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Unit2Narrative EssaysNational Geographic explorers Beverly and Dereck Joubert are in DubaPlains, Botswana. Their accomplishments include launching the Big CatsInitiative, a global awareness program to protect lions, tigers, cheetahs,leopards, and jaguars.3894943 ch02 ptg01 hires 038-063.indd 388/27/13 7:03 PM

Objectives T o learn how to write a narrative essayTo use connectors and time relationship wordsTo understand adjective clausesCan you write a story abouta person who has donesomething inspirational?

What Is a Narrative Essay?A narrative essay tells a story. In fact, narrative is another word for story. In this unit, you willlearn how to organize and write a narrative essay. Even though the narrative essay has the same basicform as most other academic essays, it allows the writer to be a little more creative than academicessays usually do. Narratives can tell long stories or just a few minutes’ worth of excitement. While thenarrative essay has a particular structure, narrative ideas are often used in different writing tasks, suchas argument or compare-contrast.Structure of a StorySeveral important elements make up a good story:SettingThe setting is the location where the action in a story takes place.ThemeThe theme is the basic idea of the story. Very often the theme will deal with a topicthat is common in life or human nature, such as independence, envy, courage,failure, and success.MoodThe mood is the feeling or atmosphere that the writer creates for the story. Itcould be happy, hopeful, suspenseful, or scary. Both the setting and descriptivevocabulary create the mood in a narrative.CharactersThe characters are the people in the story. They are affected by the mood of thestory, and they react to the events in which they are involved.PlotThe plot is what happens in the story, that is, the sequence of events. The plotoften includes a climax or turning point at which the characters or events change.Just like other types of essays, an effective narrative essay also includes these elements: a thesis that sets up the action in the introduction transition sentences that connect events and help the reader follow the story a conclusion that ends the story action and provides a moral, prediction, or revelation40Unit 2 Narrative Essays

The IntroductionThe introduction of a narrative essay is the paragraph that begins your story. In theintroduction, you describe the setting, introduce the characters, and prepare your audience for theaction to come. Of course, the introduction should have a hook and a thesis.The Narrative HookYou learned in Unit 1 that the hook in an essay is the part of the introduction—usually the firstfew sentences—that grabs readers’ attention. Hooks are especially important in narrative essays becausethey help set the stage for the story. The hook makes readers start guessing about what will happen next.Let’s look at the hook from Essay 8 that you will read in Activity 2.I had never been more anxious in my life. I had just spent the last three endless hours tryingto get to the airport so that I could travel home.Does this hook make you want to know what happened to the narrator? The hook should makethe reader ask wh- questions about the essay. You may have thought of questions like these when youread the preceding hook: Who is the narrator and why is he or she anxious? Where is the airport? What made the trip to the airport seem endless? Why is this person going home?Activity 1  Identifying HooksRead the sentences below. Which three sentences would not be good hooks for a narrative essay?Put a next to these sentences. Be ready to explain why you think these sentences do not work well ashooks for narrative essays.1.The roar of race-car engines ripped through the blazing heat of the day.2.It was freezing on that sad December day.3.After my brother’s accident, I sat alone in the hospital waiting room.4. My friend and I should not have been walking home alone so late on that dark winternight.5.Whales are by far the largest marine mammals.6.She gave her friend a birthday gift.7. The gleaming snow lay over the treacherous mountain like a soft white blanket, makingthe terrain seem safe instead of deadly.8.The Russian dictionary that we use in our language class has 500 pages.9.Amber never expected to hear the deadly sound of a rattlesnake in her kitchen garden.10.A shot rang out in the silence of the night.41

The ThesisIn most types of essays, the thesis states the main idea of the essay and tells what theorganization of the information will be. However, in a narrative essay, the thesis introduces the actionthat begins in the first paragraph of the essay. Look at these example thesis statements:Now, as I watched the bus driver set my luggage on the airport sidewalk, I realized that myfrustration had only just begun.I wanted my mother to watch me race down the steep hill, so I called out her name and thennudged my bike forward.Because his pride would not allow him to apologize, Ken now had to fight the bully, and hewas pretty sure that he would not win.These thesis statements do not tell the reader what happens. They only introduce the action thatwill follow. The paragraphs in the body will develop the story.The BodyThe body of your narrative essay contains most of the plot—the supporting information. Theaction in the plot can be organized in many different ways. One way is chronological or time order.In this method, each paragraph gives more information about the story as it proceeds in time—the firstparagraph usually describes the first event, the second paragraph describes the second event, and so on.Transitional SentencesIn an essay with chronological organization, each paragraph ends with a transitional sentence.Transitional sentences have two purposes: (1) to signal the end of the action in one paragraph, and(2) to provide a link to the action of the next paragraph. These sentences are vital because they give yourstory unity and allow the reader to follow the action easily. The following example is from Essay 8 onpage 43, Paragraphs 2 and 3. Notice how the ideas in the last sentence of Paragraph 2 (the transitionalsentence, underlined) and the first sentence of Paragraph 3 (underlined) are connected.2This was my first visit to the international terminal of the airport, and nothing was familiar. I couldnot make sense of any of the signs. Where was the check-in counter? Where should I take myluggage? I had no idea where the immigration line was. I began to panic. What time was it? Wherewas my plane? I had to find help because I could not be late!3I tried to ask a passing businessman for help, but my words all came out wrong. He just scowledand walked away. What had happened? I had been in this country for a whole semester, and I couldnot even remember how to ask for directions. This was awful! Another bus arrived at the terminal,and the passengers stepped off carrying all sorts of luggage. Here was my chance! I could followthem to the right place, and I would not have to say a word.The ConclusionLike academic essays, narrative essays need to have concluding ideas. In the conclusion, youfinish describing the action in the essay. The final sentence can have two functions:1.  It can deliver the moral of the story by telling the reader what the character(s) learnedfrom 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 the events in the story.42Unit 2 Narrative Essays

Look at these examples:MoralThe little boy had finally learned that telling the truth was the most importantthing to do.PredictionI can only hope that one day I will be able to do the same for another traveler whois suffering through a terrible journey.RevelationEvery New Year’s Eve, my wife and I return to that magical spot and remember theselfless act that saved our lives.Writer’s NoteStorytelling TipIf you describe the sights, smells, and sounds of the story, you will bring the story alive for thereader. Try to include a few adjectives in your sentences. The more descriptive the information,the more the reader will connect with the story you are telling. Make readers feel that they arethere with you as you experience what you are describing.In the following example, the writer uses adjectives (underlined) to add depth to the story bygiving additional information.I walked into the noisy classroom and looked for a place to sit down. In the back of the well-lit room, I saw an old wooden desk and walked toward it. After a few moments, theanxious students quieted down when they observed the prim English teacher enter the room.Activity 2  Studying a Narrative EssayDiscuss the Preview Questions with a classmate. Then read the essay and answer the questions thatfollow.Preview Questions1.  Have you ever had trouble getting from one place to another while traveling? Where were you going?What happened that made this travel difficult?2. Can everyday people be considered heroes? What do you consider to be a heroic act?Essay 8Frustration at the Airport1I had never been more anxious in my life. I had just spent thelast three endless hours trying to get to the airport so that I could travelhome. Now, as I watched the bus driver set my luggage on the airportsidewalk, I realized that my frustration had only just begun.2This was my first visit to the international terminal of the airport,and nothing was familiar. I could not make sense of any of the signs.Where was the check-in counter? Where should I take my luggage? I hadno idea where the immigration line was. I began to panic. What time wasit? Where was my plane? I had to find help because I could not be late!43

345644I tried to ask a passing businessman for help, but my wordsall came out wrong. He just scowled and walked away. What hadhappened? I had been in this country for a whole semester, and I couldnot even remember how to ask for directions. This was awful! Anotherbus arrived at the terminal, and the passengers came out carrying allsorts of luggage. Here was my chance! I could follow them to the rightplace, and I would not have to say a word.I dragged my enormous suitcase behind me and followed thegroup. We finally reached the elevators. Oh, no! They all fit in it, butthere was not enough room for me. I watched in despair as the elevatordoors closed. I had no idea what to do next. I got on the elevator whenit returned and gazed at all the buttons. Which one could it be? Ipressed button 3. The elevator slowly climbed up to the third floor andjerked to a stop. A high, squeaking noise announced the opening of thedoors, and I looked around timidly.Tears formed in my eyes as I saw the deserted lobby and realizedthat I would miss my plane. Just then an elderly airport employee shuffledaround the corner. He saw that I was lost and asked if he could help. Hegave me his handkerchief to dry my eyes as I related my predicament. Hesmiled kindly, and led me down a long hallway. We walked up some stairs,turned a corner, and, at last, there was customs! He led me past all thelines of people and pushed my luggage to the inspection counter.When I turned to thank him for all his help, he was gone. Iwill never know that kind man’s name, but I will always remember hisunexpected courtesy. He helped me when I needed it the most. I canonly hope that one day I will be able to do the same for another travelerwho is suffering through a terrible journey.Unit 2 Narrative Essaysto scowl: to frowna terminal: an arrivaland departure pointfor some forms ofmass transportationto despair: thecondition of havingno hopeto gaze: to look atslowly and steadilyto jerk: to move withan abrupt motiontimidly: hesitantly,shylydeserted: emptyelderly: older; matureto shuffle: to walkby sliding one’s feetalong the grounda predicament: atroubling situationa courtesy: a kind orpolite action

Post-Reading1. What is the narrative hook? 2. Do you think the hook is effective? In other words, did it grab your attention? Why, or why not? 3. Where is the setting of this story? 4. What is the theme, or the basic idea, of “Frustration at the Airport”? 5. Read the final sentences in paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5. How does each one prepare the reader for theaction to come? 6. What do you think the mood of the story is? What feeling or atmosphere does the writer create? 7. List the characters in this essay. 8. What verb tense is used in “Frustration at the Airport”?the writer uses. . Write five verbs that 9. This essay is arranged in chronological order. In a few words, describe what happens first, second,third, and so on. 45

10. Underline the transitional sentences.11. Does the story end with a moral, prediction, or revelation?sentence here.Write the final Building Better Sentences: For further practice, go to Practice 8 on page 196 in Appendix 1.Activity 3Outlining PracticeBelow is an outline for “Frustration at the Airport.” Some of the information is missing. Reread theessay beginning on page 43 and complete the outline.Title: I. Introduction (Paragraph 1)A. Hook: I had never been more anxious in my life. I had just spent the last three endless hourstrying to get to the airport so that I could travel home.B. Thesis statement: II. BodyA. Paragraph 2 (Event 1) topic sentence: This was my first visit to the international terminal of theairport, and nothing was familiar.support1. The signs were confusing.2. I began to panic.3. Transition sentence: B. Paragraph 3 (Event 2) topic sentence: 1. He scowled and walked away.support2. I could not remember how to ask for directions.3. 4. Transition sentence: 46Unit 2 Narrative Essays

C.  Paragraph 4 (Event 3) topic sentence: I dragged my enormous suitcase behind me and followedthe group.1. support2. I got on the elevator and looked at the buttons.3. 4. Transition sentence: D.  Paragraph 5 (Event 4) topic sentence: Tears formed in my eyes as I saw the deserted lobby andrealized that I would miss my airplane.1. An airport employee offered to help.support2. 3. 4. Transition sentence: He led me past all the lines of people and pushed my luggage to theinspection counter.III. Conclusion (Paragraph 6)A. Close of the action: B. I will never know his name, but I will always remember his unexpected courtesy.C. D. Final sentence (moral, prediction, or revelation): 47

Activity 4Adding Supporting InformationThe following narrative essay is missing large parts of the story (supporting information in the body).As you read, add information that moves the story along. Be sure to write transition sentences at theend of paragraphs 2, 3, and 4. If you need more space, use a separate piece of paper.Essay 9A Bad Day12I should never have deleted the chain letter e-mail from mycomputer. The letter clearly warned me that if I did, I would have oneday of bad luck. Unlike my mother, I tend not to believe these types ofthings bringing bad luck: breaking a mirror, someone giving me the “evileye,” or even opening an umbrella in the house. As a result, I got rid ofthis superstitious e-mail with one quick click of the mouse. That night,however, as I fell asleep, I had the uncomfortable feeling that somethingwas not quite right.When I woke up the next morning, I was surprised to find that Ihad overslept and would be late for work. As I rushed down the stairs toeat a quick breakfast, I tripped over my bag and 3On my way to work, I decided to take a shortcut through an oldpart of town. 48Unit 2 Narrative Essayssuperstitious:irrational, believingin things that are notbased on scienceto trip: to stumble orfall

4When I arrived at work, I found a note from my boss on my desk.She wanted to see me right away. I took a deep breath and walked intoher office. As I stepped inside, I noticed a scowl on her face.right away:immediately 5Finally, after a long and difficult day, I returned home to find thatmy air conditioner was broken. I could not take it anymore! It had beenthe worst day ever, and I did not want anything else to happen. I rushedto my computer, opened up my e-mail, and went directly to the deletede-mail folder. I opened up the letter and reread the words: “Send tencopies of this e-mail to your friends, and you will have good luck for ayear.” I put on my reading glasses and began scrolling through my listof e-mail contacts. They could take their chances, but I was not going tohave any more bad luck!Building Better Sentences: For further practice, go to Practice 9 on page 196 in Appendix 1.49

GGrammar for WritingConnectors and Time Relationship WordsThe most common way to organize events in a narrative essay is in chronological order. Theevent that occurs first is in the introduction, and the events that follow are in the next paragraphs (thebody) and continue to the end (the conclusion).To make sure that readers understand time relationships, effective writers use connectingwords and phrases to show how events progress. Look at the time words in the chart below. These areconnectors that you can use in narrative writing.Chronological OrderPrepositionsTime Words That Begin Clauses *first (second, third, etc.)after (a moment)afternextat (9:00 a.m.)as soon asfinallyby (bedtime, then)beforelaterduring (the afternoon)untilnowfrom (then on)whenthenuntil (five o’clock)wheneverwhile*When time clauses occur at the beginning of a sentence, they MUST be followed by a comma.Sentence Variety with Prepositions of Time Plus Key Nounsfor Better CohesionEssays that are written using only one or two sentence patterns can be dull to read. Good writerstry to include variety in their sentences. Here are two ways to add variety with time words.1. Follow the time word after with a noun.Change Marta studied engineering at the University of Charleston. She graduated in 2013. Then shegot a job with Johnson and Rowe, a local engineering firm.to Marta studied engineering at the University of Charleston. After her graduation in 2013,she got a job with Johnson and Rowe, a local engineering firm.Change I walked up the stairs to the stage. I was so frightened to begin my speech that I couldactually hear my teeth chattering. I remembered my deep breathing exercise, lookedconfidently at my audience, and began to speak.to I walked up the stairs to the stage. I was so frightened to begin my speech that I couldactually hear my teeth chattering. After my deep breathing exercise, I looked confidentlyat my audience and began to speak.2. Follow after, before, while, and when with a gerund (an -ing verb form used as a noun)Change A rare golden Sitka spruce was cut down by vandals. It had been growing for more than threehundred years.to After growing for more than three hundred years, a rare golden Sitka spruce was cut downby vandals.Change Joanna Cannon ran for mayor. She promised to lower property taxes.to While running for mayor, Joanna Cannon promised to lower property taxes.*A gerund is a verb form that ends in -ing and is used as a noun, such as walking and studying.For a more complete list of connectors, see the Brief Writer’s Handbook with Activities, pages 180–181.50Unit 2 Narrative Essays

Activity 5Adding ConnectorsRead the essay. Fill in the blanks with an appropriate connector or time relationship word or phrase.Refer to the chart on page 50.Essay 10Becoming a Man1When they are asked who their idol is, most people will namea famous person. I am not most people. My idol is a person whom Ihave known my entire life. He is my brother Claudio, and even today heteaches me about life. The day that Claudio taught me the importanceof being a man is the day he left home to go to college.2It was an early Saturday morning in August. As usual, wewere woken up by the sound of our sister playing the piano. Shea fewwas always playing that silly instrument!minutes of lying in our beds, wishing she would stop, we slowly got up.that point, we knew we could