard work, and laughing through the difficult moments are the only ways to reach our goals.It was a long time coming, but we learned how to make it, rain or shine. In order to buy our home, we had to save as much money as we could for almost a year before we had enough for a down payment. Saving money meant roughing it the entire summer. And when I say “rouging it,” I mean really living in the rough! Matt and I lived in a tent from around May until October of 2003, almost six months, on the property where our friend Lee lived in a 150-year-old cabin in the woods. We had an air mattress, plastic dresser, camping chair, and a fan in the tent that was our room in the outdoors. Lee let us camp out free of charge, so we were able to save the money we would have been spending on rent. It seemed like the perfect solution. Tent life was great the first week we camped. It felt like we were on vacation. But the second week we were there, the skies opened up and rain began dumping from the sky. It poured and poured. All the creeks and rivers in Ellijay swelled and spilled over into the meadows and fields, covering the landscape. It was a full-scale flood, the most serious flood in the past 100 years. As we stood on the front porch, we watched as the little creek nearby grew into two raging currents surrounding the cabin! And then we saw it: our little tent came rushing by in the waters that had now risen to nearly 4-feet deep. Our air mattress floated behind it, along with the plastic dresser, and all the clothes and other belongings that we had stored in the tent. Matt and I lived in a tent from around May until October of 2003, almost six months, on the property where our friend Lee lives in a 150 year old cabin in the woods. We had an air mattress, plastic dresser, camping chair and a fan in the tent that was our room in the outdoors. Lee let us camp out free of charge so we were able to save the money we would have been spending on rent. It seemed like the perfect solution. Tent life was great the first week we camped. It felt like we were on vacation. But just the second week we were there the skies opened up and rain began dumping from the sky. It poured and poured and all the creeks and rivers in Ellijay swelled and spilled over into the meadows and fields, covering the landscape. It was a full scale flood, the most serious flood in the past 100 years. As we stood on the front porch, we watched as the little creek near by grew in to two raging currents surrounding the cabin! And then we saw it: our little tent came rushing by in the waters that had now risen to nearly 4 feet deep. Our air mattress floated behind it, along with the plastic dresser and all the clothes and other belongings that we had stored in the tent. Matt quickly waded out into the river that now swallowed the yard. He grabbed the tent just before it was carried away in the woods. Lee followed behind him and grabbed the air mattress, which now served as a raft for all of our muddy things that floated by. The guys returned to the porch totally out of breath. They were dragging the soggy air mattress. Our vacation was over. The next day the rain stopped and the waters went down, but the damage had been done. Our tent was destroyed and everything we owned that was in the tent was covered in mud. We laughed together as we cleaned up the mess and did our best to save the things we could. We tried to keep a good attitude and remind ourselves that everything could be replaced. The most important thing was that we were all okay. The Meaning of The Story By the third week, Matt and I had a new tent, new air mattress, and we had washed the mud out of our little plastic dresser. It was now missing one drawer, but it still had two that worked, so we decided to keep it. Much to our amazement, our fan actually still worked too! We had survived Ellijay’s 100-year flood! We stayed in the new tent for the rest of that summer and early fall. The tent was finally put away in late October when it was just finally too cold to camp and go to work the next morning after freezing half the night. The months we lived at the cabin were full of fun and adventure and plenty of bug bites. Sometimes it was hard not having a television or telephone (cell phones didn’t work that far in the woods); sometimes it was terribly hot and uncomfortable; sometimes we heard strange noises right outside the tent, and almost every night we would get bitten by strange bugs, but we made it through and saved enough money to buy a house. Because we were able to tough it out and live in the tent, Matt and I were able to reach our goal of buying our first home. Conclusion It was still raining and cold when we arrived to sign the paperwork to buy our home, but we knew that we would no longer have to sleep outside in the cold, wet tent, and that made us very happy. As soon as the stack of papers were signed, we headed to the house to unload our belongings in the rain. To our delight, just as we were pulling in the driveway, the clouds began to lift and the sun came out, like a smiling old friend. The rays that beamed down reminded me that if we only hang on through the rainy times, and make the most out of life, we will be rewarded in the end. With hard work and a little sacrifice, we saved our money and finally reached our goal of buying a home. By keeping a good attitude and laughing through the hard times, we were able to have fun along the way.
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