Free Narrative Essay Example
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I remember when I went scuba diving for the first time. It was the summer of 2002. My Dad, his two friends Mark and Bob, and I went on a scuba diving trip to San Carlos, Mexico with a group of scuba divers from June 21st-29th.
It was June 22nd, a beautiful day. The temperature was at about 90 degrees and it was very sunny. I was on big nice scuba diving boat along with the other eight divers on the trip and captain and co-captain. The boat was headed to an island about two hours away called "Seal Island"; it was called that because of all the sea lions that inhabit it. When we arrived at the island the captain stopped and anchored the boat. I immediately jumped in the water and started snorkeling while all the other divers were still on the boat putting on their scuba equipment.
After being in the water for about two minutes wearing only a bikini, I started feeling this stinging sensation all over my body. After about another minute or so the stinging got so bad that I had to get out of the water and back on the boat. When I got on the boat I found that I had welts on every inch of my body that wasn't covered by my bikini. I had been stung a numerous times by a jellyfish. The captain of the boat, Chuey, a Mexican man who couldn't speak English poured this liquid substance all over my body, and immediately made all the stinging go away. I knew then that when I got back in the water I would have to wear a wetsuit.
A little while later, after I recovered from the jellyfish stings, I put on my wetsuit, weight vest, regulator, BC, tank, fins, and mask, all the equipment essential for scuba diving. I was pretty nervous about going down, so the instructor, a man named Punk Potter (really that's his name) went over all the steps equalizing, breathing, and reassured me everything is going to be okay and to just relax.
Finally, after lots of reassuring and encouragement I jumped in the water. The instructor went down with me. We took it slow and gradually started going down. I was breathing pretty fast at first from being nervous, but I gradually started to relax. We kept going further and further down until we reached the bottom at 42 feet below the surface. On the way down I saw schools of angelfish and many other fish that I couldn't identify.
When I got to the bottom I saw two moray eels that were really scary looking. I kept my distance from them, for I could see that the whole roof and bottom of the inside of their mouths were covered with razor sharp teeth. I saw a crab that was humongous, it was about 2 by 2 feet big. I saw plenty of jellyfish that I now didn't care for because of the earlier encounter that I had with one. I saw a manta ray that was amazing. It was beautiful how it just glided through the water so gracefully. I wanted to grab onto it and go for a ride like you see on TV, but I was a little too scared to do that just yet. It was the coolest visual experience of my life, seeing a whole different world something that not everyone gets to see like I did.
On the way back up towards the surface I saw a sea lion that was about the size of my Dad. It seemed like it just appeared out of nowhere and popped up right in my face. It scared the daylights out of me. It was curious about what I was, for it was swimming circles around me, looking me up and down, and just staring at me in the face. I'm sure that I looked like an alien to it with all of my scuba equipment on. It was so cute. The sea lion reminded me of my dachshund at home, Roxy, except a lot bigger and with it's ears cut off.
I swam up to the surface after being down for 45 minutes. I was so happy and excited when I got back on the boat. I told everyone of my experience. It was the coolest experience of my life. I went five more times on that trip and there will be many more in the future. It made me feel very brave, for scuba diving takes a lot of guts and not everyone can do it. It is a very dangerous and risky sport. You can die anytime by making just one of the many possible mistakes. I am very proud of myself for doing this. I think that by doing it, it revealed about my character that I am a risk taker, brave, and curious to see and experience new things.
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In a narrative essay you tell a story, often about a personal experience, but you also make a point. So, the purpose is not only to tell an entertaining tale but also show the reason for the story and the importance of the experience.
Narrative Essays: To Tell a Story
There are four types of essays:
- Exposition - gives factual information about various topics to the reader.
- Description - describes in colorful detail the characteristics and traits of a person, place, or thing.
- Argument - convinces the reader by demonstrating the truth or falsity of a topic.
- Narrative - tells a vivid story, usually from one person’s viewpoint.
A narrative essay uses all the story elements - a beginning, middle and ending, plot, characters, setting and climax - all coming together to complete the story.
Essential Elements of Narrative Essays
The focus of a narrative essay is the plot, which is told using enough details to build to a climax. Here's how:
- It is usually told chronologically.
- It has a purpose, which is usually stated in the opening sentence.
- It may use dialogue.
- It is written with sensory details and bright descriptions to involve the reader. All these details relate in some way to the main point the writer is making.
All of these elements need to seamlessly combine. A few examples of narrative essays follow. Narrative essays can be quite long, so here only the beginnings of essays are included:
Learning Can Be Scary
This excerpt about learning new things and new situations is an example of a personal narrative essay that describes learning to swim.
“Learning something new can be a scary experience. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was learn how to swim. I was always afraid of the water, but I decided that swimming was an important skill that I should learn. I also thought it would be good exercise and help me to become physically stronger. What I didn't realize was that learning to swim would also make me a more confident person.
New situations always make me a bit nervous, and my first swimming lesson was no exception. After I changed into my bathing suit in the locker room, I stood timidly by the side of the pool waiting for the teacher and other students to show up. After a couple of minutes the teacher came over. She smiled and introduced herself, and two more students joined us. Although they were both older than me, they didn't seem to be embarrassed about not knowing how to swim. I began to feel more at ease.”
The Manager. The Leader.
The following excerpt is a narrative essay about a manager who was a great leader. Notice the intriguing first sentence that captures your attention right away.
“Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!' He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.”
This excerpt from The Climb also captures your attention right away by creating a sense of mystery. The reader announces that he or she has "this fear" and you want to read on to see what that fear is.
“I have this fear. It causes my legs to shake. I break out in a cold sweat. I start jabbering to anyone who is nearby. As thoughts of certain death run through my mind, the world appears a precious, treasured place. I imagine my own funeral, then shrink back at the implications of where my thoughts are taking me. My stomach feels strange. My palms are clammy. I am terrified of heights. Of course, it’s not really a fear of being in a high place. Rather, it is the view of a long way to fall, of rocks far below me and no firm wall between me and the edge. My sense of security is screamingly absent. There are no guardrails, flimsy though I picture them, or other safety devices. I can rely only on my own surefootedness—or lack thereof.”
The following narrative essay involves a parent reflecting on taking his kids to Disneyland for the first time.
“It was a hot, sunny day, when I finally took my kids to the Disneyland. My son Matthew and my daughter Audra endlessly asked me to show them the dreamland of many children, with Mickey Mouse and Snow White walking by and arousing a huge portion of emotions. Somehow these fairy-tale creatures can make children happy without such 'small' presents as $100 Lego or a Barbie house with six rooms and garden furniture. Therefore, I thought that Disneyland was a good invention for loving parents.”
The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo by Jeffrey Tayler
The following essay contains descriptive language that helps to paint a vivid picture for the reader of an interesting encounter.
“As I passed through the gates I heard a squeaky voice. A diminutive middle-aged man came out from behind the trees — the caretaker. He worked a toothbrush-sized stick around in his mouth, digging into the crevices between algae'd stubs of teeth. He was barefoot; he wore a blue batik shirt known as a buba, baggy purple trousers, and an embroidered skullcap. I asked him if he would show me around the shrine. Motioning me to follow, he spat out the results of his stick work and set off down the trail.”
This excerpt from “Playground Memory” has very good sensory details.
“Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick on that leaves me with the fabled “warm and fuzzy feelings.” As the daughter of an Air Force Major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grande Canyon and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe. However, I have discovered that when reflecting on my childhood, it is not the trips that come to mind, instead there are details from everyday doings; a deck of cards, a silver bank or an ice cream flavor. One memory that comes to mind belongs to a day of no particular importance. It was late in the fall in Merced, California on the playground of my old elementary school; an overcast day with the wind blowing strong. I stood on the blacktop, pulling my hoodie over my ears. The wind was causing miniature tornados; we called them “dirt devils”, to swarm around me.”
This excerpt from “Christmas Cookies” makes good use of descriptive language.
“Although I have grown up to be entirely inept at the art of cooking, as to make even the most wretched chef ridicule my sad baking attempts, my childhood would have indicated otherwise; I was always on the countertop next to my mother’s cooking bowl, adding and mixing ingredients that would doubtlessly create a delicious food. When I was younger, cooking came intrinsically with the holiday season, which made that time of year the prime occasion for me to unite with ounces and ounces of satin dark chocolate, various other messy and gooey ingredients, numerous cooking utensils, and the assistance of my mother to cook what would soon be an edible masterpiece. The most memorable of the holiday works of art were our Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, which my mother and I first made when I was about six and are now made annually.”
Tips on Writing a Narrative Essay
When writing a narrative essay, remember that you are sharing sensory and emotional details with the reader.
- Your words need to be vivid and colorful to help the reader feel the same feelings that you felt.
- Elements of the story need to support the point you are making and you need to remember to make reference to that point in the first sentence.
- You should make use of conflict and sequence like in any story.
- You may use flashbacks and flash forwards to help the story build to a climax.
- It is usually written in the first person, but third person may also be used.
Remember, a well-written narrative essay tells a story and also makes a point.