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How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

Last Updated: June 4, 2024 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Alicia Cook . Alicia Cook is a Professional Writer based in Newark, New Jersey. With over 12 years of experience, Alicia specializes in poetry and uses her platform to advocate for families affected by addiction and to fight for breaking the stigma against addiction and mental illness. She holds a BA in English and Journalism from Georgian Court University and an MBA from Saint Peter’s University. Alicia is a bestselling poet with Andrews McMeel Publishing and her work has been featured in numerous media outlets including the NY Post, CNN, USA Today, the HuffPost, the LA Times, American Songwriter Magazine, and Bustle. She was named by Teen Vogue as one of the 10 social media poets to know and her poetry mixtape, “Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately” was a finalist in the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 108,375 times.

In a narrative essay, your thesis will be a bit different than in an argumentative or explanatory paper. A narrative essay is basically you writing a story for the reader. The purpose of a narrative essay is to make a certain point, using personal experiences or life events to convey your main point or theme. [1] X Trustworthy Source Purdue Online Writing Lab Trusted resource for writing and citation guidelines Go to source However, just as in a standard paper, your thesis will still appear in the introduction of your narrative essay.

Creating Your Thesis

Step 1 Write a short phrase for each major section of your essay.

  • For example: “In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief by discuss my grandmother's sickness, discuss my grandmother's death, talk about what happened afterwards.”
  • Adjust your first attempt so it is grammatically correct: “In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief by discussing my grandmother's sickness, my grandmother's death, and what happened afterward.”

Step 4 Refine your thesis.

  • You may want to create a thesis that is a bit more sophisticated and less stilted by removing the more formal phrase, “I will discuss”.
  • For example: “Grief affects everyone's life at one point or another, and it certainly has affected mine; when my grandmother became sick and passed away, I had to learn how to deal with the aftermath of her death.”

Step 5 Remember that your thesis should always cover the main topics of your essay.

  • Avoid packing too many ideas into one sentence. Your thesis should help ease the reader into your essay, not confuse them.

Preparing to Write the Thesis

Step 1 Brainstorm ideas to find your topic.

  • Come up with a topic that is important to you and that you feel you can talk about in a personal way.

Step 2 Pick an event to help convey your topic.

  • Another way to find a personal event is to look through your old social media posts, as they often chronicle important or meaningful events in your life.

Step 3 Write down all the details you can remember of that event.

  • Remembering the details of the event through your five senses will also help to trigger other details or images you may have forgotten.
  • For example, maybe you remember the taste of coconut after your grandmother's funeral, which will then help you remember that you all ate your grandmother's favorite coconut cake at the gathering after the funeral. You can then try to find that recipe and use it as a way to jog other memories of your grandmother.

Step 4 Create an outline for your narrative essay.

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how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

Thanks for reading our article! If you’d like to learn more about writing essays, check out our in-depth interview with Alicia Cook .

  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/academic_writing/essay_writing/narrative_essays.html
  • ↑ http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/thesis-statements/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/general_writing/the_writing_process/thesis_statement_tips.html
  • ↑ https://writing.wisc.edu/handbook/process/thesis/
  • ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/brainstorming/
  • ↑ https://www.grammarly.com/blog/narrative-writing/
  • ↑ https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-write-narrative-essay

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  • How to write a narrative essay | Example & tips

How to Write a Narrative Essay | Example & Tips

Published on July 24, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A narrative essay tells a story. In most cases, this is a story about a personal experience you had. This type of essay , along with the descriptive essay , allows you to get personal and creative, unlike most academic writing .

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Table of contents

What is a narrative essay for, choosing a topic, interactive example of a narrative essay, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about narrative essays.

When assigned a narrative essay, you might find yourself wondering: Why does my teacher want to hear this story? Topics for narrative essays can range from the important to the trivial. Usually the point is not so much the story itself, but the way you tell it.

A narrative essay is a way of testing your ability to tell a story in a clear and interesting way. You’re expected to think about where your story begins and ends, and how to convey it with eye-catching language and a satisfying pace.

These skills are quite different from those needed for formal academic writing. For instance, in a narrative essay the use of the first person (“I”) is encouraged, as is the use of figurative language, dialogue, and suspense.

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how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

Narrative essay assignments vary widely in the amount of direction you’re given about your topic. You may be assigned quite a specific topic or choice of topics to work with.

  • Write a story about your first day of school.
  • Write a story about your favorite holiday destination.

You may also be given prompts that leave you a much wider choice of topic.

  • Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself.
  • Write about an achievement you are proud of. What did you accomplish, and how?

In these cases, you might have to think harder to decide what story you want to tell. The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to talk about a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

For example, a trip where everything went according to plan makes for a less interesting story than one where something unexpected happened that you then had to respond to. Choose an experience that might surprise the reader or teach them something.

Narrative essays in college applications

When applying for college , you might be asked to write a narrative essay that expresses something about your personal qualities.

For example, this application prompt from Common App requires you to respond with a narrative essay.

In this context, choose a story that is not only interesting but also expresses the qualities the prompt is looking for—here, resilience and the ability to learn from failure—and frame the story in a way that emphasizes these qualities.

An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” is shown below.

Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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If you’re not given much guidance on what your narrative essay should be about, consider the context and scope of the assignment. What kind of story is relevant, interesting, and possible to tell within the word count?

The best kind of story for a narrative essay is one you can use to reflect on a particular theme or lesson, or that takes a surprising turn somewhere along the way.

Don’t worry too much if your topic seems unoriginal. The point of a narrative essay is how you tell the story and the point you make with it, not the subject of the story itself.

Narrative essays are usually assigned as writing exercises at high school or in university composition classes. They may also form part of a university application.

When you are prompted to tell a story about your own life or experiences, a narrative essay is usually the right response.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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Telling the Story of Yourself: 6 Steps to Writing Personal Narratives

Jennifer Xue

Jennifer Xue

writing personal narratives

Table of Contents

Why do we write personal narratives, 6 guidelines for writing personal narrative essays, inspiring personal narratives, examples of personal narrative essays, tell your story.

First off, you might be wondering: what is a personal narrative? In short, personal narratives are stories we tell about ourselves that focus on our growth, lessons learned, and reflections on our experiences.

From stories about inspirational figures we heard as children to any essay, article, or exercise where we're asked to express opinions on a situation, thing, or individual—personal narratives are everywhere.

According to Psychology Today, personal narratives allow authors to feel and release pains, while savouring moments of strength and resilience. Such emotions provide an avenue for both authors and readers to connect while supporting healing in the process.

That all sounds great. But when it comes to putting the words down on paper, we often end up with a list of experiences and no real structure to tie them together.

In this article, we'll discuss what a personal narrative essay is further, learn the 6 steps to writing one, and look at some examples of great personal narratives.

As readers, we're fascinated by memoirs, autobiographies, and long-form personal narrative articles, as they provide a glimpse into the authors' thought processes, ideas, and feelings. But you don't have to be writing your whole life story to create a personal narrative.

You might be a student writing an admissions essay , or be trying to tell your professional story in a cover letter. Regardless of your purpose, your narrative will focus on personal growth, reflections, and lessons.

Personal narratives help us connect with other people's stories due to their easy-to-digest format and because humans are empathising creatures.

We can better understand how others feel and think when we were told stories that allow us to see the world from their perspectives. The author's "I think" and "I feel" instantaneously become ours, as the brain doesn't know whether what we read is real or imaginary.

In her best-selling book Wired for Story, Lisa Cron explains that the human brain craves tales as it's hard-wired through evolution to learn what happens next. Since the brain doesn't know whether what you are reading is actual or not, we can register the moral of the story cognitively and affectively.

In academia, a narrative essay tells a story which is experiential, anecdotal, or personal. It allows the author to creatively express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and opinions. Its length can be anywhere from a few paragraphs to hundreds of pages.

Outside of academia, personal narratives are known as a form of journalism or non-fiction works called "narrative journalism." Even highly prestigious publications like the New York Times and Time magazine have sections dedicated to personal narratives. The New Yorke is a magazine dedicated solely to this genre.

The New York Times holds personal narrative essay contests. The winners are selected because they:

had a clear narrative arc with a conflict and a main character who changed in some way. They artfully balanced the action of the story with reflection on what it meant to the writer. They took risks, like including dialogue or playing with punctuation, sentence structure and word choice to develop a strong voice. And, perhaps most important, they focused on a specific moment or theme – a conversation, a trip to the mall, a speech tournament, a hospital visit – instead of trying to sum up the writer’s life in 600 words.

In a nutshell, a personal narrative can cover any reflective and contemplative subject with a strong voice and a unique perspective, including uncommon private values. It's written in first person and the story encompasses a specific moment in time worthy of a discussion.

Writing a personal narrative essay involves both objectivity and subjectivity. You'll need to be objective enough to recognise the importance of an event or a situation to explore and write about. On the other hand, you must be subjective enough to inject private thoughts and feelings to make your point.

With personal narratives, you are both the muse and the creator – you have control over how your story is told. However, like any other type of writing, it comes with guidelines.

1. Write Your Personal Narrative as a Story

As a story, it must include an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, anti-climax (if any), and conclusion. Another way to approach it is by structuring it with an introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should set the tone, while the body should focus on the key point(s) you want to get across. The conclusion can tell the reader what lessons you have learned from the story you've just told.

2. Give Your Personal Narrative a Clear Purpose

Your narrative essay should reflect your unique perspective on life. This is a lot harder than it sounds. You need to establish your perspective, the key things you want your reader to take away, and your tone of voice. It's a good idea to have a set purpose in mind for the narrative before you start writing.

Let's say you want to write about how you manage depression without taking any medicine. This could go in any number of ways, but isolating a purpose will help you focus your writing and choose which stories to tell. Are you advocating for a holistic approach, or do you want to describe your emotional experience for people thinking of trying it?

Having this focus will allow you to put your own unique take on what you did (and didn't do, if applicable), what changed you, and the lessons learned along the way.

3. Show, Don't Tell

It's a narration, so the narrative should show readers what happened, instead of telling them. As well as being a storyteller, the author should take part as one of the characters. Keep this in mind when writing, as the way you shape your perspective can have a big impact on how your reader sees your overarching plot. Don't slip into just explaining everything that happened because it happened to you. Show your reader with action.

dialogue tags

You can check for instances of telling rather than showing with ProWritingAid. For example, instead of:

"You never let me do anything!" I cried disdainfully.
"You never let me do anything!" To this day, my mother swears that the glare I levelled at her as I spat those words out could have soured milk.

Using ProWritingAid will help you find these instances in your manuscript and edit them without spending hours trawling through your work yourself.

4. Use "I," But Don't Overuse It

You, the author, take ownership of the story, so the first person pronoun "I" is used throughout. However, you shouldn't overuse it, as it'd make it sound too self-centred and redundant.

ProWritingAid can also help you here – the Style Report will tell you if you've started too many sentences with "I", and show you how to introduce more variation in your writing.

5. Pay Attention to Tenses

Tense is key to understanding. Personal narratives mostly tell the story of events that happened in the past, so many authors choose to use the past tense. This helps separate out your current, narrating voice and your past self who you are narrating. If you're writing in the present tense, make sure that you keep it consistent throughout.

tenses in narratives

6. Make Your Conclusion Satisfying

Satisfy your readers by giving them an unforgettable closing scene. The body of the narration should build up the plot to climax. This doesn't have to be something incredible or shocking, just something that helps give an interesting take on your story.

The takeaways or the lessons learned should be written without lecturing. Whenever possible, continue to show rather than tell. Don't say what you learned, narrate what you do differently now. This will help the moral of your story shine through without being too preachy.

GoodReads is a great starting point for selecting read-worthy personal narrative books. Here are five of my favourites.

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen, the author of 386 books, wrote this poetic story about a daughter and her father who went owling. Instead of learning about owls, Yolen invites readers to contemplate the meaning of gentleness and hope.

Night by Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel was a teenager when he and his family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944. This Holocaust memoir has a strong message that such horrific events should never be repeated.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

This classic is a must-read by young and old alike. It's a remarkable diary by a 13-year-old Jewish girl who hid inside a secret annexe of an old building during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in 1942.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

This is a personal narrative written by a brave author renowned for her clarity, passion, and honesty. Didion shares how in December 2003, she lost her husband of 40 years to a massive heart attack and dealt with the acute illness of her only daughter. She speaks about grief, memories, illness, and hope.

Educated by Tara Westover

Author Tara Westover was raised by survivalist parents. She didn't go to school until 17 years of age, which later took her to Harvard and Cambridge. It's a story about the struggle for quest for knowledge and self-reinvention.

Narrative and personal narrative journalism are gaining more popularity these days. You can find distinguished personal narratives all over the web.

Curating the best of the best of personal narratives and narrative essays from all over the web. Some are award-winning articles.

Narratively

Long-form writing to celebrate humanity through storytelling. It publishes personal narrative essays written to provoke, inspire, and reflect, touching lesser-known and overlooked subjects.

Narrative Magazine

It publishes non,fiction narratives, poetry, and fiction. Among its contributors is Frank Conroy, the author of Stop-Time , a memoir that has never been out of print since 1967.

Thought Catalog

Aimed at Generation Z, it publishes personal narrative essays on self-improvement, family, friendship, romance, and others.

Personal narratives will continue to be popular as our brains are wired for stories. We love reading about others and telling stories of ourselves, as they bring satisfaction and a better understanding of the world around us.

Personal narratives make us better humans. Enjoy telling yours!

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

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Jennifer Xue is an award-winning e-book author with 2,500+ articles and 100+ e-books/reports published under her belt. She also taught 50+ college-level essay and paper writing classes. Her byline has appeared in Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Business.com, Business2Community, Addicted2Success, Good Men Project, and others. Her blog is JenniferXue.com. Follow her on Twitter @jenxuewrites].

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Narrative Essay Writing

Personal Narrative Essay

Cathy A.

Personal Narrative Essay - Easy Guide & Examples

16 min read

Published on: Apr 18, 2020

Last updated on: Mar 24, 2024

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A personal narrative essay can be a fun way to share your life story with friends and family. However, most students have no idea how to write a personal narrative essay. 

This can be a challenge. On top of that, it's one of the most common assignments in school.

Is this something that you are also dealing with? Fortunately, you don't have to worry anymore! We are here to simplify the process for you.

This guide will walk you through the process of writing a personal narrative essay step by step. Plus, you can find plenty of examples here to help you get started and avoid common writing mistakes. 

So what are you waiting for, take a step forward to make your essay shine!

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Personal Narrative Essay Definition

What is a Personal Narrative Essay? 

A personal narrative essay is also referred to as short storytelling. It depends on the writer's type of story they want to tell the readers. This type of essay can be composed of the personal experience of the writer. 

A personal narrative essay is usually written in the first person participle. It helps to depict a clear narrative that’s focused on a specific moment.

Usually, high school students are usually assigned to write such essays. Writing these essays helps them to enhance creative writing skills. Also, they help to provide insight into a student’s personal life. 

To write a personal narrative essay, the writer specifies a plot around which the entire essay revolves. Moreover, the plot should also discuss the characters that have played some part in the story.

Sample Personal Narrative Essay (PDF)

How to Start a Personal Narrative Essay?  

The personal narrative essay requires a balance between objectivity and subjectivity. To write about an event or situation with significance, you must first identify what's important to share with the readers.

As with other types of writing - there are some guidelines you need to follow some guidelines. These are;

1. Choose the Right Topic 

A good topic can not just make your essay look good, but also it will make the writing process much easier. Since personal narrative essays are written on personal experiences and thoughts, make sure you choose your most interesting experience. 

Keep in mind that the topic you choose matches the intended audience. It is the reader who decides the scope and success of your essay.

2. Choose a Theme 

You can also choose a theme for your essay. This will help you focus on what you want to say. You can use your personal experiences to explore the theme in depth.  For example, if you choose the theme of love, you could talk about your experience of love with your sister(s).  Alternatively, you can start writing out the story and see if any ideas might relate to a bigger theme. When you are writing, pay attention to any ideas that keep coming up. See if they might be related to a bigger topic.

3. Create a Thesis Statement 

The thesis statement is the most important sentence and tells the reader what your essay will be about.  

In a personal narrative essay, the thesis statement can briefly explore the story's events. Or it can tell the reader about the moral or lesson learned through personal experience. The thesis statement can also present the main theme of the essay. 

For example, if you are writing an essay about your personal experience as a refugee. You may have a thesis statement that presents the theme of freedom.

Check out more thesis statement examples to learn how to write one!

4. Create an Outline 

Once you have your topic, it is time that you create an outline for your essay. The essay outline is an essential element of an essay. It keeps the whole composition in an organized order. 

Also, it helps the reader through the essay. With the help of an outline, a writer can provide logic for the essay. 

Personal Narrative Essay Outline

Being a student, you must know how important an outline is for an essay. It provides an organization with the whole content.

To create an outline for a personal narrative essay, you need to follow the following traditional method.

Introduction

These three major elements of a  narrative essay  are further elaborated down below.

The introduction is the most important part of essay writing. It is the first impression on the reader; by reading this part, the reader decides the quality of the essay. This part should be the most attention-grabbing part. 

It should have an attention-grabbing hook and some background information about the topic. Moreover, it should include the thesis statement, which explains the main idea of your essay.

Keep in mind that the essay introduction should always end with a transition sentence. This will make a logical connection with the rest of the essay. 

Personal Narrative Introduction Example



Body Paragraphs 

After the introduction, the body paragraphs are written. These paragraphs help you to explain the key elements of your personal narrative essay. 

In a standard personal narrative essay, there are usually three body paragraphs. These paragraphs help the writer to describe the subject of the essay in all possible aspects. 

With the help of these paragraphs, the writer describes their point of view to the readers. To support the essay, the time and place of the event happening are also mentioned. Moreover, these paragraphs have all the information about the characters. 

Keep in mind that a body starts with a topic sentence . This sentence is a kind of introductory sentence for that particular paragraph.

Another important thing you need to keep in mind is the order in which you will present the details. Make sure that you use chronological order for this purpose. 

Personal Narrative Body Example

“It was a sunny summer day, and I was feeling particularly adventurous. I decided that I wanted to take a hike up the local mountain, and so I gathered my supplies and headed out. 

I hiked up the mountain trail, taking in the beauty of nature all around me. There were wildflowers growing along the path, birds singing in the trees, and a cool breeze blowing through the air. Eventually, I reached the top of the mountain and stopped to take in the breathtaking view. I could see for miles in every direction and felt a sense of accomplishment from having made it to the top. 

I spent some time at the summit, enjoying my lunch and reflecting on my journey up the mountain. After that, I began my descent back down the trail. As I wound my way down the path, I kept an eye out for any wildlife I might spot on the way. Sure enough, I was rewarded with sightings of deer, rabbits, and even a fox! 

Finally, I reached the bottom of the mountain and headed back home. Although my legs were tired from all that walking, my heart was full from having experienced such a beautiful journey. I'll never forget that hike up the mountain, and I hope to do it again soon!”

In conclusion, you need to provide the climax of the story. 

In this section of a personal narrative essay, you should wrap up the whole story. Do it in such a way that you provide a summary of the entire essay. 

Your conclusion should be just as impactful as your introduction. End with a memorable sentence or thought that leaves the reader with a lasting impression. You can summarize the main points of your essay or reflect on the significance of the experience in your life.

Make sure that you do not add any new points in this part. It will not give the reader a sense of accomplishment and will leave them in confusion. 

Personal Narrative Conclusion Example

“Reflecting on this experience, I am grateful for the lessons that it taught me. It was an important reminder to always be mindful of my surroundings and take time to appreciate all that life has to offer. Not only did I get a chance to observe nature in its finest form but also learn more about myself and what truly matters most in life. Even though it wasn’t easy at first, with the help of friends and family, I was able to overcome any obstacle standing between me and success. This journey will stay with me forever as a source of motivation when times are tough or things don't go my way; reminding me that no matter how hard something may seem, if you put your heart into it anything is possible!”

How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay

A personal narrative essay is considered very good when it is expressive, and the reader enjoys your personal narrative. The key to writing an amazing personal narrative is to use sensory details as much as possible.

An excellent narrative essay doesn't tell what happened. Instead, it shows what happened precisely and how you have felt at that moment.

Here is how you can write a personal narrative essay:

  • Start With a Good Hook 

For any type of essay , a hook statement can be a game-changer. But, particularly for a personal narrative essay, hook sentences are very important. 

Usually, the introduction of the essay starts with this sentence. You may use a famous quotation, verse, or an interesting fact for this purpose. This sentence helps to attain the reader’s attention and persuade the reader to read the entire essay. 

  • Vivid Description 

For a narrative essay, it is a must to be vivid enough to let the reader imagine the whole scene. This is why it is necessary that the writer uses as much descriptive language as possible. 

For instance, if you are writing about a visit to the beach, you can describe how the sun felt on your face. On top of that, making use of strong verbs and adjectives will also help to provide an engaging experience for readers.  

  • Use Transition Words 

For any essay, be it an argumentative essay , descriptive essay , or personal narrative essay. It is very important to have some transition sentences and words. These transition words help to make a logical connection in all parts of the essay. 

In other words, the transition words help to make links between the storyline. You may use transition words like this, however, whereas, therefore, moreover, etc.

  • Add Emotions 

The purpose of a personal narrative essay is to show the reader what and how you have felt. Hence don't forget to add the emotions, as you have to make the reader know about the feelings. 

Describe all of the emotions and feelings using very descriptive words. 

  • Be Consistent 

Consistency is the key to writing an essay in a professional way. Make sure that you don't get distracted by any irrelevant details. 

Stay focused on one single point, and add details related to your specific idea.  Make sure that you inter-link all the events of the story in a regular manner. This will help the reader to relate all the events. Also, use first-person impressions as you are writing a personal narrative. 

You also want to show the reader that you are telling your own story. Make sure that you follow the same participle in the entire essay. 

  • Prove the Significance of Your Experience 

You know that behind every event, there is a reason. Similarly, let your readers know the reason behind your essay and its significance. 

Also, mention that the story you just told was important to share. 

As it is a personal narrative, you don't have to provide evidence to prove the significance of your story. Rather, you have to convey a broader message through your story. 

  • Use Dialogue

Dialogue is an excellent way to bring life to your story and make it more engaging. It can reveal the character’s personalities and add a touch of realism to the essay. 

When you use dialogue, make sure to punctuate it correctly and indicate who is speaking.

  • Show, Don't Tell

When writing a personal narrative essay, avoid summarizing events and simply telling the story. Instead, use sensory details to help the reader experience the story with you. 

Describe what you saw, heard, felt, tasted, and smelled to bring the story to life.

  • Reflect on the Experience

Reflection is an important part of any personal narrative essay. It is an opportunity for you to reflect on the experience you are writing about and what it means to you. Take the time to think about what you learned from the experience and how it has shaped you as a person.

Once you are done with writing your personal narrative essay. It's time that you put a little effort into making it error-free. Proofread the essay more than once and look for minor spelling mistakes and other grammatical mistakes. 

This will ensure that you have written an essay like a pro. You can do this yourself or you may ask a friend to do it for you.

To understand better how to write a personal narrative essay, take a few moments to watch the video below!

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Free Personal Narrative Essay Examples

Examples help you to understand things better; here are a few well-written  narrative essay examples . Read them thoroughly and use them as a guide to writing a good essay yourself.

Personal Narrative Essay 750 words

Personal narrative essays can be long or short. It depends on the writer how they want to elaborate things.

750 Words Personal Narrative Essay (PDF)

Personal Narrative Essay Examples for High School Students

Personal narrative essays are often assigned to high school students. If you are a high school student and looking for some good examples, you are exactly where you should be.

Best Summer Memory of My Childhood (PDF)

Near-Death Experience (PDF)

Personal Narrative Essay Examples for College Students

Being a college student, you will often get to write personal narrative essays. Here are a few examples of well-written personal narrative essays to guide college students.

Climbing a Mountain (PDF)

My First Job (PDF)

Want to get a better understanding? Dive into the wide collection of our narrative essay examples !

Personal Narrative Essay Topics

It is important to choose a good topic before you start writing. Here are some interesting  narrative essay topics  you can choose from for your essay.

  • My worst childhood memory
  • My favorite summer activities during vacation.
  • The first time I had a serious argument with my best friend
  • The first time someone broke my heart.
  • Things I could tell myself.
  • How I balance my family life and my professional life.
  • The most important rule in life
  • Teachers who inspired me in my college.
  • Why I love to write a diary
  • My favorite New York Times Article.
  • My favorite movie.
  • Personal advice for the youth of today.
  • How I overcame my stage fear.
  • The toughest decision I have ever made.
  • What I regret most

Need some inspiration to craft your essay? Our expansive list of narrative essay topics will provide you with plenty of ideas!

Personal Narrative Essay Writing Tips

You need to follow a few things in order to start your personal narrative essay in a proper way. Those significant things are as follows:

  • Think of a memorable event, an unforgettable experience, or any that you want to tell the readers.
  • Plan your narrative essay. Make yourself clear on the order in which you want to mention all the details.
  • Start your personal essay with a hook sentence. This will help you to grab the attention of the readers.
  • Use vivid language so that the reader can imagine the whole scene in mind. Describe the actions, mood, theme, and overall plot.
  • Make sure that you use descriptive language.
  • Use proper sentence structure.

In conclusion,

writing a personal narrative essay can be daunting for many students.

So, step into the world of professional essay writing with our specialized narrative essay writing service . We're committed to crafting compelling stories that capture and engage.

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When writers set down the facts of their lives into a compelling story , they’re writing a narrative essay. Personal narrative essays explore the events of the writer’s own life, and by crafting a nonfiction piece that resonates as storytelling, the essayist can uncover deeper truths in the world.

Narrative essays weave the author’s factual lived experiences into a compelling story.

So, what is a narrative essay? Whether you’re writing for college applications or literary journals , this article separates fact from fiction. We’ll look at how to write a narrative essay through a step-by-step process, including a look at narrative essay topics and outlines. We’ll also analyze some successful narrative essay examples.

Learn how to tell your story, your way. Let’s dive into this exciting genre!

What is a Narrative Essay?

The narrative essay is a branch of creative nonfiction . Also known as a personal essay, writers of this genre are tasked with telling honest stories about their lived experiences and, as a result, arriving at certain realizations about life.

Think of personal narrative essays as nonfiction short stories . While the essay and the short story rely on different writing techniques, they arrive at similar outcomes: a powerful story with an idea, theme , or moral that the reader can interpret for themselves.

Now, if you haven’t written a narrative essay before, you might associate the word “essay” with high school English class. Remember those tedious 5-paragraph essays we had to write, on the topic of some book we barely read, about subject matter that didn’t interest us?

Don’t worry—that’s not the kind of essay we’re talking about. The word essay comes from the French essayer , which means “to try.” That’s exactly what writing a narrative essay is: an attempt at organizing the real world into language—a journey of making meaning from the chaos of life.

Narrative essays work to surface meaning from lived experience.

Narrative Essay Example

A great narrative essay example is the piece “Flow” by Mary Oliver, which you can read for free in Google Books .

The essay dwells on, as Mary Oliver puts it, the fact that “we live in paradise.” At once both an ode to nature and an urge to love it fiercely, Oliver explores our place in the endless beauty of the world.

Throughout the essay, Oliver weaves in her thoughts about the world, from nature’s noble beauty to the question “What is the life I should live?” Yet these thoughts, however profound, are not the bulk of the essay. Rather, she arrives at these thoughts via anecdotes and observations: the migration of whales, the strings of fish at high tide, the inventive rescue of a spiny fish from the waterless shore, etc.

What is most profound about this essay, and perhaps most amusing, is that it ends with Oliver’s questions about how to live life. And yet, the stories she tells show us exactly how to live life: with care for the world; with admiration; with tenderness towards all of life and its superb, mysterious, seemingly-random beauty.

Such is the power of the narrative essay. By examining the random facts of our lives, we can come to great conclusions.

What do most essays have in common? Let’s look at the fundamentals of the essay, before diving into more narrative essay examples.

Narrative Essay Definition: 5 Fundamentals

The personal narrative essay has a lot of room for experimentation. We’ll dive into those opportunities in a bit, but no matter the form, most essays share these five fundamentals.

  • Personal experience
  • Meaning from chaos
  • The use of literary devices

Let’s explore these fundamentals in depth.

All narrative essays have a thesis statement. However, this isn’t the formulaic thesis statement you had to write in school: you don’t need to map out your argument with painstaking specificity, you need merely to tell the reader what you’re writing about.

Take the aforementioned essay by Mary Oliver. Her thesis is this: “How can we not know that, already, we live in paradise?”

It’s a simple yet provocative statement. By posing her thesis as a question, she challenges us to consider why we might not treat this earth as paradise. She then delves into her own understanding of this paradise, providing relevant stories and insights as to how the earth should be treated.

Now, be careful with abstract statements like this. Mary Oliver is a master of language, so she’s capable of creating a thesis statement out of an abstract idea and building a beautiful essay. But concrete theses are also welcome: you should compel the reader forward with the central argument of your work, without confusing them or leading them astray.

You should compel the reader forward with the central argument of your work, without confusing them or leading them astray

2. Personal Experience

The personal narrative essay is, shockingly, about personal experience. But how do writers distill their experiences into meaningful stories?

There are a few techniques writers have at their disposal. Perhaps the most common of these techniques is called braiding . Rather than focusing on one continuous story, the writer can “braid” different stories, weaving in and out of different narratives and finding common threads between them. Often, the subject matter of the essay will require more than one anecdote as evidence, and braiding helps the author uphold their thesis while showing instead of telling .

Another important consideration is how you tell your story . Essayists should consider the same techniques that fiction writers use. Give ample consideration to your essay’s setting , word choice , point of view , and dramatic structure . The narrative essay is, after all, a narrative, so tell your story how it deserves to be told.

3. Meaning from Chaos

Life, I think we can agree, is chaotic. While we can trace the events of our lives through cause and effect, A leads to B leads to C, the truth is that so much of our lives are shaped through circumstances beyond our control.

The narrative essay is a way to reclaim some of that control. By distilling the facts of our lives into meaningful narratives, we can uncover deeper truths that we didn’t realize existed.

By distilling the facts of our lives into meaningful narratives, we can uncover deeper truths that we didn’t realize existed.

Consider the essay “ Only Daughter ” by Sandra Cisneros. It’s a brief read, but it covers a lot of different events: a lonesome childhood, countless moves, university education, and the trials and tribulations of a successful writing career.

Coupled with Cisneros’ musings on culture and gender roles, there’s a lot of life to distill in these three pages. Yet Cisneros does so masterfully. By organizing these life events around her thesis statement of being an only daughter, Cisneros finds meaning in the many disparate events she describes.

As you go about writing a narrative essay, you will eventually encounter moments of insight . Insight describes those “aha!” moments in the work—places in which you come to deeper realizations about your life, the lives of others, and the world at large.

Now, insight doesn’t need to be some massive, culture-transforming realization. Many moments of insight are found in small interactions and quiet moments.

For example, In the above essay by Sandra Cisneros, her moments of insight come from connecting her upbringing to her struggle as an only daughter. While her childhood was often lonely and disappointing, she realizes in hindsight that she’s lucky for that upbringing: it helped nurture her spirit as a writer, and it helped her pursue a career in writing. These moments of gratitude work as insight, allowing her to appreciate what once seemed like a burden.

When we reach the end of the essay, and Cisneros describes how she felt when her father read one of her stories, we see what this gratitude is building towards: love and acceptance for the life she chose.

5. Literary Devices

The personal narrative essay, as well as all forms of creative writing, uses its fair share of literary devices . These devices don’t need to be complex: you don’t need a sprawling extended metaphor or an intricate set of juxtapositions to make your essay compelling.

However, the occasional symbol or metaphor will certainly aid your story. In Mary Oliver’s essay “Flow,” the author uses literary devices to describe the magnificence of the ocean, calling it a “cauldron of changing greens and blues” and “the great palace of the earth.” These descriptions reinforce the deep beauty of the earth.

In Sandra Cisneros’ essay “Only Daughter,” the author employs different symbols to represent her father’s masculinity and sense of gender roles. At one point, she lists the few things he reads—sports journals, slasher magazines, and picture paperbacks, often depicting scenes of violence against women. These symbols represent the divide between her father’s gendered thinking and her own literary instincts.

More Narrative Essay Examples

Let’s take a look at a few more narrative essay examples. We’ll dissect each essay based on the five fundamentals listed above.

Narrative Essay Example: “Letting Go” by David Sedaris

Read “Letting Go” here in The New Yorker .

Sedaris’ essay dwells on the culture of cigarette smoking—how it starts, the world it builds, and the difficulties in quitting. Let’s analyze how this narrative essay example uses the five fundamentals of essay writing.

  • Thesis: There isn’t an explicitly defined thesis, which is common for essays that are meant to be humorous or entertaining. However, this sentence is a plausible thesis statement: “It wasn’t the smoke but the smell of it that bothered me. In later years, I didn’t care so much, but at the time I found it depressing: the scent of neglect.”
  • Personal Experience: Sedaris moves between many different anecdotes about smoking, from his family’s addiction to cigarettes to his own dependence. We learn about his moving around for cheaper smokes, his family’s struggle to quit, and the last cigarette he smoked in the Charles de Gaulle airport.
  • Meaning from Chaos: Sedaris ties many disparate events together. We learn about his childhood and his smoking years, but these are interwoven with anecdotes about his family and friends. What emerges is a narrative about the allure of smoking.
  • Insight: Two parts of this essay are especially poignant. One, when Sedaris describes his mother’s realization that smoking isn’t sophisticated, and soon quits her habit entirely. Two, when Sedaris is given the diseased lung of a chain smoker, and instead of thinking about his own lungs, he’s simply surprised at how heavy the lung is.
  • Literary Devices: Throughout the essay, Sedaris demonstrates how the cigarette symbolizes neglect: neglect of one’s body, one’s space, and one’s self-presentation.

 Narrative Essay Example: “My Mother’s Tongue” by Zavi Kang Engles

Read “My Mother’s Tongue” here in The Rumpus .

Engles’ essay examines the dysphoria of growing up between two vastly different cultures and languages. By asserting the close bond between Korean language and culture, Engles explores the absurdities of growing up as a child of Korean immigrants. Let’s analyze how this narrative essay example uses the five fundamentals of essay writing.

  • Thesis: Engles’ essay often comes back to her relationship with the Korean language, especially as it relates to other Korean speakers. This relationship is best highlighted when she writes “I glowed with [my mother’s] love, basked in the warm security of what I thought was a language between us. Perhaps this is why strangers asked for our photos, in an attempt to capture a secret world between two people.”This “secret world” forms the crux of her essay, charting not only how Korean-Americans might exist in relation to one another, but also how Engles’ language is strongly tied to her identity and homeland.
  • Personal Experience: Engles writes about her childhood attachment to both English and Korean, her adolescent fallout with the Korean language, her experiences as “not American enough” in the United States and “not Korean enough” in Korea, and her experiences mourning in a Korean hospital.
  • Meaning from Chaos: In addition to the above events, Engles ties in research about language and identity (also known as code switching ). Through language and identity, the essay charts the two different cultures that the author stands between, highlighting the dissonance between Western individualism and an Eastern sense of belonging.
  • Insight: There are many examples of insight throughout this essay as the author explores how out of place she feels, torn between two countries. An especially poignant example comes from Engles’ experience in a Korean hospital, where she writes “I didn’t know how to mourn in this country.”
  • Literary Devices: The essay frequently juxtaposes the languages and cultures of Korea and the United States. Additionally, the English language comes to symbolize Western individualism, while the Korean language comes to symbolize Eastern collectivism.

Narrative Essay Example: 3 Rules for Middle-Age Happiness by Deborah Copaken

Read “3 Rules for Middle-Age Happiness” here in The Atlantic .

Copaken’s essay explores her relationship to Nora Ephron, the screenwriter for When Harry Met Sally . Let’s analyze how this narrative essay example uses the five fundamentals of essay writing.

  • Thesis: This essay hands us the thesis statement in its subtitle: “Gather friends and feed them, laugh in the face of calamity, and cut out all the things—people, jobs, body parts—that no longer serve you.”
  • Personal Experience: Copaken weaves two different threads through this essay. One thread is her personal life, including a failing marriage, medical issues, and her attempts at building a happy family. The other is Copaken’s personal relationship to Ephron, whose advice coincides with many of the essay’s insights.
  • Meaning from Chaos: This essay organizes its events chronologically. However, the main sense of organization is found in the title: many of the essayist’s problems can be perceived as middle-aged crises (family trouble, divorce, death of loved ones), but the solutions to those crises are simpler than one might realize.
  • Insight: In writing this essay, Copaken explores her relationship to Ephron, as well as Copaken’s own relationship to her children. She ties these experiences together at the end, when she writes “The transmission of woes is a one-way street, from child to mother. A good mother doesn’t burden her children with her pain. She waits until it becomes so heavy, it either breaks her or kills her, whichever comes first.”
  • Literary Devices: The literary devices in this article explore the author’s relationship to womanhood. She wonders if having a hysterectomy will make her “like less of a woman.” Also important is the fact that, when the author has her hysterectomy, her daughter has her first period. Copaken uses this to symbolize the passing of womanhood from mother to daughter, which helps bring her to the above insight.

How to Write a Narrative Essay in 5 Steps

No matter the length or subject matter, writing a narrative essay is as easy as these five steps.

1. Generating Narrative Essay Ideas

If you’re not sure what to write about, you’ll want to generate some narrative essay ideas. One way to do this is to look for writing prompts online: Reedsy adds new prompts to their site every week, and we also post writing prompts every Wednesday to our Facebook group .

Taking a step back, it helps to simply think about formative moments in your life. You might a great idea from answering one of these questions:

  • When did something alter my worldview, personal philosophy, or political beliefs?
  • Who has given me great advice, or helped me lead a better life?
  • What moment of adversity did I overcome and grow stronger from?
  • What is something that I believe to be very important, that I want other people to value as well?
  • What life event of mine do I not yet fully understand?
  • What is something I am constantly striving for?
  • What is something I’ve taken for granted, but am now grateful for?

Finally, you might be interested in the advice at our article How to Come Up with Story Ideas . The article focuses on fiction writers, but essayists can certainly benefit from these tips as well.

2. Drafting a Narrative Essay Outline

Once you have an idea, you’ll want to flesh it out in a narrative essay outline.

Your outline can be as simple or as complex as you’d like, and it all depends on how long you intend your essay to be. A simple outline can include the following:

  • Introduction—usually a relevant anecdote that excites or entices the reader.
  • Event 1: What story will I use to uphold my argument?
  • Analysis 1: How does this event serve as evidence for my thesis?
  • Conclusion: How can I tie these events together? What do they reaffirm about my thesis? And what advice can I then impart on the reader, if any?

One thing that’s missing from this outline is insight. That’s because insight is often unplanned: you realize it as you write it, and the best insight comes naturally to the writer. However, if you already know the insight you plan on sharing, it will fit best within the analysis for your essay, and/or in the essay’s conclusion.

Insight is often unplanned: you realize it as you write it, and the best insight comes naturally to the writer.

Another thing that’s missing from this is research. If you plan on intertwining your essay with research (which many essayists should do!), consider adding that research as its own bullet point under each heading.

For a different, more fiction-oriented approach to outlining, check out our article How to Write a Story Outline .

3. Starting with a Story

Now, let’s tackle the hardest question: how to start a narrative essay?

Most narrative essays begin with a relevant story. You want to draw the reader in right away, offering something that surprises or interests them. And, since the essay is about you and your lived experiences, it makes sense to start your essay with a relevant anecdote.

Think about a story that’s relevant to your thesis, and experiment with ways to tell this story. You can start with a surprising bit of dialogue , an unusual situation you found yourself in, or a beautiful setting. You can also lead your essay with research or advice, but be sure to tie that in with an anecdote quickly, or else your reader might not know where your essay is going.

For examples of this, take a look at any of the narrative essay examples we’ve used in this article.

Theoretically, your thesis statement can go anywhere in the essay. You may have noticed in the previous examples that the thesis statement isn’t always explicit or immediate: sometimes it shows up towards the center of the essay, and sometimes it’s more implied than stated directly.

You can experiment with the placement of your thesis, but if you place your thesis later in the essay, make sure that everything before the thesis is intriguing to the reader. If the reader feels like the essay is directionless or boring, they won’t have a reason to reach your thesis, nor will they understand the argument you’re making.

4. Getting to the Core Truth

With an introduction and a thesis underway, continue writing about your experiences, arguments, and research. Be sure to follow the structure you’ve sketched in your outline, but feel free to deviate from this outline if something more natural occurs to you.

Along the way, you will end up explaining why your experiences matter to the reader. Here is where you can start generating insight. Insight can take the form of many things, but the focus is always to reach a core truth.

Insight might take the following forms:

  • Realizations from connecting the different events in your life.
  • Advice based on your lived mistakes and experiences.
  • Moments where you change your ideas or personal philosophy.
  • Richer understandings about life, love, a higher power, the universe, etc.

5. Relentless Editing

With a first draft of your narrative essay written, you can make your essay sparkle in the editing process.

Remember, a first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to exist.

Remember, a first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to exist. Here are some things to focus on in the editing process:

  • Clarity: Does every argument make sense? Do my ideas flow logically? Are my stories clear and easy to follow?
  • Structure: Does the procession of ideas make sense? Does everything uphold my thesis? Do my arguments benefit from the way they’re laid out in this essay?
  • Style: Do the words flow when I read them? Do I have a good mix of long and short sentences? Have I omitted any needless words ?
  • Literary Devices: Do I use devices like similes, metaphors, symbols, or juxtaposition? Do these devices help illustrate my ideas?
  • Mechanics: Is every word spelled properly? Do I use the right punctuation? If I’m submitting this essay somewhere, does it follow the formatting guidelines?

Your essay can undergo any number of revisions before it’s ready. Above all, make sure that your narrative essay is easy to follow, every word you use matters, and that you come to a deeper understanding about your own life.

Above all, make sure that your narrative essay is easy to follow, every word you use matters, and that you come to a deeper understanding about your own life.

Next Steps for Narrative Essayists

When you have a completed essay, what’s next? You might be interested in submitting to some literary journals . Here’s 24 literary journals you can submit to—we hope you find a great home for your writing!

If you’re looking for additional feedback on your work, feel free to join our Facebook group . You can also take a look at our upcoming nonfiction courses , where you’ll learn the fundamentals of essay writing and make your story even more compelling.

Writing a narrative essay isn’t easy, but you’ll find that the practice can be very rewarding. You’ll learn about your lived experiences, come to deeper conclusions about your personal philosophies, and perhaps even challenge the way you approach life. So find some paper, choose a topic, and get writing—the world is waiting for your story!

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The Ultimate Narrative Essay Guide for Beginners

blog image

A narrative essay tells a story in chronological order, with an introduction that introduces the characters and sets the scene. Then a series of events leads to a climax or turning point, and finally a resolution or reflection on the experience.

Speaking of which, are you in sixes and sevens about narrative essays? Don’t worry this ultimate expert guide will wipe out all your doubts. So let’s get started.

Table of Contents

Everything You Need to Know About Narrative Essay

What is a narrative essay.

When you go through a narrative essay definition, you would know that a narrative essay purpose is to tell a story. It’s all about sharing an experience or event and is different from other types of essays because it’s more focused on how the event made you feel or what you learned from it, rather than just presenting facts or an argument. Let’s explore more details on this interesting write-up and get to know how to write a narrative essay.

Elements of a Narrative Essay

Here’s a breakdown of the key elements of a narrative essay:

A narrative essay has a beginning, middle, and end. It builds up tension and excitement and then wraps things up in a neat package.

Real people, including the writer, often feature in personal narratives. Details of the characters and their thoughts, feelings, and actions can help readers to relate to the tale.

It’s really important to know when and where something happened so we can get a good idea of the context. Going into detail about what it looks like helps the reader to really feel like they’re part of the story.

Conflict or Challenge 

A story in a narrative essay usually involves some kind of conflict or challenge that moves the plot along. It could be something inside the character, like a personal battle, or something from outside, like an issue they have to face in the world.

Theme or Message

A narrative essay isn’t just about recounting an event – it’s about showing the impact it had on you and what you took away from it. It’s an opportunity to share your thoughts and feelings about the experience, and how it changed your outlook.

Emotional Impact

The author is trying to make the story they’re telling relatable, engaging, and memorable by using language and storytelling to evoke feelings in whoever’s reading it.

Narrative essays let writers have a blast telling stories about their own lives. It’s an opportunity to share insights and impart wisdom, or just have some fun with the reader. Descriptive language, sensory details, dialogue, and a great narrative voice are all essentials for making the story come alive.

The Purpose of a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is more than just a story – it’s a way to share a meaningful, engaging, and relatable experience with the reader. Includes:

Sharing Personal Experience

Narrative essays are a great way for writers to share their personal experiences, feelings, thoughts, and reflections. It’s an opportunity to connect with readers and make them feel something.

Entertainment and Engagement

The essay attempts to keep the reader interested by using descriptive language, storytelling elements, and a powerful voice. It attempts to pull them in and make them feel involved by creating suspense, mystery, or an emotional connection.

Conveying a Message or Insight

Narrative essays are more than just a story – they aim to teach you something. They usually have a moral lesson, a new understanding, or a realization about life that the author gained from the experience.

Building Empathy and Understanding

By telling their stories, people can give others insight into different perspectives, feelings, and situations. Sharing these tales can create compassion in the reader and help broaden their knowledge of different life experiences.

Inspiration and Motivation

Stories about personal struggles, successes, and transformations can be really encouraging to people who are going through similar situations. It can provide them with hope and guidance, and let them know that they’re not alone.

Reflecting on Life’s Significance

These essays usually make you think about the importance of certain moments in life or the impact of certain experiences. They make you look deep within yourself and ponder on the things you learned or how you changed because of those events.

Demonstrating Writing Skills

Coming up with a gripping narrative essay takes serious writing chops, like vivid descriptions, powerful language, timing, and organization. It’s an opportunity for writers to show off their story-telling abilities.

Preserving Personal History

Sometimes narrative essays are used to record experiences and special moments that have an emotional resonance. They can be used to preserve individual memories or for future generations to look back on.

Cultural and Societal Exploration

Personal stories can look at cultural or social aspects, giving us an insight into customs, opinions, or social interactions seen through someone’s own experience.

Format of a Narrative Essay

Narrative essays are quite flexible in terms of format, which allows the writer to tell a story in a creative and compelling way. Here’s a quick breakdown of the narrative essay format, along with some examples:

Introduction

Set the scene and introduce the story.

Engage the reader and establish the tone of the narrative.

Hook: Start with a captivating opening line to grab the reader’s attention. For instance:

Example:  “The scorching sun beat down on us as we trekked through the desert, our water supply dwindling.”

Background Information: Provide necessary context or background without giving away the entire story.

Example:  “It was the summer of 2015 when I embarked on a life-changing journey to…”

Thesis Statement or Narrative Purpose

Present the main idea or the central message of the essay.

Offer a glimpse of what the reader can expect from the narrative.

Thesis Statement: This isn’t as rigid as in other essays but can be a sentence summarizing the essence of the story.

Example:  “Little did I know, that seemingly ordinary hike would teach me invaluable lessons about resilience and friendship.”

Body Paragraphs

Present the sequence of events in chronological order.

Develop characters, setting, conflict, and resolution.

Story Progression : Describe events in the order they occurred, focusing on details that evoke emotions and create vivid imagery.

Example : Detail the trek through the desert, the challenges faced, interactions with fellow hikers, and the pivotal moments.

Character Development : Introduce characters and their roles in the story. Show their emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Example : Describe how each character reacted to the dwindling water supply and supported each other through adversity.

Dialogue and Interactions : Use dialogue to bring the story to life and reveal character personalities.

Example : “Sarah handed me her last bottle of water, saying, ‘We’re in this together.'”

Reach the peak of the story, the moment of highest tension or significance.

Turning Point: Highlight the most crucial moment or realization in the narrative.

Example:  “As the sun dipped below the horizon and hope seemed lost, a distant sound caught our attention—the rescue team’s helicopters.”

Provide closure to the story.

Reflect on the significance of the experience and its impact.

Reflection : Summarize the key lessons learned or insights gained from the experience.

Example : “That hike taught me the true meaning of resilience and the invaluable support of friendship in challenging times.”

Closing Thought : End with a memorable line that reinforces the narrative’s message or leaves a lasting impression.

Example : “As we boarded the helicopters, I knew this adventure would forever be etched in my heart.”

Example Summary:

Imagine a narrative about surviving a challenging hike through the desert, emphasizing the bonds formed and lessons learned. The narrative essay structure might look like starting with an engaging scene, narrating the hardships faced, showcasing the characters’ resilience, and culminating in a powerful realization about friendship and endurance.

Different Types of Narrative Essays

There are a bunch of different types of narrative essays – each one focuses on different elements of storytelling and has its own purpose. Here’s a breakdown of the narrative essay types and what they mean.

Personal Narrative

Description : Tells a personal story or experience from the writer’s life.

Purpose: Reflects on personal growth, lessons learned, or significant moments.

Example of Narrative Essay Types:

Topic : “The Day I Conquered My Fear of Public Speaking”

Focus: Details the experience, emotions, and eventual triumph over a fear of public speaking during a pivotal event.

Descriptive Narrative

Description : Emphasizes vivid details and sensory imagery.

Purpose : Creates a sensory experience, painting a vivid picture for the reader.

Topic : “A Walk Through the Enchanted Forest”

Focus : Paints a detailed picture of the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings experienced during a walk through a mystical forest.

Autobiographical Narrative

Description: Chronicles significant events or moments from the writer’s life.

Purpose: Provides insights into the writer’s life, experiences, and growth.

Topic: “Lessons from My Childhood: How My Grandmother Shaped Who I Am”

Focus: Explores pivotal moments and lessons learned from interactions with a significant family member.

Experiential Narrative

Description: Relays experiences beyond the writer’s personal life.

Purpose: Shares experiences, travels, or events from a broader perspective.

Topic: “Volunteering in a Remote Village: A Journey of Empathy”

Focus: Chronicles the writer’s volunteering experience, highlighting interactions with a community and personal growth.

Literary Narrative

Description: Incorporates literary elements like symbolism, allegory, or thematic explorations.

Purpose: Uses storytelling for deeper explorations of themes or concepts.

Topic: “The Symbolism of the Red Door: A Journey Through Change”

Focus: Uses a red door as a symbol, exploring its significance in the narrator’s life and the theme of transition.

Historical Narrative

Description: Recounts historical events or periods through a personal lens.

Purpose: Presents history through personal experiences or perspectives.

Topic: “A Grandfather’s Tales: Living Through the Great Depression”

Focus: Shares personal stories from a family member who lived through a historical era, offering insights into that period.

Digital or Multimedia Narrative

Description: Incorporates multimedia elements like images, videos, or audio to tell a story.

Purpose: Explores storytelling through various digital platforms or formats.

Topic: “A Travel Diary: Exploring Europe Through Vlogs”

Focus: Combines video clips, photos, and personal narration to document a travel experience.

How to Choose a Topic for Your Narrative Essay?

Selecting a compelling topic for your narrative essay is crucial as it sets the stage for your storytelling. Choosing a boring topic is one of the narrative essay mistakes to avoid . Here’s a detailed guide on how to choose the right topic:

Reflect on Personal Experiences

  • Significant Moments:

Moments that had a profound impact on your life or shaped your perspective.

Example: A moment of triumph, overcoming a fear, a life-changing decision, or an unforgettable experience.

  • Emotional Resonance:

Events that evoke strong emotions or feelings.

Example: Joy, fear, sadness, excitement, or moments of realization.

  • Lessons Learned:

Experiences that taught you valuable lessons or brought about personal growth.

Example: Challenges that led to personal development, shifts in mindset, or newfound insights.

Explore Unique Perspectives

  • Uncommon Experiences:

Unique or unconventional experiences that might captivate the reader’s interest.

Example: Unusual travels, interactions with different cultures, or uncommon hobbies.

  • Different Points of View:

Stories from others’ perspectives that impacted you deeply.

Example: A family member’s story, a friend’s experience, or a historical event from a personal lens.

Focus on Specific Themes or Concepts

  • Themes or Concepts of Interest:

Themes or ideas you want to explore through storytelling.

Example: Friendship, resilience, identity, cultural diversity, or personal transformation.

  • Symbolism or Metaphor:

Using symbols or metaphors as the core of your narrative.

Example: Exploring the symbolism of an object or a place in relation to a broader theme.

Consider Your Audience and Purpose

  • Relevance to Your Audience:

Topics that resonate with your audience’s interests or experiences.

Example: Choose a relatable theme or experience that your readers might connect with emotionally.

  • Impact or Message:

What message or insight do you want to convey through your story?

Example: Choose a topic that aligns with the message or lesson you aim to impart to your readers.

Brainstorm and Evaluate Ideas

  • Free Writing or Mind Mapping:

Process: Write down all potential ideas without filtering. Mind maps or free-writing exercises can help generate diverse ideas.

  • Evaluate Feasibility:

The depth of the story, the availability of vivid details, and your personal connection to the topic.

Imagine you’re considering topics for a narrative essay. You reflect on your experiences and decide to explore the topic of “Overcoming Stage Fright: How a School Play Changed My Perspective.” This topic resonates because it involves a significant challenge you faced and the personal growth it brought about.

Narrative Essay Topics

50 easy narrative essay topics.

  • Learning to Ride a Bike
  • My First Day of School
  • A Surprise Birthday Party
  • The Day I Got Lost
  • Visiting a Haunted House
  • An Encounter with a Wild Animal
  • My Favorite Childhood Toy
  • The Best Vacation I Ever Had
  • An Unforgettable Family Gathering
  • Conquering a Fear of Heights
  • A Special Gift I Received
  • Moving to a New City
  • The Most Memorable Meal
  • Getting Caught in a Rainstorm
  • An Act of Kindness I Witnessed
  • The First Time I Cooked a Meal
  • My Experience with a New Hobby
  • The Day I Met My Best Friend
  • A Hike in the Mountains
  • Learning a New Language
  • An Embarrassing Moment
  • Dealing with a Bully
  • My First Job Interview
  • A Sporting Event I Attended
  • The Scariest Dream I Had
  • Helping a Stranger
  • The Joy of Achieving a Goal
  • A Road Trip Adventure
  • Overcoming a Personal Challenge
  • The Significance of a Family Tradition
  • An Unusual Pet I Owned
  • A Misunderstanding with a Friend
  • Exploring an Abandoned Building
  • My Favorite Book and Why
  • The Impact of a Role Model
  • A Cultural Celebration I Participated In
  • A Valuable Lesson from a Teacher
  • A Trip to the Zoo
  • An Unplanned Adventure
  • Volunteering Experience
  • A Moment of Forgiveness
  • A Decision I Regretted
  • A Special Talent I Have
  • The Importance of Family Traditions
  • The Thrill of Performing on Stage
  • A Moment of Sudden Inspiration
  • The Meaning of Home
  • Learning to Play a Musical Instrument
  • A Childhood Memory at the Park
  • Witnessing a Beautiful Sunset

Narrative Essay Topics for College Students

  • Discovering a New Passion
  • Overcoming Academic Challenges
  • Navigating Cultural Differences
  • Embracing Independence: Moving Away from Home
  • Exploring Career Aspirations
  • Coping with Stress in College
  • The Impact of a Mentor in My Life
  • Balancing Work and Studies
  • Facing a Fear of Public Speaking
  • Exploring a Semester Abroad
  • The Evolution of My Study Habits
  • Volunteering Experience That Changed My Perspective
  • The Role of Technology in Education
  • Finding Balance: Social Life vs. Academics
  • Learning a New Skill Outside the Classroom
  • Reflecting on Freshman Year Challenges
  • The Joys and Struggles of Group Projects
  • My Experience with Internship or Work Placement
  • Challenges of Time Management in College
  • Redefining Success Beyond Grades
  • The Influence of Literature on My Thinking
  • The Impact of Social Media on College Life
  • Overcoming Procrastination
  • Lessons from a Leadership Role
  • Exploring Diversity on Campus
  • Exploring Passion for Environmental Conservation
  • An Eye-Opening Course That Changed My Perspective
  • Living with Roommates: Challenges and Lessons
  • The Significance of Extracurricular Activities
  • The Influence of a Professor on My Academic Journey
  • Discussing Mental Health in College
  • The Evolution of My Career Goals
  • Confronting Personal Biases Through Education
  • The Experience of Attending a Conference or Symposium
  • Challenges Faced by Non-Native English Speakers in College
  • The Impact of Traveling During Breaks
  • Exploring Identity: Cultural or Personal
  • The Impact of Music or Art on My Life
  • Addressing Diversity in the Classroom
  • Exploring Entrepreneurial Ambitions
  • My Experience with Research Projects
  • Overcoming Impostor Syndrome in College
  • The Importance of Networking in College
  • Finding Resilience During Tough Times
  • The Impact of Global Issues on Local Perspectives
  • The Influence of Family Expectations on Education
  • Lessons from a Part-Time Job
  • Exploring the College Sports Culture
  • The Role of Technology in Modern Education
  • The Journey of Self-Discovery Through Education

Narrative Essay Comparison

Narrative essay vs. descriptive essay.

Here’s our first narrative essay comparison! While both narrative and descriptive essays focus on vividly portraying a subject or an event, they differ in their primary objectives and approaches. Now, let’s delve into the nuances of comparison on narrative essays.

Narrative Essay:

Storytelling: Focuses on narrating a personal experience or event.

Chronological Order: Follows a structured timeline of events to tell a story.

Message or Lesson: Often includes a central message, moral, or lesson learned from the experience.

Engagement: Aims to captivate the reader through a compelling storyline and character development.

First-Person Perspective: Typically narrated from the writer’s point of view, using “I” and expressing personal emotions and thoughts.

Plot Development: Emphasizes a plot with a beginning, middle, climax, and resolution.

Character Development: Focuses on describing characters, their interactions, emotions, and growth.

Conflict or Challenge: Usually involves a central conflict or challenge that drives the narrative forward.

Dialogue: Incorporates conversations to bring characters and their interactions to life.

Reflection: Concludes with reflection or insight gained from the experience.

Descriptive Essay:

Vivid Description: Aims to vividly depict a person, place, object, or event.

Imagery and Details: Focuses on sensory details to create a vivid image in the reader’s mind.

Emotion through Description: Uses descriptive language to evoke emotions and engage the reader’s senses.

Painting a Picture: Creates a sensory-rich description allowing the reader to visualize the subject.

Imagery and Sensory Details: Focuses on providing rich sensory descriptions, using vivid language and adjectives.

Point of Focus: Concentrates on describing a specific subject or scene in detail.

Spatial Organization: Often employs spatial organization to describe from one area or aspect to another.

Objective Observations: Typically avoids the use of personal opinions or emotions; instead, the focus remains on providing a detailed and objective description.

Comparison:

Focus: Narrative essays emphasize storytelling, while descriptive essays focus on vividly describing a subject or scene.

Perspective: Narrative essays are often written from a first-person perspective, while descriptive essays may use a more objective viewpoint.

Purpose: Narrative essays aim to convey a message or lesson through a story, while descriptive essays aim to paint a detailed picture for the reader without necessarily conveying a specific message.

Narrative Essay vs. Argumentative Essay

The narrative essay and the argumentative essay serve distinct purposes and employ different approaches:

Engagement and Emotion: Aims to captivate the reader through a compelling story.

Reflective: Often includes reflection on the significance of the experience or lessons learned.

First-Person Perspective: Typically narrated from the writer’s point of view, sharing personal emotions and thoughts.

Plot Development: Emphasizes a storyline with a beginning, middle, climax, and resolution.

Message or Lesson: Conveys a central message, moral, or insight derived from the experience.

Argumentative Essay:

Persuasion and Argumentation: Aims to persuade the reader to adopt the writer’s viewpoint on a specific topic.

Logical Reasoning: Presents evidence, facts, and reasoning to support a particular argument or stance.

Debate and Counterarguments: Acknowledge opposing views and counter them with evidence and reasoning.

Thesis Statement: Includes a clear thesis statement that outlines the writer’s position on the topic.

Thesis and Evidence: Starts with a strong thesis statement and supports it with factual evidence, statistics, expert opinions, or logical reasoning.

Counterarguments: Addresses opposing viewpoints and provides rebuttals with evidence.

Logical Structure: Follows a logical structure with an introduction, body paragraphs presenting arguments and evidence, and a conclusion reaffirming the thesis.

Formal Language: Uses formal language and avoids personal anecdotes or emotional appeals.

Objective: Argumentative essays focus on presenting a logical argument supported by evidence, while narrative essays prioritize storytelling and personal reflection.

Purpose: Argumentative essays aim to persuade and convince the reader of a particular viewpoint, while narrative essays aim to engage, entertain, and share personal experiences.

Structure: Narrative essays follow a storytelling structure with character development and plot, while argumentative essays follow a more formal, structured approach with logical arguments and evidence.

In essence, while both essays involve writing and presenting information, the narrative essay focuses on sharing a personal experience, whereas the argumentative essay aims to persuade the audience by presenting a well-supported argument.

Narrative Essay vs. Personal Essay

While there can be an overlap between narrative and personal essays, they have distinctive characteristics:

Storytelling: Emphasizes recounting a specific experience or event in a structured narrative form.

Engagement through Story: Aims to engage the reader through a compelling story with characters, plot, and a central theme or message.

Reflective: Often includes reflection on the significance of the experience and the lessons learned.

First-Person Perspective: Typically narrated from the writer’s viewpoint, expressing personal emotions and thoughts.

Plot Development: Focuses on developing a storyline with a clear beginning, middle, climax, and resolution.

Character Development: Includes descriptions of characters, their interactions, emotions, and growth.

Central Message: Conveys a central message, moral, or insight derived from the experience.

Personal Essay:

Exploration of Ideas or Themes: Explores personal ideas, opinions, or reflections on a particular topic or subject.

Expression of Thoughts and Opinions: Expresses the writer’s thoughts, feelings, and perspectives on a specific subject matter.

Reflection and Introspection: Often involves self-reflection and introspection on personal experiences, beliefs, or values.

Varied Structure and Content: Can encompass various forms, including memoirs, personal anecdotes, or reflections on life experiences.

Flexibility in Structure: Allows for diverse structures and forms based on the writer’s intent, which could be narrative-like or more reflective.

Theme-Centric Writing: Focuses on exploring a central theme or idea, with personal anecdotes or experiences supporting and illustrating the theme.

Expressive Language: Utilizes descriptive and expressive language to convey personal perspectives, emotions, and opinions.

Focus: Narrative essays primarily focus on storytelling through a structured narrative, while personal essays encompass a broader range of personal expression, which can include storytelling but isn’t limited to it.

Structure: Narrative essays have a more structured plot development with characters and a clear sequence of events, while personal essays might adopt various structures, focusing more on personal reflection, ideas, or themes.

Intent: While both involve personal experiences, narrative essays emphasize telling a story with a message or lesson learned, while personal essays aim to explore personal thoughts, feelings, or opinions on a broader range of topics or themes.

5 Easy Steps for Writing a Narrative Essay

A narrative essay is more than just telling a story. It’s also meant to engage the reader, get them thinking, and leave a lasting impact. Whether it’s to amuse, motivate, teach, or reflect, these essays are a great way to communicate with your audience. This interesting narrative essay guide was all about letting you understand the narrative essay, its importance, and how can you write one.

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Home ➔ What's an Essay? ➔ What is a Narrative Essay? ➔ Personal Narrative Essay

Personal Narrative Essay Guide

A personal narrative essay is a story told from the writer’s point of view and recounts a personal experience. A good personal narrative essay will have a clear purpose, such as describing how an event changed your life or taught you a lesson. The essay should be written in the first person point of view and include sensory details to help the reader feel as if they are experiencing the events firsthand.

When writing a personal narrative essay, choosing a meaningful and memorable topic is essential. The essay writing should also be well-organized and flow smoothly from one event to the next. It is also important to use strong descriptive language so that the reader can visualize the events as they are happening.

In short, the characteristics of a personal narrative essay are as follows:

  • Told from the writer’s point of view
  • Recounts a personal experience
  • Has a clear purpose
  • Is well-organized
  • Uses strong descriptive language
  • Is meaningful and memorable

Note: If you want to learn more about writing narrative essays in general, take a look at our separate guide on this topic: How to Write Narrative Essays .

What to write about?

If you are having trouble choosing a topic or getting started with your personal narrative essay, consider these tips:

  • Think about an event that had a significant impact on your life, such as a move to a new town or the death of a loved one.
  • Consider writing about a time when you faced a challenge or overcame a difficult situation.
  • Reflect on a memory that makes you laugh or smile.
  • Write about a place that is special to you, such as your childhood home or a favorite vacation spot.

Developing your thesis statement

Providing a solid thesis statement is vital for any type of essay, but especially for a personal narrative essay. A thesis statement is one sentence that states the main idea of your essay. It gives the reader an idea of what to expect from the rest of the essay and sets up the event or experience you will recount.

Your thesis statement should be specific and reflect the type of experience you will share. For example, if you are writing about a time when you overcame a fear, your thesis statement could be something like, “I never thought I would be able to conquer my fear of heights, but by facing it head-on, I was able to overcome it.”

If you are having trouble developing a thesis statement, consider these questions:

  • What is the main point of my essay?
  • What am I trying to communicate with my essay?
  • What experience am I going to share?
  • What lesson did I learn from this experience?

Creating an outline of your essay

Once you have decided on a topic and developed a thesis statement, it is time to start planning the events of your personal narrative essay. An outline will help you organize your thoughts and make it easier to transition from one event to the next.

When creating an outline, you should start with a basic structure that includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Within the body paragraphs, you should include specific details about the event or experience you recount. These details should be arranged in chronological order so the reader can follow along easily.

Your introduction should set the stage for the rest of your essay writing and include your thesis statement. The conclusion should wrap up the story and leave the reader with a strong impression.

Here is a basic outline for a personal narrative essay about bullying:

Topic: Overcoming bullying in school

  • A. Hook sentence: Did you know that nearly one in five students report being bullied at school?
  • B. Thesis statement: I never thought I would be able to stand up for myself, but by standing up to the bullies, I was able to gain confidence and learn to be assertive.
  • Note: Use vivid details to describe each specific moment so the reader can visualize what happened.
  • Note: Use strong emotional words to describe your feelings, convey the anxiety you felt, and create tension.
  • C. Describe how you handled the situation.
  • D. Reflect on what you learned from the experience.
  • A. Wrap up the story.
  • B. Leave the reader with a strong impression.
  • C. Restate your thesis statement (paraphrase).

Once you complete the outline, you can start writing your essay.

Writing the introduction

The introduction is the first paragraph of your personal essay and should introduce the topic of your paper. The introduction should also include your thesis statement, usually at the end.

Your introduction should set the stage for the rest of your story and include a hook to keep the reader interested. A hook is a short, interesting sentence that draws the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more.

Here is an example of an introduction paragraph for a personal narrative essay about bullying :

Did you know that nearly one in five students report being bullied at school? I never thought I would be one of them, but when I was in sixth grade, I was bullied by a group of girls in my class. I was shy and withdrawn and didn’t know how to stand up for myself. But by standing up to the bullies, I was able to gain confidence and learn to be assertive.

Notice how the introduction paragraph starts with a hook and ends with the thesis statement.

Writing the body paragraphs

The body paragraphs are where you will describe the events of your story in detail. Each body paragraph should focus on a different event or experience and be arranged chronologically.

When describing the events, it is essential to use vivid language and include specific details so the reader can visualize what happened. You should also use strong words to describe your feelings for a better emotional impact.

Here is an example of the first body paragraph for a personal narrative essay about bullying:

I was walking to my locker when I heard someone laughing. I turned around and saw a group of girls pointing and laughing at me. I tried to ignore them, but they started calling me names and making fun of how I looked. I felt so embarrassed and humiliated. I wanted to disappear. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself, so I just kept my head down and tried to avoid them. But they would always find me and make fun of me. I felt so alone and helpless.

Writing the conclusion

The conclusion is the last paragraph of your personal essay and should summarize the events of your story and leave the reader with a strong impression. The conclusion should also restate your thesis statement, but in a different way than how it was stated in the introduction.

Here is an example of a conclusion paragraph for a personal narrative essay about bullying:

Standing up to the bullies was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, but it was also one of the most empowering. I learned that I am stronger than I thought and that I can stand up for myself. I also learned the importance of standing up for others who are being bullied. By speaking out, we can make a difference and put an end to bullying.

Finishing touches

When you have finished writing your essay, read it carefully to ensure it is well-written and flows smoothly. You may also want someone else to read it to give you feedback. Once your essay is complete, proofread it for any grammar or spelling errors and make any necessary revisions.

Here are some final tips on writing a personal narrative and key takeaways:

  • Stick to one main event or story. Covering too much ground will make your essay confusing and difficult to follow.
  • Use concrete, sensory details to bring your story to life. Readers should be able to picture the events that you describe.
  • Write in first person point of view. This will help make your essay more personal and relatable.
  • Be honest and genuine. Your readers will appreciate your candor and will be more likely to connect with you on a personal level.
  • Have fun! This is your opportunity to tell your story, so make the most of it!
  • Use transitional words to help the events of your story flow smoothly.

Now that you better understand how to write a personal narrative essay, you can start working on your own story.

Note: If you want to know how to write essays in general, check out our extensive guide on this topic: How to Write an Essay .

A clear narrative arc is the basic structure of a story, which includes the exposition (introduction), rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. This structure helps to keep the story focused and ensures that it is enjoyable to read.

If you are having trouble getting started or are stuck at some point, try brainstorming. This can help you to generate ideas and get a better understanding of what you want to write about. You can also try free writing, which is when you write continuously for a set period of time without stopping. This can help to get your creative juices flowing and may give you some ideas that you can use in your essay.

A personal narrative essay is similar to a descriptive essay in that you are describing a personal experience. However, a personal narrative essay also has a purpose or goal, which is usually to tell a specific story from your own life. This makes it different from a descriptive essay, which can be more general in nature.

A personal narrative essay is different from a personal statement in that a personal narrative essay is usually based on a specific event or story from your own life, while a personal statement is more general and focuses on your overall goals or experiences.

The ability to write personal narrative essays can be useful in many different situations. They can be used to communicate your personal experiences, share a unique story, or explain a particular event. They can also be required as a part of college applications or scholarships. No matter the reason, personal narrative essays can be a fun and rewarding experience to write.

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How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

Amy sterling casil, 25 jun 2018.

How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

Although narrative essays tell a story, the events of the story on their own aren't enough to compose a narrative essay. All narrative essays should have a point, a point that is often best communicated in a thesis sentence. The Santa Barbara City College Writing Center advises students to set the scene and provide a "hook" to get the reader's attention. Depending on the type of narrative you're sharing with the reader, the thesis sentence could offer a lesson learned, identify a theme or simply start the story with the first event.

Explore this article

  • Scene Setting
  • Lessons Learned

1 Scene Setting

Set the scene for readers by letting them know relevant details of the the who, what, where and and where of your essay. For example, if you are assigned to write a narrative about a physical challenge, an effective thesis sentence would look at your personal reason for sharing the essay's story. Looking at what is unique about the story you tell in your essay is crucial part of setting the scene. An opener might be, "My father teaching me how to swim the summer I turned 8 made me appreciate my dad's patience and willingness to spend time with me."

The best "hook" for readers is appropriate to the story you are sharing in your narrative essay. An honest "hook" is always effective as a thesis sentence. One way to start an essay is with a related quote that engages the reader or makes them laugh in some way. Relating to the father-son bicycle story, a potential quote hook could be the Desmond Tutu quote, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring."

Include the underlying essay theme in your thesis sentence. For example, if you are writing a narrative about a great one-day trip you took with friends, the thesis could be, "Spending time with close friends gives memories that can last forever, even if the trip is just one day." Condense the main idea(s) of your narrative into a few sentences that support your theme.

4 Lessons Learned

Many narrative essay assignments ask students to write the story of an experience where they learned a valuable lesson. The thesis sentence for these types of narratives should include the lesson or moral of the story. For example, a thesis for an essay about how you responded to peer pressure could be, "I learned that I shouldn't do whatever my friends wanted me to do the night I got caught driving without a license."

  • 1 Purdue Online Writing Lab: Tips and Examples for Writing Thesis Statements
  • 2 New York Times: Climber Still Seeks Larger Meaning in His Epic Escape
  • 3 WeLoveCycling Magazine: 10 Motivational Cycling Quotes From Famous People

About the Author

Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.

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3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

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A narrative essay is one of the most intimidating assignments you can be handed at any level of your education. Where you've previously written argumentative essays that make a point or analytic essays that dissect meaning, a narrative essay asks you to write what is effectively a story .

But unlike a simple work of creative fiction, your narrative essay must have a clear and concrete motif —a recurring theme or idea that you’ll explore throughout. Narrative essays are less rigid, more creative in expression, and therefore pretty different from most other essays you’ll be writing.

But not to fear—in this article, we’ll be covering what a narrative essay is, how to write a good one, and also analyzing some personal narrative essay examples to show you what a great one looks like.

What Is a Narrative Essay?

At first glance, a narrative essay might sound like you’re just writing a story. Like the stories you're used to reading, a narrative essay is generally (but not always) chronological, following a clear throughline from beginning to end. Even if the story jumps around in time, all the details will come back to one specific theme, demonstrated through your choice in motifs.

Unlike many creative stories, however, your narrative essay should be based in fact. That doesn’t mean that every detail needs to be pure and untainted by imagination, but rather that you shouldn’t wholly invent the events of your narrative essay. There’s nothing wrong with inventing a person’s words if you can’t remember them exactly, but you shouldn’t say they said something they weren’t even close to saying.

Another big difference between narrative essays and creative fiction—as well as other kinds of essays—is that narrative essays are based on motifs. A motif is a dominant idea or theme, one that you establish before writing the essay. As you’re crafting the narrative, it’ll feed back into your motif to create a comprehensive picture of whatever that motif is.

For example, say you want to write a narrative essay about how your first day in high school helped you establish your identity. You might discuss events like trying to figure out where to sit in the cafeteria, having to describe yourself in five words as an icebreaker in your math class, or being unsure what to do during your lunch break because it’s no longer acceptable to go outside and play during lunch. All of those ideas feed back into the central motif of establishing your identity.

The important thing to remember is that while a narrative essay is typically told chronologically and intended to read like a story, it is not purely for entertainment value. A narrative essay delivers its theme by deliberately weaving the motifs through the events, scenes, and details. While a narrative essay may be entertaining, its primary purpose is to tell a complete story based on a central meaning.

Unlike other essay forms, it is totally okay—even expected—to use first-person narration in narrative essays. If you’re writing a story about yourself, it’s natural to refer to yourself within the essay. It’s also okay to use other perspectives, such as third- or even second-person, but that should only be done if it better serves your motif. Generally speaking, your narrative essay should be in first-person perspective.

Though your motif choices may feel at times like you’re making a point the way you would in an argumentative essay, a narrative essay’s goal is to tell a story, not convince the reader of anything. Your reader should be able to tell what your motif is from reading, but you don’t have to change their mind about anything. If they don’t understand the point you are making, you should consider strengthening the delivery of the events and descriptions that support your motif.

Narrative essays also share some features with analytical essays, in which you derive meaning from a book, film, or other media. But narrative essays work differently—you’re not trying to draw meaning from an existing text, but rather using an event you’ve experienced to convey meaning. In an analytical essay, you examine narrative, whereas in a narrative essay you create narrative.

The structure of a narrative essay is also a bit different than other essays. You’ll generally be getting your point across chronologically as opposed to grouping together specific arguments in paragraphs or sections. To return to the example of an essay discussing your first day of high school and how it impacted the shaping of your identity, it would be weird to put the events out of order, even if not knowing what to do after lunch feels like a stronger idea than choosing where to sit. Instead of organizing to deliver your information based on maximum impact, you’ll be telling your story as it happened, using concrete details to reinforce your theme.

body_fair

3 Great Narrative Essay Examples

One of the best ways to learn how to write a narrative essay is to look at a great narrative essay sample. Let’s take a look at some truly stellar narrative essay examples and dive into what exactly makes them work so well.

A Ticket to the Fair by David Foster Wallace

Today is Press Day at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, and I’m supposed to be at the fairgrounds by 9:00 A.M. to get my credentials. I imagine credentials to be a small white card in the band of a fedora. I’ve never been considered press before. My real interest in credentials is getting into rides and shows for free. I’m fresh in from the East Coast, for an East Coast magazine. Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish. I think they asked me to do this because I grew up here, just a couple hours’ drive from downstate Springfield. I never did go to the state fair, though—I pretty much topped out at the county fair level. Actually, I haven’t been back to Illinois for a long time, and I can’t say I’ve missed it.

Throughout this essay, David Foster Wallace recounts his experience as press at the Illinois State Fair. But it’s clear from this opening that he’s not just reporting on the events exactly as they happened—though that’s also true— but rather making a point about how the East Coast, where he lives and works, thinks about the Midwest.

In his opening paragraph, Wallace states that outright: “Why exactly they’re interested in the Illinois State Fair remains unclear to me. I suspect that every so often editors at East Coast magazines slap their foreheads and remember that about 90 percent of the United States lies between the coasts, and figure they’ll engage somebody to do pith-helmeted anthropological reporting on something rural and heartlandish.”

Not every motif needs to be stated this clearly , but in an essay as long as Wallace’s, particularly since the audience for such a piece may feel similarly and forget that such a large portion of the country exists, it’s important to make that point clear.

But Wallace doesn’t just rest on introducing his motif and telling the events exactly as they occurred from there. It’s clear that he selects events that remind us of that idea of East Coast cynicism , such as when he realizes that the Help Me Grow tent is standing on top of fake grass that is killing the real grass beneath, when he realizes the hypocrisy of craving a corn dog when faced with a real, suffering pig, when he’s upset for his friend even though he’s not the one being sexually harassed, and when he witnesses another East Coast person doing something he wouldn’t dare to do.

Wallace is literally telling the audience exactly what happened, complete with dates and timestamps for when each event occurred. But he’s also choosing those events with a purpose—he doesn’t focus on details that don’t serve his motif. That’s why he discusses the experiences of people, how the smells are unappealing to him, and how all the people he meets, in cowboy hats, overalls, or “black spandex that looks like cheesecake leotards,” feel almost alien to him.

All of these details feed back into the throughline of East Coast thinking that Wallace introduces in the first paragraph. He also refers back to it in the essay’s final paragraph, stating:

At last, an overarching theory blooms inside my head: megalopolitan East Coasters’ summer treats and breaks and literally ‘getaways,’ flights-from—from crowds, noise, heat, dirt, the stress of too many sensory choices….The East Coast existential treat is escape from confines and stimuli—quiet, rustic vistas that hold still, turn inward, turn away. Not so in the rural Midwest. Here you’re pretty much away all the time….Something in a Midwesterner sort of actuates , deep down, at a public event….The real spectacle that draws us here is us.

Throughout this journey, Wallace has tried to demonstrate how the East Coast thinks about the Midwest, ultimately concluding that they are captivated by the Midwest’s less stimuli-filled life, but that the real reason they are interested in events like the Illinois State Fair is that they are, in some ways, a means of looking at the East Coast in a new, estranging way.

The reason this works so well is that Wallace has carefully chosen his examples, outlined his motif and themes in the first paragraph, and eventually circled back to the original motif with a clearer understanding of his original point.

When outlining your own narrative essay, try to do the same. Start with a theme, build upon it with examples, and return to it in the end with an even deeper understanding of the original issue. You don’t need this much space to explore a theme, either—as we’ll see in the next example, a strong narrative essay can also be very short.

body_moth

Death of a Moth by Virginia Woolf

After a time, tired by his dancing apparently, he settled on the window ledge in the sun, and, the queer spectacle being at an end, I forgot about him. Then, looking up, my eye was caught by him. He was trying to resume his dancing, but seemed either so stiff or so awkward that he could only flutter to the bottom of the window-pane; and when he tried to fly across it he failed. Being intent on other matters I watched these futile attempts for a time without thinking, unconsciously waiting for him to resume his flight, as one waits for a machine, that has stopped momentarily, to start again without considering the reason of its failure. After perhaps a seventh attempt he slipped from the wooden ledge and fell, fluttering his wings, on to his back on the window sill. The helplessness of his attitude roused me. It flashed upon me that he was in difficulties; he could no longer raise himself; his legs struggled vainly. But, as I stretched out a pencil, meaning to help him to right himself, it came over me that the failure and awkwardness were the approach of death. I laid the pencil down again.

In this essay, Virginia Woolf explains her encounter with a dying moth. On surface level, this essay is just a recounting of an afternoon in which she watched a moth die—it’s even established in the title. But there’s more to it than that. Though Woolf does not begin her essay with as clear a motif as Wallace, it’s not hard to pick out the evidence she uses to support her point, which is that the experience of this moth is also the human experience.

In the title, Woolf tells us this essay is about death. But in the first paragraph, she seems to mostly be discussing life—the moth is “content with life,” people are working in the fields, and birds are flying. However, she mentions that it is mid-September and that the fields were being plowed. It’s autumn and it’s time for the harvest; the time of year in which many things die.

In this short essay, she chronicles the experience of watching a moth seemingly embody life, then die. Though this essay is literally about a moth, it’s also about a whole lot more than that. After all, moths aren’t the only things that die—Woolf is also reflecting on her own mortality, as well as the mortality of everything around her.

At its core, the essay discusses the push and pull of life and death, not in a way that’s necessarily sad, but in a way that is accepting of both. Woolf begins by setting up the transitional fall season, often associated with things coming to an end, and raises the ideas of pleasure, vitality, and pity.

At one point, Woolf tries to help the dying moth, but reconsiders, as it would interfere with the natural order of the world. The moth’s death is part of the natural order of the world, just like fall, just like her own eventual death.

All these themes are set up in the beginning and explored throughout the essay’s narrative. Though Woolf doesn’t directly state her theme, she reinforces it by choosing a small, isolated event—watching a moth die—and illustrating her point through details.

With this essay, we can see that you don’t need a big, weird, exciting event to discuss an important meaning. Woolf is able to explore complicated ideas in a short essay by being deliberate about what details she includes, just as you can be in your own essays.

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Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin

On the twenty-ninth of July, in 1943, my father died. On the same day, a few hours later, his last child was born. Over a month before this, while all our energies were concentrated in waiting for these events, there had been, in Detroit, one of the bloodiest race riots of the century. A few hours after my father’s funeral, while he lay in state in the undertaker’s chapel, a race riot broke out in Harlem. On the morning of the third of August, we drove my father to the graveyard through a wilderness of smashed plate glass.

Like Woolf, Baldwin does not lay out his themes in concrete terms—unlike Wallace, there’s no clear sentence that explains what he’ll be talking about. However, you can see the motifs quite clearly: death, fatherhood, struggle, and race.

Throughout the narrative essay, Baldwin discusses the circumstances of his father’s death, including his complicated relationship with his father. By introducing those motifs in the first paragraph, the reader understands that everything discussed in the essay will come back to those core ideas. When Baldwin talks about his experience with a white teacher taking an interest in him and his father’s resistance to that, he is also talking about race and his father’s death. When he talks about his father’s death, he is also talking about his views on race. When he talks about his encounters with segregation and racism, he is talking, in part, about his father.

Because his father was a hard, uncompromising man, Baldwin struggles to reconcile the knowledge that his father was right about many things with his desire to not let that hardness consume him, as well.

Baldwin doesn’t explicitly state any of this, but his writing so often touches on the same motifs that it becomes clear he wants us to think about all these ideas in conversation with one another.

At the end of the essay, Baldwin makes it more clear:

This fight begins, however, in the heart and it had now been laid to my charge to keep my own heart free of hatred and despair. This intimation made my heart heavy and, now that my father was irrecoverable, I wished that he had been beside me so that I could have searched his face for the answers which only the future would give me now.

Here, Baldwin ties together the themes and motifs into one clear statement: that he must continue to fight and recognize injustice, especially racial injustice, just as his father did. But unlike his father, he must do it beginning with himself—he must not let himself be closed off to the world as his father was. And yet, he still wishes he had his father for guidance, even as he establishes that he hopes to be a different man than his father.

In this essay, Baldwin loads the front of the essay with his motifs, and, through his narrative, weaves them together into a theme. In the end, he comes to a conclusion that connects all of those things together and leaves the reader with a lasting impression of completion—though the elements may have been initially disparate, in the end everything makes sense.

You can replicate this tactic of introducing seemingly unattached ideas and weaving them together in your own essays. By introducing those motifs, developing them throughout, and bringing them together in the end, you can demonstrate to your reader how all of them are related. However, it’s especially important to be sure that your motifs and clear and consistent throughout your essay so that the conclusion feels earned and consistent—if not, readers may feel mislead.

5 Key Tips for Writing Narrative Essays

Narrative essays can be a lot of fun to write since they’re so heavily based on creativity. But that can also feel intimidating—sometimes it’s easier to have strict guidelines than to have to make it all up yourself. Here are a few tips to keep your narrative essay feeling strong and fresh.

Develop Strong Motifs

Motifs are the foundation of a narrative essay . What are you trying to say? How can you say that using specific symbols or events? Those are your motifs.

In the same way that an argumentative essay’s body should support its thesis, the body of your narrative essay should include motifs that support your theme.

Try to avoid cliches, as these will feel tired to your readers. Instead of roses to symbolize love, try succulents. Instead of the ocean representing some vast, unknowable truth, try the depths of your brother’s bedroom. Keep your language and motifs fresh and your essay will be even stronger!

Use First-Person Perspective

In many essays, you’re expected to remove yourself so that your points stand on their own. Not so in a narrative essay—in this case, you want to make use of your own perspective.

Sometimes a different perspective can make your point even stronger. If you want someone to identify with your point of view, it may be tempting to choose a second-person perspective. However, be sure you really understand the function of second-person; it’s very easy to put a reader off if the narration isn’t expertly deployed.

If you want a little bit of distance, third-person perspective may be okay. But be careful—too much distance and your reader may feel like the narrative lacks truth.

That’s why first-person perspective is the standard. It keeps you, the writer, close to the narrative, reminding the reader that it really happened. And because you really know what happened and how, you’re free to inject your own opinion into the story without it detracting from your point, as it would in a different type of essay.

Stick to the Truth

Your essay should be true. However, this is a creative essay, and it’s okay to embellish a little. Rarely in life do we experience anything with a clear, concrete meaning the way somebody in a book might. If you flub the details a little, it’s okay—just don’t make them up entirely.

Also, nobody expects you to perfectly recall details that may have happened years ago. You may have to reconstruct dialog from your memory and your imagination. That’s okay, again, as long as you aren’t making it up entirely and assigning made-up statements to somebody.

Dialog is a powerful tool. A good conversation can add flavor and interest to a story, as we saw demonstrated in David Foster Wallace’s essay. As previously mentioned, it’s okay to flub it a little, especially because you’re likely writing about an experience you had without knowing that you’d be writing about it later.

However, don’t rely too much on it. Your narrative essay shouldn’t be told through people explaining things to one another; the motif comes through in the details. Dialog can be one of those details, but it shouldn’t be the only one.

Use Sensory Descriptions

Because a narrative essay is a story, you can use sensory details to make your writing more interesting. If you’re describing a particular experience, you can go into detail about things like taste, smell, and hearing in a way that you probably wouldn’t do in any other essay style.

These details can tie into your overall motifs and further your point. Woolf describes in great detail what she sees while watching the moth, giving us the sense that we, too, are watching the moth. In Wallace’s essay, he discusses the sights, sounds, and smells of the Illinois State Fair to help emphasize his point about its strangeness. And in Baldwin’s essay, he describes shattered glass as a “wilderness,” and uses the feelings of his body to describe his mental state.

All these descriptions anchor us not only in the story, but in the motifs and themes as well. One of the tools of a writer is making the reader feel as you felt, and sensory details help you achieve that.

What’s Next?

Looking to brush up on your essay-writing capabilities before the ACT? This guide to ACT English will walk you through some of the best strategies and practice questions to get you prepared!

Part of practicing for the ACT is ensuring your word choice and diction are on point. Check out this guide to some of the most common errors on the ACT English section to be sure that you're not making these common mistakes!

A solid understanding of English principles will help you make an effective point in a narrative essay, and you can get that understanding through taking a rigorous assortment of high school English classes !

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Melissa Brinks graduated from the University of Washington in 2014 with a Bachelor's in English with a creative writing emphasis. She has spent several years tutoring K-12 students in many subjects, including in SAT prep, to help them prepare for their college education.

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Jemma Kuster

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Narrative Essay Thesis Statements: Tips and Examples

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how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

Introduction

A narrative essay, put simply, is an essay that tells a story. Narrative essays are usually both creative and personal, which makes it difficult to know where to start and how to incorporate the traditional elements of essays that we might be more familiar with. 

When we think of essays in general, one important component is the thesis statement, which tells us the main idea or argument of an overall work. In a narrative essay, however, a thesis does not follow the same rules it does in other types of writing. A narrative essay thesis statement can do one or both of the following: (1) convey a theme, lesson, or main idea, or (2) introduce the action of the story you want to tell. 

How you write your thesis will depend on the purpose of your essay, any instructions or prompt you may have received, and what flows with your writing style. In most cases, when writing a narrative essay, you will be focusing on a single event or experience that was important to you. If your goal is to convey a lesson, theme, or moral from that experience, you might think about the following questions: 

  • Why am I telling this story?
  • What happened or changed in my life as a result of this event?
  • What did I learn from this experience?
  • What is the most important idea/lesson that I want my reader to take away after reading my essay?
  • What point am I making with this, in general?

Once you have an idea of what you want to say, all that is left is to turn that thought into a thesis. Let’s take a closer look at some examples of narrative essay thesis statements to see how that works:

  • Over the few months I spent with those mice, I learned that unexpected instructors can often have the most to teach us. 
  • That single failing grade was enough to shift my perspective on personal responsibility. 
  • Overcoming grief is a slow process that never truly ends, but confiding in the people in our lives can make it less painful. 

These statements tell us a main idea, lesson, or theme from their respective narrative. Still, it can be hard to understand how these sentences would fit into an essay when looking at them in isolation. Here are two examples from well-known narrative essays so you can see what thesis statements look like in actual paragraphs:

“I was less playing a particular kind of animal than enacting a form of wildness that I recognized in myself.” – From “The Wild, Sublime Body” by Melissa Febos, published in The Yale Review. The full essay can be accessed here.
“Beyond those things our culture might specialize in money, and celebrity, and natural beauty. These are not universal. You enjoy work and will love your grandchildren, and somewhere in there you die.” – From “This is the Life” by Annie Dillard, originally published in  Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religio n. The full essay can be accessed here.

Both of these excerpts convey the main idea of their respective essay. They are not extremely direct, but they give us a hint at what we should be taking away from these essays nonetheless.

But what about thesis statements that simply introduce the action of a story, or do that while telling us a theme or main idea? These can also be a great, flexible option for your writing. Here is another contextual example:

“I foresaw no particular problems or difficulties. I was as strong as a bull, in the prime, the pride, the high noon of life. I looked forward to the walk with assurance and pleasure.” – From “The Bull on the Mountain” by Oliver Sacks, published in The New York Review. The full essay can be accessed here.

Not only do these sentences introduce the story’s action (the narrator will soon begin to walk), but they also hint at an underlying message. We know immediately that the narrator’s assuredness and pride will likely come before a fall, even though it is not stated. 

Drafting a thesis statement is difficult, especially for a creative medium like a narrative essay. Remember that writing is a process of revision; you can always return to your “thesis” after you’ve written some or all of your essay. This may help you eliminate any awkwardness in how your thesis flows with the rest of your writing. You can also test for awkward or too-direct phrasing by reading the surrounding sentences out loud and making sure they sound natural in your voice.

Keep in mind that the examples here are not exhaustive; there are infinite ways to tell a compelling story, and it is up to you to find what works for your goals. Continuing to seek out and read other narrative essays can help you understand what makes them tick and how you can achieve similar things in your writing.

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Personal Narrative: Getting Started

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Thesis Statement for Personal Essay

Thesis statement generator for personal essay.

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

Personal essays are intimate reflections, weaving together narratives and insights to deliver profound messages. Central to these essays is the thesis statement — a guiding beacon that directs the narrative and offers clarity to readers. Crafting a resonant thesis for a personal essay requires introspection and a deep understanding of one’s own journey. This guide will illuminate the path to writing compelling thesis statements for personal essays, complete with examples and expert tips.

What is a Personal Essay Thesis Statement? – Definition:

A personal essay thesis statement is a concise expression of the central theme or primary insight of the essay. Unlike thesis statements in more formal academic papers, a personal essay’s thesis often captures an emotion, lesson learned, or a core truth about the writer’s experience. It provides readers with a glimpse into the essence of the writer’s story and sets the stage for the unfolding narrative.

What is the Best Thesis Statement Example for Personal Essay?

While the “best” thesis statement for a personal essay would depend on the specific topic and the individual’s experience, here’s a general example:

“Through the winding journey of self-discovery amidst challenges, I realized that embracing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but rather a testament to the strength of the human spirit.”

This final thesis statement encapsulates a personal insight while hinting at a narrative of challenges and self-discovery, drawing readers into the essay’s deeper exploration of the topic.

100 Thesis Statement Examples for Personal Essay

Thesis Statement Examples for Personal Essay

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Personal essays are windows into the author’s soul, glimpses of moments, lessons, and reflections that have shaped their journey. The good thesis statement in these essays is more than just a mere statement; it’s the heartbeat of the narrative, encapsulating the essence of the tale and the wisdom gleaned from it. Let’s explore a collection of thesis statements, each weaving its unique tapestry of human experience.

  • “The echoes of my grandmother’s stories taught me the power of legacy and the importance of preserving memory.”
  • “Navigating the turbulent waters of adolescence, I discovered the anchoring power of self-acceptance.”
  • “In the silent corridors of grief, I unearthed the profound strength that lies in vulnerability.”
  • “The tapestry of my multicultural upbringing illustrated the beauty of diversity and the bridges it can build.”
  • “Amid the cacophony of urban life, the serenity of nature became my sanctuary and muse.”
  • “Love, in its many shades, revealed to me that it is more about giving than receiving.”
  • “Facing the monolith of failure, I realized it’s but a stepping stone to success.”
  • “The journey from solitude to loneliness taught me the invaluable nature of genuine connections.”
  • “Chasing dreams on the canvas of a starlit sky, I learned that ambition has its roots in passion, not just success.”
  • “The silent conversations with my reflection taught me the transformative power of self-love.”
  • “In the crossroads of life’s decisions, I discovered that intuition often holds the compass to our true north.”
  • “The rhythms of dance became my language, translating emotions words often couldn’t capture.”
  • “Wandering through foreign lands, I understood that home isn’t a place but a feeling.”
  • “The unraveling of old beliefs led me to the mosaic of perspectives that color the world.”
  • “In the realm of dreams, I grasped the significance of perseverance and the magic of belief.”
  • “As seasons changed, so did my understanding of the impermanence of life and the beauty it holds.”
  • “The melodies of my mother’s lullabies became the soundtrack of my resilience and hope.”
  • “In the pages of forgotten diaries, I retraced the evolution of my thoughts and the depth of my growth.”
  • “The culinary adventures in my grandmother’s kitchen were lessons in love, tradition, and the art of giving.”
  • “Amidst life’s cacophony, the whispering pages of books became my escape and my anchor.”
  • “Through the lens of my camera, I captured the transient nature of moments and the eternity they hold.”
  • “The mosaic of friendships over the years showcased the fluidity of human connections and their timeless essence.”
  • “Under the shade of ancient trees, I learned patience, growth, and the cycles of life.”
  • “The footprints on sandy shores traced my journey of introspection and the tides of change.”
  • “In the embrace of twilight, I unraveled the beauty of endings and the promises they carry.”
  • “From handwritten letters, I unearthed the magic of words and the bridges they create across distances.”
  • “The undulating paths of mountain hikes mirrored life’s ups and downs, teaching me resilience and wonder.”
  • “Within the hallowed halls of museums, I discovered humanity’s quest for expression and the stories etched in time.”
  • “The serendipities of chance encounters taught me the universe’s uncanny ability to weave tales of connection.”
  • “In the garden’s bloom and wither, I saw life’s ephemeral nature and the rebirth that follows decay”
  • “The tapestry of city sounds became my symphony, teaching me to find harmony in chaos.”
  • “Between the pages of my journal, I discovered the transformative power of reflection and the stories we tell ourselves.”
  • “In the heartbeats of quiet moments, I recognized the profound value of stillness in a world constantly in motion.”
  • “Through the myriad hues of sunsets, I learned that endings can be beautiful beginnings in disguise.”
  • “The labyrinth of memories illuminated the idea that our past shapes us, but doesn’t define us.”
  • “The first brush strokes on a blank canvas taught me the courage to start and the potential of the unknown.”
  • “In the aroma of rain-kissed earth, I found the connection between nature’s simplicity and life’s profound moments.”
  • “The gentle tug of ocean waves mirrored the ebb and flow of emotions and the healing power of letting go.”
  • “Amidst the ruins of ancient civilizations, I grasped the timeless human desire to leave a mark and be remembered.”
  • “The resonance of old songs brought back memories, revealing how art transcends time, reminding us of who we were.”
  • “In the mirror of my parents’ aging faces, I saw the passage of time and the stories etched in every wrinkle.”
  • “The spontaneity of impromptu road trips unveiled the joy of unplanned adventures and the paths less traveled.”
  • “The aroma of childhood meals evoked memories, teaching me that senses can be portals to the past.”
  • “From the heights of skydiving, I felt the exhilarating blend of fear, freedom, and the joy of being alive.”
  • “In the cadence of poetry, I learned the power of words to heal, inspire, and transport to different realms.”
  • “The play of shadows and light during an eclipse taught me about life’s dualities and the balance they bring.”
  • “The laughter and tears shared with friends showcased the depth of human connection and the shared threads of our stories.”
  • “Amidst the solitude of silent retreats, I discovered the voice within and the wisdom it holds.”
  • “Through the changing vistas of train journeys, I realized life is less about destinations and more about the journey.”
  • “The cycles of the moon became my reflection on the phases of life and the beauty in its transitions.
  • “In the silent flight of a butterfly, I witnessed the delicate dance of change and the beauty of metamorphosis.”
  • “The melodies of street musicians became my muse, illustrating the universal language of passion and art.”
  • “Within the pages of fairy tales, I unraveled deeper truths about hope, bravery, and the magic within us all.”
  • “The fragility of a snowflake mirrored the fleeting moments of life, urging me to cherish each one.”
  • “Through the lens of history, I understood the cyclical nature of time and the lessons it persistently offers.”
  • “Amid the vastness of deserts, I felt the weight of solitude and the freedom it silently gifts.”
  • “In the embrace of night’s silence, I learned to listen to my inner voice, undistracted by the day’s clamor.”
  • “The ritual of morning coffee became a meditation, teaching me to find joy in simple routines and moments.”
  • “The constellation of stars in the night sky showed me the beauty of small lights in vast darkness.”
  • “In the hustle of marketplaces, I perceived the intricate dance of life, commerce, and shared human experience.”
  • “The whispers of old trees carried tales of time, resilience, and the secrets of unwavering growth.”
  • “From the peaks of mountains, I felt the world’s vastness and my tiny yet significant place within it.”
  • “The riddles of childhood games taught me the joys of curiosity and the journey of seeking answers.”
  • “The seasons’ rhythmic dance became my muse, reflecting life’s constant change and the beauty in every phase.”
  • “In the flicker of candle flames, I felt the warmth of hope and the luminescence of undying spirit.”
  • “The ever-expanding universe became a metaphor for boundless possibilities and the mysteries yet to be unraveled.”
  • “The resonance of church bells reminded me of the call to introspect and find solace within.”
  • “The chorus of chirping birds at dawn became an ode to new beginnings and the melodies of nature.”
  • “In the winding paths of forests, I discovered life’s unexpected turns and the revelations they bring.”
  • “The myriad hues of a painter’s palette echoed the diversity of human emotions and the art of expressing them.
  • “Beneath the veil of city lights, I discerned the contrast between loneliness in crowds and solace in solitude.”
  • “In the ripples of a serene pond, I realized that even the smallest of actions can have far-reaching effects.”
  • “The ballet of autumn leaves taught me about graceful endings and the promise of rebirth.”
  • “From the labyrinths of ancient libraries, I uncovered the timelessness of knowledge and human quest for understanding.”
  • “Through the whispers of midnight winds, I felt the comforting presence of the unseen and the mysteries of the night.”
  • “In the patchwork quilt passed down generations, I recognized the warmth of stories and the fabric of shared memories.”
  • “The ascent and descent of tides taught me about life’s cyclical nature and the inevitability of change.”
  • “Amidst the aroma of old bookstores, I discovered portals to different worlds and the eternal allure of stories.”
  • “In the footprints on a snowy path, I saw the transient nature of moments and the lasting impressions they leave.”
  • “The harmonies of a choir became an emblem of unity, diversity, and the beauty of voices coming together.”
  • “The transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly illuminated the wonders of change and the potential within us all.”
  • “From the symphony of city streets, I deduced that every individual has a story, waiting to be told.”
  • “The unfurling of a rosebud spoke of patience, time, and the elegance in gradual blooming.”
  • “In the dance of shadows during twilight, I grasped the interplay between light and dark in our lives.”
  • “The handwritten notes in the margins of used books unveiled strangers’ thoughts and the universality of human reflections.”
  • “Amidst the patterns of falling rain, I perceived nature’s rhythm and the cleansing it offers.”
  • “The voyage across seas showed me the vastness of the world and the adventure of discovering uncharted territories.”
  • “The warmth of a fireplace in winter became a symbol of comfort, home, and the gentle embrace of memories.”
  • “Through the kaleidoscope of festivals, I appreciated the richness of traditions and the unity they foster.”
  • “The arcs of rainbows painted the sky with hope, reminding me of the beauty after storms and the treasures of optimism.
  • “In the tapestry of a spider’s web, I witnessed the marvel of intricate designs and the beauty in nature’s craftsmanship.”
  • “Through the rhythms of folk dances, I felt the heartbeat of cultures and the stories they carry through generations.”
  • “In the embrace of a mother’s lullaby, I rediscovered the profound connection of roots and the safety of unconditional love.”
  • “The alchemy of turning clay into pottery taught me about the transformative power of touch and the art of creation.”
  • “Amid the grandeur of cathedrals, I sensed the union of devotion, art, and the timeless quest for meaning.”
  • “In the migrations of birds, I observed the marvels of nature, the journey of seasons, and the allure of homecomings.”
  • “The flavors of grandmother’s recipes held the essence of traditions, stories, and the magic of hands that tell tales.”
  • “Through the reflections in a tranquil lake, I grasped the duality of reality and the depths beneath calm surfaces.”
  • “In the footsteps across deserts, I felt the perseverance of souls and the vastness of life’s journeys.”
  • “The fluttering pages of an old diary brought me back to past selves, the continuum of growth, and the chapters yet unwritten.”

Every one of these thesis statements serves as a unique prism, refracting the singular experiences of life into universally relatable insights. They beckon readers to delve deeper, to embark on introspective voyages, and to resonate with the emotions, memories, and discoveries that are so innately human. Personal essays anchored by such profound statements become more than mere stories; they evolve into shared chronicles of the human spirit, its challenges, joys, and ever-evolving wisdom.  You should also take a look at our  concise thesis statement .

How do you write a thesis statement for a personal essay? – Step by Step Guide

  • Understand the Topic (if given): Before you begin, thoroughly read and understand the essay topic, if provided. This will guide your reflection and thought process.
  • Reflect on Your Subject: Think deeply about your experiences, feelings, and insights. Identify what story or perspective you want to share.
  • Pinpoint the Central Theme: Decide on the main idea or lesson from your reflection. What message or insight do you want your readers to take away?
  • Be Specific: Instead of being broad or general, delve into a particular incident, emotion, or realization that epitomizes the theme.
  • Draft a Statement: Begin writing your thesis. This should be a concise sentence that encapsulates the essence of your essay.
  • Revisit and Refine: As you progress in your essay, revisit your thesis. Ensure it aligns with your narrative and make any necessary refinements.
  • Seek Feedback: Share your thesis with peers or mentors. Fresh perspectives can offer invaluable insights or suggestions.

Is there a thesis in a personal essay?

Yes, there typically is a thesis in a personal essay, but it might not be as direct or argumentative as in other types of essays. Instead, the thesis in a personal essay is a central idea or theme that the writer intends to convey. It serves as an anchor, guiding the narrative and ensuring that readers understand the core message or insight of the piece.

How do you start a personal thesis statement?

  • Begin with a Bang: Start with a striking statement or a profound realization that encapsulates your story.
  • Use Vivid Imagery: Paint a picture with words to immediately engage your readers.
  • Pose a Question: Starting with a reflective or rhetorical question can provoke thought and pull readers in.
  • Relate to a Universal Theme: Touch on a theme that many can resonate with, such as love, loss, growth, or transformation.

Tips for Writing a Personal Essay Thesis Statement

  • Stay Authentic: Your personal essay is your story. Ensure your thesis reflects your genuine emotions, experiences, and insights.
  • Keep it Concise: A thesis should be clear and succinct, capturing the essence of your narrative in one or two sentences.
  • Avoid Clichés: Steer clear of overused phrases or generalizations. Your thesis should be unique to your story and perspective.
  • Maintain Coherence: As you draft your essay, ensure every part of your narrative aligns with and supports your thesis.
  • Engage Emotionally: While a thesis should be clear and direct, it should also evoke emotion or curiosity, compelling readers to explore the rest of your essay.
  • Revise: As with any part of writing, don’t hesitate to revise your thesis as you refine your essay, ensuring it remains the best reflection of your narrative.

Remember, the thesis of your personal essay is the heart of your narrative. It’s the essence of your story and the message you want to share with the world. Crafting it with care will set the tone for the entire essay and guide your readers on the journey you wish to take them on

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The narrative essay is a unique and creative form of academic writing. It tests your ability to narrate personal anecdotes in a structured, meaningful, and engaging manner. This type of writing vastly differs from other academic writing types, which rely more on facts and statistics. 

In this article, we’re going to understand what is a narrative essay, how to write one, and its various types with the help of plenty of examples. We have also provided a narrative essay outline to help you craft a foolproof essay. But before we get into all of that, let’s start with something simple: what’s a narrative essay in the first place?

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What is a narrative essay?

A narrative essay is a highly creative form of academic writing which involves recounting personal anecdotes in an organized and climactic format. Although not as frequently used as expository essays or argumentative essays , this type of essay is a common requirement in high schools and creative writing courses in colleges. A personal statement is also a common requirement for many college admissions. 

A narrative essay uses literary devices such as similes, metaphors, and alliteration that add depth and character to your essay. The objective is to express yourself in a creative and compelling way, and not just convey information.

Now that you understand the narrative essay definition, it’s time to look at some common topics you may have to write on.

Topics for a narrative essay

Narrative essay topics can range from a personal narrative and specific essay topics to loose open-ended prompts. Let’s better understand this with the help of a few good narrative essay topics.

Here are a few topics. 

1. Write about your last day of school.

2. Write about your favorite book and your interpretation of its message.

3. An awkward encounter that led to a long-lasting friendship.

4. Your favorite vacation.

5. The moment you realized, you’re finally an adult.

Here are a few narrative essay examples of open-ended prompts.

1. Describe a life changing event and how it impacted you.

2. What is your favorite childhood memory? 

3. A personal accomplishment that you are proud of and how it has shaped you as a person.

4. The time when you overcame a fear or obstacle and how it helped you grow as a person.

5. A moment of personal growth and reflection that helped you realize something important about yourself.

Here are a few personal narrative essay topics.

1. The moment you realized what you wanted to do with your life.

2. A time when you felt like an outsider and how you dealt with it.

3. A moment when you had to make a difficult moral decision.

4. An experience that changed your perspective on a particular issue.

5. A personal passion or interest and how it has impacted your life.

Narrative essay structure

Although less formulaic than an expository or argumentative essay, your narrative essay format still needs to be well-structured and cohesive for it to be impactful. Like all essay types, the narrative format essay consists of an introduction, body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. However, this structure is less rigid than most essay types and mainly serves as a guideline. 

Let’s look at the main components of the structure of a narrative essay.

1. Introduction

In order to write a well-structured narrative essay, you need to know how to start it. The introduction of a narrative essay plays a crucial role in capturing the reader’s attention and setting the stage for the story that follows. 

A good introduction should include three key elements. First, an attractive, eye-catching opening statement that intrigues the reader and creates suspense. Second, background information that provides context for the story. Finally, a central idea or narrative that serves as a foundation of the story. 

Here are examples of a narrative essay introduction:

  • Background information
  • Central idea

As I stepped off the plane and took my first breath of the humid air, I knew my life was about to change forever. The next few weeks would be filled with new experiences, new people, and a new perspective that would stay with me for a long time. My study trip to Costa Rica was an unforgettable experience that had a significant impact on me.

2. Body paragraph

You can showcase most of your creative writing skills in the body paragraphs of your narrative essay. Use a topic sentence to introduce each experience, provide detailed elaboration, and conclude with a key takeaway or moral.

The body paragraphs of a narrative essay are also used to showcase numerous artistic elements. These elements may include the introduction of fresh characters, vivid descriptions of settings, subtle hints toward the conclusion, and the build-up of a pivotal event or a climactic situation. You can use these elements to transform a boring piece of writing into an impactful and captivating essay. 

Here’s an example of a vivid and highly descriptive body paragraph:

  • Topic sentence with descriptions of setting
  • Sensory descriptors elaborating the topic sentences
  • Key takeaway

The moment I set foot on Central American soil, I was welcomed by the tropical rainforest, the vibrant colors of the flowers, and the sounds of exotic birds. The air was filled with the sweet scent of fresh fruits, and I could feel the warmth of the sun on my skin. This trip was not only a cultural and educational experience, but it was also an adventure of a lifetime.

3. Conclusion

When writing the conclusion of a narrative essay, it’s important to include three essential elements: an updated version of your thesis statement, reflections on all your experiences, and your final thoughts and key takeaways. 

You can remind your readers of the central idea you explored throughout your essay, by revisiting your thesis statement. Reflecting on your experiences allows you to explore the personal impact of your narrative. Whereas, your final thoughts help in providing a cohesive and impactful summary of your message.

Here’s an example of a strong conclusion:

  • Updated thesis statement
  • Reflections on experiences
  • Final thought

My study trip to Costa Rica was certainly a transformative experience. This trip taught me how to approach the world with an open mind and strive in the face of difficulties. It also inspired me to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Experiencing the rich culture of Costa Rica is something I would highly recommend to all students. It’s an opportunity to break free from our comfort zones, challenge our perspectives, and immerse ourselves in a world of stunning natural beauty.  

Now that we’ve looked at how to structure a narrative essay, let’s move on to writing a narrative essay.

How to write a narrative essay

Writing narrative essays is not just about telling a captivating story, but also about communicating a message to the reader. Although less formal than other types of essays, it still requires a coherent sequence of events, a clear central idea, a moral or message, and a structured outline.

Let’s understand how to write a narrative essay step by step. 

1. Choose an appropriate topic.

While essay topics are often predetermined, certain classes may give you the freedom to select your own topic. When choosing a topic for your narrative essay, it is crucial to consider the message that you want to convey. 

Simply recounting a one-dimensional, uneventful story can bore the reader. It is necessary to keep the reader in mind and choose an engaging story topic. This topic should encompass surprising plot twists, a recurring theme, and a significant takeaway or moral.

Here are a few examples of narrative essay topics for college:

Describe a moment in your life that challenged your beliefs or values and forced you to reconsider your perspective.

Describe a time in your life when you faced a difficult decision that required you to choose between two equally compelling options.

2. Form a central idea.

Your narrative essay should revolve around a central idea or theme, which is similar to a thesis statement. This idea should be unique and have a moral or message that sets the tone for your entire essay. Keep in mind that the central idea is crucial to your essay, so choose one carefully and make sure it’s unique and impactful.

Here are a few examples of central ideas:

Growing up as a first-generation immigrant, I faced several setbacks. But these setbacks motivated me to overcome language barriers and also taught me the value of hard work, and determination.

My journey of learning a new language in a foreign country challenged me in ways I never imagined. However, it also taught me the importance of persistence, adaptability, and embracing discomfort to achieve personal growth and success.

3. Construct an essay outline. 

While a narrative essay allows for a great deal of creative expression, it still sticks to a loose structure that includes a clear beginning, middle, and end. A well-organized narrative allows readers to follow and understand your story. Before writing your essay it’s crucial to answer key questions in your narrative essay outline. 

Here are a few questions you need to answer before starting your essay:

  • What central idea or message do I want to convey through my essay?
  • Which personal experiences and anecdotes will best support my central idea?
  • In what ways can I incorporate dialogues or other creative expressions to enhance my essay?
  • How can I effectively structure my essay to ensure it flows cohesively and logically?
  • What techniques can I use to build up to a climactic end that leaves a lasting impression on the reader?
  • What key takeaway do I want my audience to have after reading my essay?

4. Begin writing your essay.

The narrative essay differs from other forms of essay writing and typically follows a chronological order. Hence, it’s advisable to start by fleshing out your introduction and providing sufficient background information to give relevance to your central idea.

Written in the first-person point of view, the narrative essay shares several similarities with a short story. These include a clear plot structure with a beginning, middle, and end, vivid and detailed settings, a climactic point or peak, dialogues, and a key takeaway or moral. These elements can be incorporated to add depth and dimension to your essay.

Narrative essay outline

An outline for a narrative essay differs significantly from that of an evidence-based essay. The narrative essay outline provides structure and coherence to your essay, helping you map out a clear and logical flow of your ideas. This can guide your writing and help ensure that your story is well-organized, engaging, and effectively conveys your central message.

Here’s an example of a personal narrative essay outline that focuses on the challenges of low self-esteem and the ways to overcome them.

Journey to Self-Acceptance

I. Introduction

A. Hook: Start with an anecdote or a shocking statistic that highlights the rampantness of low self-esteem.

B. Background information: Explain what low self-esteem is, how it affects people, and how it can manifest in different ways.

C. Thesis statement: Describe your challenges with low self-esteem and how you overcame them.

II. Tackling Challenges

A. Describe the situation that challenged your self-esteem, such as a particular event or a persistent feeling.

B. Explain how it affected your life, such as your relationships, academic and professional performance, or your mental health.

C. Share your thoughts and feelings about the situation, and how they contributed to your low self-esteem.

III. Seeking Help

A. Describe how you recognized that you needed help, and what motivated you to seek it.

B. Discuss the steps you took, such as talking to a friend or therapist.

C. Explain the challenges you faced, such as stigma, fear of judgment, or financial barriers.

IV. Building Self-Esteem

A. Describe the strategies you used to build your self-esteem, such as positive self-talk, affirmations, or therapy.

B. Share your progress, and how you measured it, such as tracking your thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.

C. Explain how these strategies helped you, and how they impacted your life, such as improved relationships, academic or professional success, or mental health.

V. Maintaining Self-Esteem

A. Describe how you maintain your self-esteem on a daily basis, and what routines or habits you have developed.

B. Share your challenges and setbacks, and how you cope with them.

C. Explain the importance of self-care in maintaining self-esteem, and what self-care practices you use.

VI. Conclusion

A. Summarize the key points of your essay, and what you have learned from them.

B. Restate your thesis, and how you successfully overcame the challenge of low self-esteem.

C. Discuss how the experience has impacted your life, and what advice you would give to someone who is struggling with low self-esteem.

Narrative essay examples

To guide you in writing a foolproof narrative essay, we’ve constructed an example of a narrative essay. The following is a personal narrative essay example that explores the challenges faced by a student who was bullied in school. This personal narrative essay example will guide you on how you write a personal narrative essay.

Beyond the Shadows

Starting high school as a timid and shy kid was a daunting experience for me. I craved new opportunities and friendships but was overcome by the fear of being judged. Unfortunately, my fears soon became a reality as I found myself being relentlessly bullied.

It began with verbal abuse but soon escalated to physical aggression. Consulting my teachers was of no help since they did not understand the gravity of the situation. The only option was to ignore the bullies and concentrate on my classes, but the constant harassment made it difficult.

The bullying soon took its toll on my mental health, and I spiraled into a pit of anxiety and depression. I lost faith in myself and I believed I was undeserving of happiness. I retreated from my loved ones and spent my days battling my inner demons.

Despite the pain and anguish, I still decided to hold onto hope. I realized that standing up for myself and others was the only way to combat the bullying. I began speaking out against the harassment and also spoke up for those who were scared to raise their voice.

In an attempt to break out of my shell, I made a conscious effort to socialize with my fellow students and offered support to those going through a tough time. As a result, I encountered several friends who had shared experiences with mine. We bonded over our shared struggles and formed a tight-knit community of support and solidarity. Together, we worked to raise awareness of the devastating impact of bullying.

With time and effort, I began to heal from the trauma of my experiences. I learned to embrace my unique qualities and appreciate myself for who I am. The challenges I faced made me stronger and more resilient. As a result, I became more outgoing and confident, which allowed me to forge genuine friendships with my peers.

The bullying I experienced during high school transformed me in ways I could never have imagined. It instilled in me the value of empathy and courage and compelled me to use my voice to create positive change in the world.

Once you’re done writing your narrative essay, the process of editing and proofreading still remains. You can either choose to do this on your own or consider working with an essay editing service .  

Keep reading with more resources from your loyal editors and proofreaders:

  • What is an Expository Essay?
  • What are the Different Types of Essays
  • What is an Essay and What are the Parts of an Essay
  • How to Write an Essay Header
  • How to Write an Argumentative Essay 

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very good https://kabarcikpatiler.com/

your narrative essays have excellent introductions. They are really helpful

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How to write a narrative essay [Updated 2023]

How to write a narrative essay

A narrative essay is an opportunity to flex your creative muscles and craft a compelling story. In this blog post, we define what a narrative essay is and provide strategies and examples for writing one.

What is a narrative essay?

Similarly to a descriptive essay or a reflective essay, a narrative essay asks you to tell a story, rather than make an argument and present evidence. Most narrative essays describe a real, personal experience from your own life (for example, the story of your first big success).

Alternately, your narrative essay might focus on an imagined experience (for example, how your life would be if you had been born into different circumstances). While you don’t need to present a thesis statement or scholarly evidence, a narrative essay still needs to be well-structured and clearly organized so that the reader can follow your story.

When you might be asked to write a narrative essay

Although less popular than argumentative essays or expository essays, narrative essays are relatively common in high school and college writing classes.

The same techniques that you would use to write a college essay as part of a college or scholarship application are applicable to narrative essays, as well. In fact, the Common App that many students use to apply to multiple colleges asks you to submit a narrative essay.

How to choose a topic for a narrative essay

When you are asked to write a narrative essay, a topic may be assigned to you or you may be able to choose your own. With an assigned topic, the prompt will likely fall into one of two categories: specific or open-ended.

Examples of specific prompts:

  • Write about the last vacation you took.
  • Write about your final year of middle school.

Examples of open-ended prompts:

  • Write about a time when you felt all hope was lost.
  • Write about a brief, seemingly insignificant event that ended up having a big impact on your life.

A narrative essay tells a story and all good stories are centered on a conflict of some sort. Experiences with unexpected obstacles, twists, or turns make for much more compelling essays and reveal more about your character and views on life.

If you’re writing a narrative essay as part of an admissions application, remember that the people reviewing your essay will be looking at it to gain a sense of not just your writing ability, but who you are as a person.

In these cases, it’s wise to choose a topic and experience from your life that demonstrates the qualities that the prompt is looking for, such as resilience, perseverance, the ability to stay calm under pressure, etc.

It’s also important to remember that your choice of topic is just a starting point. Many students find that they arrive at new ideas and insights as they write their first draft, so the final form of your essay may have a different focus than the one you started with.

How to outline and format a narrative essay

Even though you’re not advancing an argument or proving a point of view, a narrative essay still needs to have a coherent structure. Your reader has to be able to follow you as you tell the story and to figure out the larger point that you’re making.

You’ll be evaluated on is your handling of the topic and how you structure your essay. Even though a narrative essay doesn’t use the same structure as other essay types, you should still sketch out a loose outline so you can tell your story in a clear and compelling way.

To outline a narrative essay, you’ll want to determine:

  • how your story will start
  • what points or specifics that you want to cover
  • how your story will end
  • what pace and tone you will use

In the vast majority of cases, a narrative essay should be written in the first-person, using “I.” Also, most narrative essays will follow typical formatting guidelines, so you should choose a readable font like Times New Roman in size 11 or 12. Double-space your paragraphs and use 1” margins.

To get your creative wheels turning, consider how your story compares to archetypes and famous historical and literary figures both past and present. Weave these comparisons into your essay to improve the quality of your writing and connect your personal experience to a larger context.

How to write a narrative essay

Writing a narrative essay can sometimes be a challenge for students who typically write argumentative essays or research papers in a formal, objective style. To give you a better sense of how you can write a narrative essay, here is a short example of an essay in response to the prompt, “Write about an experience that challenged your view of yourself.”

Narrative essay example

Even as a child, I always had what people might call a reserved personality. It was sometimes framed as a positive (“Sarah is a good listener”) and at other times it was put in less-than-admiring terms (“Sarah is withdrawn and not very talkative”). It was the latter kind of comments that caused me to see my introverted nature as a drawback and as something I should work to eliminate. That is, until I joined my high school’s student council.

The first paragraph, or introduction, sets up the context, establishing the situation and introducing the meaningful event upon which the essay will focus.

The other four students making up the council were very outspoken and enthusiastic. I enjoyed being around them, and I often agreed with their ideas. However, when it came to overhauling our school’s recycling plan, we butted heads. When I spoke up and offered a different point of view, one of my fellow student council members launched into a speech, advocating for her point of view. As her voice filled the room, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I wondered if I should try to match her tone, volume, and assertiveness as a way to be heard. But I just couldn’t do it—it’s not my way, and it never has been. For a fleeting moment, I felt defeated. But then, something in me shifted.

In this paragraph, the writer goes into greater depth about how her existing thinking brought her to this point.

I reminded myself that my view was valid and deserved to be heard. So I waited. I let my fellow council member speak her piece and when she was finished, I deliberately waited a few moments before calmly stating my case. I chose my words well, and I spoke them succinctly. Just because I’m not a big talker doesn’t mean I’m not a big thinker. I thought of the quotation “still waters run deep” and I tried to embody that. The effect on the room was palpable. People listened. And I hadn’t had to shout my point to be heard.

This paragraph demonstrates the turn in the story, the moment when everything changed. The use of the quotation “still waters run deep” imbues the story with a dash of poetry and emotion.

We eventually reached a compromise on the matter and concluded the student council meeting. Our council supervisor came to me afterward and said: “You handled that so well, with such grace and poise. I was very impressed.” Her words in that moment changed me. I realized that a bombastic nature isn't necessarily a powerful one. There is power in quiet, too. This experience taught me to view my reserved personality not as a character flaw, but as a strength.

The final paragraph, or conclusion, closes with a statement about the significance of this event and how it ended up changing the writer in a meaningful way.

Narrative essay writing tips

1. pick a meaningful story that has a conflict and a clear “moral.”.

If you’re able to choose your own topic, pick a story that has meaning and that reveals how you became the person your are today. In other words, write a narrative with a clear “moral” that you can connect with your main points.

2. Use an outline to arrange the structure of your story and organize your main points.

Although a narrative essay is different from argumentative essays, it’s still beneficial to construct an outline so that your story is well-structured and organized. Note how you want to start and end your story, and what points you want to make to tie everything together.

3. Be clear, concise, concrete, and correct in your writing.

You should use descriptive writing in your narrative essay, but don’t overdo it. Use clear, concise, and correct language and grammar throughout. Additionally, make concrete points that reinforce the main idea of your narrative.

4. Ask a friend or family member to proofread your essay.

No matter what kind of writing you’re doing, you should always plan to proofread and revise. To ensure that your narrative essay is coherent and interesting, ask a friend or family member to read over your paper. This is especially important if your essay is responding to a prompt. It helps to have another person check to make sure that you’ve fully responded to the prompt or question.

Frequently Asked Questions about narrative essays

A narrative essay, like any essay, has three main parts: an introduction, a body and a conclusion. Structuring and outlining your essay before you start writing will help you write a clear story that your readers can follow.

The first paragraph of your essay, or introduction, sets up the context, establishing the situation and introducing the meaningful event upon which the essay will focus.

In the vast majority of cases, a narrative essay should be written in the first-person, using “I.”

The 4 main types of essays are the argumentative essay, narrative essay, exploratory essay, and expository essay. You may be asked to write different types of essays at different points in your education.

Most narrative essays will be around five paragraphs, or more, depending on the topic and requirements. Make sure to check in with your instructor about the guidelines for your essay. If you’re writing a narrative essay for a college application, pay close attention to word or page count requirements.

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Daily Writing Tips

How to develop a unique writing style for assignments.

Developing a unique writing style is important for effectively communicating your ideas and analysis in academic assignments. A writing style encompasses the distinct voice, tone, diction, and structure an author employs to create assignments that are well-researched, substantive and memorable.

This article will explore the key strategies and considerations for honing a distinct writing style that will elevate your academic work. We will delve into the core elements that shape writing style, the role of reading and writing practice, techniques for finding inspiration, and the importance of maintaining academic integrity.

Do you want a roadmap for developing a unique voice to make your assignments stand out? Read on to know more!

Why is Developing a Unique Writing Style Important for Assignments?

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

A unique writing style is essential for academic assignments because it allows you to effectively communicate your knowledge, analysis, and perspectives in a distinctive and engaging way. With a well-developed writing style, your work will contain a consistent tone, diction, and voice reflecting your intellectual identity.

For example, in a recent research paper on forestry’s sustainability, I adopted a formal, analytical tone to convey the complex findings of my study. My diction was precise and jargon-heavy to highlight my expertise on the subject matter, but I also incorporated descriptors to help my readers better understand the data I presented.

This style helped my paper stand out and made a strong impression on my professor.

In contrast, a classmate who submitted a report on the same topic used a more conversational, narrative-driven approach. While both of our papers covered the same subject matter, the distinct writing styles resulted in very different overall impressions and levels of engagement.

What is a ‘Writing Style’ and How Can You Identify Yours?

A writing style refers to the author’s distinct choices in terms of vocabulary, sentence structure, tone, and overall organizational approach. It is the individual fingerprint that makes a piece of writing uniquely yours.

To identify your writing style, begin by reflecting on the choices you naturally make when crafting academic assignments.

Do you tend to use long, complex sentences or shorter, punchier ones? Is your tone formal and reserved or more conversational? What types of words do you gravitate towards – academic jargon or more colloquial language? How do you typically structure your arguments and organize your ideas?

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

I’ve noticed that my writing style is characterized by a formal, analytical tone, a preference for precise, technical diction, and a tendency towards complex, multi-clause sentences.

This style allows me to convey the nuanced, evidence-based nature of my arguments effectively. However, I also try to incorporate vivid imagery and personal anecdotes to engage the reader and make my points more relatable.

Identifying the unique blend of these elements in your own writing is the first step toward cultivating a distinctive style. Once you’ve pinpointed your natural tendencies, you can begin to experiment and refine your approach.

What Are the Core Elements That Influence Writing Style?

Several key elements shape an individual’s writing style, including:

  • Tone: The attitude or emotion conveyed through the writing, such as formal, casual, persuasive, or contemplative. In my case, as mentioned, I tend to adopt a formal, academic tone, but I’m always mindful of striking a balance between accessibility.
  • Diction: The author’s specific word choices, ranging from technical jargon to lyrical prose. I favor precise vocabulary to convey complex ideas , but I also try to define any specialized terms to ensure my writing is clear and understandable.
  • Syntax: The structure and flow of sentences, which can be simple, complex, or somewhere between. As noted earlier, my sentences tend to be longer and more intricate, but I try to vary my sentence structures to prevent monotony.
  • Voice: The distinct personality, perspective, and authorial presence in the writing. My writing voice is characterized by a sense of intellectual curiosity and a commitment to objectivity. However, I also aim to infuse it with a touch of my unique worldview and lived experiences.

Identifying the unique blend of these elements in your own writing is the first step toward creating a distinctive style.

How Does Reading Enhance Your Writing Style?

Reading a diverse array of texts, from scholarly journals to literary fiction, can strongly impact your writing style. Exposure to different authors’ approaches to tone, diction, syntax, and voice can expand your own style.

For instance, after closely studying Virginia Woolf’s elegant, flowing prose, I began to experiment with longer, more lyrical sentences in my writing. This helped me achieve a more contemplative tone that complemented the subject matter of my assignments on the human experience.

When I read Ernest Hemingway’s terse writing, I was inspired to try a more concise, pared-down style in my next essay. This allowed me to deliver my arguments with greater directness and impact.

By immersing yourself in a wide range of literary styles, you can better understand the choices available to you as a writer. Over time, this exposure will help you refine and expand your unique voice.

How Can Regular Writing Practice Improve Your Unique Style?

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

Consistent writing practice is the most important step in honing and refining your style. The more you write, the more you’ll develop an intuitive sense of the tone, diction, and voice that feels most authentic to you.

I make it a point to write regularly, whether it’s journaling, free-writing, or working on academic assignments. This consistent practice allows me to experiment with different stylistic approaches.

Sometimes, I’ll intentionally challenge myself to write in a style outside my usual comfort zone just to see how it feels and what new elements I can incorporate.

Where Can You Find Inspiration to Cultivate Your Writing Style?

Seeking inspiration from diverse sources can help you expand the horizons of your writing style. Analyze the work of acclaimed authors, essayists, and scholars to identify elements you admire. Immerse yourself in different genres, from poetry to technical manuals, and expose yourself to various writing styles.

I also find inspiration in my own life experiences and observations. Reflecting on my personal perspectives, emotions, and ways of seeing the world helps me add to my writing and provide a personal perspective.

When I’m struggling to find my voice, I often turn to my journal or take a walk to clear my mind and reconnect with my various experiences.

For example, when I was writing a persuasive essay on the importance of environmental conservation, I drew inspiration from my childhood memories of exploring the natural world with my family.

Incorporating these personal anecdotes and sensory details helped me craft a more compelling argument that resonated with my audience.

How Does Getting Feedback Contribute to Refining Your Writing Style?

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

Seeking feedback from instructors, peers, and writing tutors is invaluable for refining your unique writing style. Others can offer constructive insights into the effectiveness of your tone, diction, and voice, allowing you to make targeted improvements.

For example, after receiving feedback that my writing sometimes came across as overly formal and inaccessible, I consciously tried injecting more personality and conversational elements into my style. This helped me strike a better balance between academic rigor and readability.

In one instance, a professor suggested that I replace some of my more technical vocabulary with more common, everyday words to make my arguments more relatable. I experimented with this approach in my next assignment and found that it allowed me to convey complex ideas without sacrificing clarity.

Engaging in this feedback loop is one of the most important steps you can take to refine your unique style over time. By carefully considering others’ perspectives and making thoughtful adjustments, you can continually hone and enhance your writing’s distinctive qualities.

This can elevate your style for more advanced writing opportunities, especially in graduate academia.  

How Can You Ensure Your Unique Writing Style Maintains Academic Integrity?

While cultivating a distinctive writing style is crucial, it’s equally important to ensure that your style upholds the principles of academic integrity. This means avoiding plagiarism, properly citing sources, and maintaining objectivity and impartiality in your analysis. 

Ensure your material is accurately written even if you have taken advantage of any type of online assignment services that write your assignment for you. Many of these college aids can be invaluable and even cheap to use, but you don’t want to lose your unique voice or do anything unethical in what you present for a grade. 

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

I am vigilant about meticulously citing any external sources I use in my writing and generally use paraphrasing rather than directly copying text. This allows me to craft a unique style while still honoring the intellectual property of others.

I also make a concerted effort to present multiple perspectives on a given topic and to support my arguments with well-researched, credible evidence.

For instance, in a recent literature review, I ensured that my unique voice and analytical approach were balanced with a thorough examination of the existing materials. I synthesized viewpoints, identified trends, and drew connections—all while clearly delineating my own original thesis statement. 

Honing your writing style is an ongoing process, but the payoff is immense. So keep refining, keep experimenting, and keep striving to find your distinctive voice. 

The key to developing an impactful writing style is to strike a balance between clarity and personality. Avoid overly complex language in favor of concise, straightforward phrasing. Infuse your unique voice and perspective to make your writing engaging and memorable. 

Pay close attention to word choice, sentence structure, and paragraph flow. You can cultivate a distinctive style that captivates your audience with practice and patience. So take these insights to heart and start refining your writing today. The power of your words is waiting to be unleashed – what will you create?

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how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

How to Write a Discursive Essay: Awesome Guide and Template

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

The term "discursive" comes from the Latin word "discursus," meaning to move around or traverse. A discursive essay reflects this by exploring multiple viewpoints and offering a thorough discussion on a specific topic.

In this article, our term paper writing service will define what a discursive essay is, distinguish it from an argumentative essay, provide practical tips on how to write one effectively, and examine essay examples to illustrate its structure and approach.

What Is a Discursive Essay

A discursive essay is a type of essay where you discuss a topic from various viewpoints. The goal is to provide a balanced analysis by exploring different perspectives. Your essay should present arguments on the topic, showing both sides to give a comprehensive view.

Features of discursive essays typically include:

  • Thesis Statement: Clearly states your position or argument on the topic.
  • Discussion of Perspectives: Examines different viewpoints or aspects of the issue.
  • Evidence and Examples: Supports arguments with relevant evidence and examples.
  • Counterarguments: Addresses opposing viewpoints to strengthen your position.
  • Logical Organization: Structured to present arguments coherently and persuasively.

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How to Write a Discursive Essay

Writing a discursive essay involves examining a topic from different angles and presenting balanced viewpoints. Whether you're tackling a controversial issue or analyzing a complex subject, following these steps will help you craft a well-structured discursive essay.

discursive essay aspects

1. Understand the Topic

Before you start writing, make sure you grasp the topic thoroughly. Identify key terms and concepts to clarify what you need to discuss. Consider the different aspects and perspectives related to the topic that you will explore in your essay.

2. Research and Gather Evidence

Research is crucial for a discursive essay. Gather information from reliable sources such as books, academic journals, and reputable websites. Collect evidence that supports various viewpoints on the topic. Note down quotes, statistics, and examples that you can use to strengthen your arguments.

3. Plan Your Structure

Organize your essay effectively to ensure clarity and coherence. Start with an introduction that states your thesis or main argument. Outline the main points or perspectives you will discuss in the body paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on a different aspect or viewpoint, supported by evidence. Consider including a paragraph that addresses counterarguments to strengthen your position.

4. Write the Introduction

Begin your essay with a compelling introduction that grabs the reader's attention. Start with a hook or an intriguing fact related to the topic. Clearly state your thesis statement, which outlines your position on the issue and previews the main points you will discuss. The introduction sets the tone for your essay and provides a roadmap for what follows.

5. Develop the Body Paragraphs

The body of your essay should present a balanced discussion of the topic. Each paragraph should focus on a different perspective or argument. Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence that introduces the main idea. Support your points with evidence, examples, and quotes from your research. Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs to maintain the flow of your argument.

6. Conclude Effectively

Wrap up your essay with a strong conclusion that summarizes the main points and reinforces your thesis statement. Avoid introducing new information in the conclusion. Instead, reflect on the significance of your arguments and how they contribute to the broader understanding of the topic. End with a thought-provoking statement or a call to action, encouraging readers to consider the complexities of the issue.

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Discursive Guide Checklist

Aspect 📝 Checklist ✅
Understanding the Topic Have I thoroughly understood the topic and its key terms?
Have I identified the different perspectives or viewpoints related to the topic?
Research and Evidence Have I conducted comprehensive research using reliable sources?
Have I gathered sufficient evidence, including quotes, statistics, and to support each perspective?
Structuring the Essay Have I planned a clear and logical structure for my essay?
Does my introduction include a strong thesis statement that outlines my position?
Introduction Does my introduction effectively grab the reader's attention?
Have I clearly stated my thesis statement that previews the main arguments?
Body Paragraphs Do my body paragraphs each focus on a different perspective or argument?
Have I provided evidence and examples to support each argument?
Counterarguments Have I addressed potential counterarguments to strengthen my position?
Have I acknowledged and responded to opposing viewpoints where necessary?
Conclusion Does my conclusion effectively summarize the main points discussed?
Have I reinforced my thesis statement and the significance of my arguments?
Clarity and Coherence Are my ideas presented in a clear and coherent manner?
Do my paragraphs flow logically from one to the next?
Language and Style Have I used clear and concise language throughout the essay?
Is my writing style appropriate for the academic context, avoiding overly casual language?
Editing and Proofreading Have I proofread my essay for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors?
Have I checked the overall structure and flow of my essay for coherence?

Discursive Essay Examples

Here, let’s take a look at our samples and see how different topics are discussed from different viewpoints in real discursive essays.

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Discursive Essay Topics

Here are a range of topics that encourage exploration of different perspectives and critical analysis. Choose a topic that interests you and allows for a balanced analysis of arguments and evidence.

  • Should governments impose higher taxes on sugary drinks to combat obesity?
  • Is homeschooling beneficial for children's education?
  • Should the use of drones for military purposes be restricted?
  • Should the legal drinking age be lowered or raised?
  • Is online education as effective as traditional classroom learning?
  • Should parents be held legally responsible for their children's actions?
  • Is artificial intelligence a threat to human employment?
  • Are video games a positive or negative influence on young people?
  • Should the voting age be lowered to 16?
  • Should schools teach mindfulness and meditation techniques?
  • Is cultural diversity in the workplace beneficial for companies?
  • Should prisoners have the right to vote?
  • Is social media addiction a real problem?
  • Should plastic packaging be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives?
  • Is it ethical to clone animals for agricultural purposes?
  • Should the government provide subsidies for electric vehicles?
  • Is privacy more important than national security?
  • Should school uniforms be mandatory?
  • Is renewable energy the future of our planet?
  • Should parents have access to their children's social media accounts?

By the way, we also have a great collection of narrative essay topics to inspire your creativity.

What is the Difference Between a Discursive and Argumentative Essay

Discursive essays and argumentative essays share similarities but have distinct differences in their approach and purpose. While both essay types involve critical thinking and analysis, the main difference lies in the writer's approach to the topic and the overall goal of the essay—whether it aims to explore and discuss multiple perspectives (discursive) or to argue for a specific viewpoint (argumentative). Here’s a more detailed look at how they differ:

Key Differences 📌 Discursive Essay 📝 Argumentative Essay 🗣️
Purpose 🎯 Provides a balanced discussion on a topic Persuades the reader to agree with a specific viewpoint.
Approach 🔍 Examines multiple perspectives without taking a definitive stance Takes a clear position and argues for or against it throughout the essay.
Thesis Statement 📜 Often states a general overview or acknowledges different viewpoints. States a strong and specific thesis that outlines the writer's position clearly.
Argumentation 💬 Presents arguments from various angles to provide a comprehensive view. Presents arguments that support the writer's position and refute opposing views.

Types of Discursive Essay

Before writing a discursive essay, keep in mind that they can be categorized into different types based on their specific purposes and structures. Here are some common types of discursive essays:

purpose of discursive essay

Opinion Essays:

  • Purpose: Expressing and supporting personal opinions on a given topic.
  • Structure: The essay presents the writer's viewpoint and provides supporting evidence, examples, and arguments. It may also address counterarguments to strengthen the overall discussion.

Problem-Solution Essays:

  • Purpose: Identifying a specific problem and proposing effective solutions.
  • Structure: The essay introduces the problem, discusses its causes and effects, and presents possible solutions. It often concludes with a recommendation or call to action.

Compare and Contrast Essays:

  • Purpose: Analyzing similarities and differences between two or more perspectives, ideas, or approaches.
  • Structure: The essay outlines the key points of each perspective, highlighting similarities and differences. A balanced analysis is provided to give the reader a comprehensive understanding.

Cause and Effect Essays:

  • Purpose: Exploring the causes and effects of a particular phenomenon or issue.
  • Structure: The essay identifies the primary causes and examines their effects or vice versa. It may delve into the chain of events and their implications.

Argumentative Essays:

  • Purpose: Presenting a strong argument in favor of a specific viewpoint.
  • Structure: The essay establishes a clear thesis statement, provides evidence and reasoning to support the argument, and addresses opposing views. It aims to persuade the reader to adopt the writer's perspective.

Pro-Con Essays:

  • Purpose: Evaluating the pros and cons of a given issue.
  • Structure: The essay presents the positive aspects (pros) and negative aspects (cons) of the topic. It aims to provide a balanced assessment and may conclude with a recommendation or a summary of the most compelling points.

Exploratory Essays:

  • Purpose: Investigating and discussing a topic without necessarily advocating for a specific position.
  • Structure: The essay explores various aspects of the topic, presenting different perspectives and allowing the reader to form their own conclusions. It often reflects a process of inquiry and discovery.

These types of discursive essays offer different approaches to presenting information, and the choice of type depends on the specific goals of the essay and the preferences of the writer.

Discursive Essay Format

Writing a discursive essay needs careful planning to make sure it’s clear and flows well while presenting different viewpoints on a topic. Here’s how to structure your discursive essay:

Introduction

  • Start with an interesting opening sentence to catch the reader's attention. Give some background information on the topic to show why it’s important.
  • Clearly state your main argument or position on the topic, and mention that you’ll be discussing different viewpoints.

"Should genetically modified foods be more strictly regulated for consumer safety? This question sparks debates among scientists, policymakers, and consumers alike. This essay explores the different perspectives on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to give a complete view of the issues."

Body Paragraphs

  • Begin each paragraph with a sentence that introduces a key point or perspective about GMOs.
  • Present arguments, evidence, and examples to support each perspective. Consider the benefits, risks, and ethical issues around GMOs.
  • Address possible objections or opposing viewpoints to show a balanced analysis.

"Supporters of GMOs argue that genetically engineered crops can help solve global food shortages by increasing crop yields and resistance to pests. For example, studies have shown that GMOs like insect-resistant corn have reduced the need for chemical pesticides, which benefits both farmers and the environment."

Counterarguments

  • Recognize the counterarguments or concerns raised by opponents of GMOs.
  • Provide reasoned responses or rebuttals to these counterarguments, acknowledging the complexity of the issue.

"However, critics of GMOs worry about potential long-term health effects and environmental impacts. They argue that there isn’t enough research to ensure the safety of eating genetically modified foods over long periods."

  • Summarize the main points discussed in the essay about GMOs.
  • Reinforce your thesis statement while considering the different arguments presented.
  • Finish with a thought-provoking statement or suggest what should be considered for future research or policy decisions related to GMOs.

"In conclusion, the debate over genetically modified foods highlights the need to balance scientific innovation with public health and environmental concerns. While GMOs offer potential benefits for global food security, ongoing research and transparent regulation are essential to address uncertainties and ensure consumer safety."

Formatting Tips

  • Use clear and straightforward language throughout the essay.
  • Ensure smooth transitions between paragraphs to maintain the flow of ideas.
  • Use headings and subheadings if they help organize different perspectives.
  • Properly cite sources when referencing research findings, quotes, or statistics.

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Yays and Nays of Writing Discourse Essays

In learning how to write a discursive essay, certain do's and don'ts serve as guiding principles throughout the writing process. By adhering to these guidelines, writers can navigate the complexities of presenting arguments, counterarguments, and nuanced analyses, ensuring the essay resonates with clarity and persuasiveness.

Yays 👍 Nays 👎
Conduct thorough research to ensure a well-informed discussion. Don’t express personal opinions in the body of the essay. Save personal commentary for the conclusion.
Explore various arguments and viewpoints on the issue. Don't introduce new information or arguments in the conclusion. This section should summarize and reflect on existing content.
Maintain a balanced and neutral tone. Present arguments objectively without personal bias. Don’t use overly emotional or subjective language. Maintain a professional and objective tone.
Structure your essay with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Use paragraphs to organize your ideas. Ensure your arguments are supported by credible evidence. Don’t rely on personal opinions without sufficient research.
Include clear topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph to guide the reader through your arguments. Don’t have an ambiguous or unclear thesis statement. Clearly state the purpose of your essay in the introduction.
Use credible evidence from reputable sources to support your arguments. Don’t ignore counterarguments. Address opposing viewpoints to strengthen your overall argument.
Ensure a smooth flow between paragraphs and ideas with transitional words and phrases. Don’t use overly complex language if it doesn’t add to the clarity of your arguments. Aim for clarity and simplicity.
Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different arguments and viewpoints. Don’t present ideas in a disorganized manner. Ensure a logical flow between paragraphs and ideas.
Recap key points in the conclusion, summarizing the main arguments and perspectives discussed. Don’t excessively repeat the same points. Present a variety of arguments and perspectives to keep the essay engaging.
Correct any grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors by proofreading your essay. Don’t ignore the guidelines provided for your assignment. Follow any specific instructions or requirements given by your instructor or institution.

Wrapping Up

Throughout this guide, you have acquired valuable insights into the art of crafting compelling arguments and presenting diverse perspectives. By delving into the nuances of topic selection, structuring, and incorporating evidence, you could hone your critical thinking skills and sharpen your ability to engage in informed discourse. 

This guide serves as a roadmap, offering not just a set of rules but a toolkit to empower students in their academic journey. As you embark on future writing endeavors, armed with the knowledge gained here, you can confidently navigate the challenges of constructing well-reasoned, balanced discursive essays that contribute meaningfully to academic discourse and foster a deeper understanding of complex issues. If you want to continue your academic learning journey right now, we suggest that you read about the IEEE format next.

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What is a Discursive Example?

What is the difference between a discursive and argumentative essay, what are the 2 types of discursive writing.

Daniel Parker

Daniel Parker

is a seasoned educational writer focusing on scholarship guidance, research papers, and various forms of academic essays including reflective and narrative essays. His expertise also extends to detailed case studies. A scholar with a background in English Literature and Education, Daniel’s work on EssayPro blog aims to support students in achieving academic excellence and securing scholarships. His hobbies include reading classic literature and participating in academic forums.

how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

is an expert in nursing and healthcare, with a strong background in history, law, and literature. Holding advanced degrees in nursing and public health, his analytical approach and comprehensive knowledge help students navigate complex topics. On EssayPro blog, Adam provides insightful articles on everything from historical analysis to the intricacies of healthcare policies. In his downtime, he enjoys historical documentaries and volunteering at local clinics.

  • Updated old sections including definition, outline, writing guide.
  • Added new topics, examples, checklist, FAQs.
  • Discursive writing - Discursive Writing - Higher English Revision. (n.d.). BBC Bitesize. https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/guides/zpdwwmn/revision/1  
  • Prepare for Exam Success: C1 Advanced self-access learning Writing Part 1 -the discursive essay Lesson summary. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2024, from https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/Images/583526-c1-advanced-self-access-learning-writing-part-1-discursive-essay.pdf  
  • Tomeu. (n.d.). Advanced C1.1: How to write a DISCURSIVE ESSAY. Advanced C1.1. Retrieved June 28, 2024, from https://englishadvanced2.blogspot.com/2013/10/speakout-advanced-p-25-examples-of.html  

How to Write a 5 Paragraph Essay

IMAGES

  1. How To Write a Thesis Statement (with Useful Steps and Tips) • 7ESL

    how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

  2. 45 Perfect Thesis Statement Templates (+ Examples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

  3. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

  4. How to Write a Good Thesis Statement: Tips & Examples

    how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

  5. 45 Perfect Thesis Statement Templates (+ Examples) ᐅ TemplateLab

    how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

  6. 15 Thesis Statement Examples to Inspire Your Next Argumentative Essay

    how to write a thesis statement for a personal narrative essay

VIDEO

  1. Thesis Statement Assignment for Narrative Essay

  2. Thesis Statement| English Essay by Dr Arif Javid

  3. Thesis: How to write Thesis Statement of an Essay

  4. Part 2 How to write Thesis Statement in IELTS Task 2

  5. How to Write a Thesis Statement Workshop

  6. 5 1 how to write thesis statement

COMMENTS

  1. Thesis Statement for Narrative Essay

    A narrative essay thesis statement is a concise summary or main point of your personal story or experience. Unlike argumentative or analytical thesis statements, it doesn't necessarily present an argument or a point of debate. ... Tips for Writing a Personal Essay Thesis Statement. Introspect: Before you begin, spend some time introspecting ...

  2. How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay: 9 Steps

    2. Begin your thesis with the main idea or theme you are trying to convey in the essay. [3] A possible beginning may be: "In this essay, I will discuss the issue of grief.". 3. Add examples to support your main theme or idea. Start by composing the simplest, most direct thesis and then edit it.

  3. How to Write a Thesis Statement

    Step 2: Write your initial answer. After some initial research, you can formulate a tentative answer to this question. At this stage it can be simple, and it should guide the research process and writing process. The internet has had more of a positive than a negative effect on education.

  4. How Should I Start My Thesis for My Personal Narrative?

    It may seem daunting to figure out how to begin a personal narrative. Think of it as an opportunity to tell your individual story and outline the rest of your paper. Determine the main theme of your paper and use it as your thesis. A strong opening will define your narrative and excite the reader.

  5. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    Interactive example of a narrative essay. An example of a short narrative essay, responding to the prompt "Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself," is shown below. Hover over different parts of the text to see how the structure works. Narrative essay example.

  6. PDF Personal Narrative Essays

    A personal narrative essay uses the components of a story: introduction, plot, characters, setting, and conflict. It also uses the components of argument, thesis, and conclusion. In a personal narrative essay, we tell our readers a story to make a larger argument. Focusing the readers' attention on significant, detailed scenes, we develop our ...

  7. How to Write a Personal Narrative: Steps and Examples

    However, like any other type of writing, it comes with guidelines. 1. Write Your Personal Narrative as a Story. As a story, it must include an introduction, characters, plot, setting, climax, anti-climax (if any), and conclusion. Another way to approach it is by structuring it with an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  8. How to Write a Personal Narrative Essay

    A personal narrative essay is a type of essay in which the writer shares a personal experience or story from their own life. In a personal narrative essay, the writer often aims to convey a specific message, lesson, or insight gained from the experience. These essays are characterized by their first-person point of view, vivid descriptions, and ...

  9. Personal Narrative Essay

    3. Create a Thesis Statement. The thesis statement is the most important sentence and tells the reader what your essay will be about. In a personal narrative essay, the thesis statement can briefly explore the story's events. Or it can tell the reader about the moral or lesson learned through personal experience.

  10. How to Write a Narrative Essay

    1. Generating Narrative Essay Ideas. If you're not sure what to write about, you'll want to generate some narrative essay ideas. One way to do this is to look for writing prompts online: Reedsy adds new prompts to their site every week, and we also post writing prompts every Wednesday to our Facebook group.

  11. A Complete Narrative Essay Guide

    Thesis Statement or Narrative Purpose. Purpose: Present the main idea or the central message of the essay. Offer a glimpse of what the reader can expect from the narrative. Elements: Thesis Statement: This isn't as rigid as in other essays but can be a sentence summarizing the essence of the story.

  12. Personal Narrative Essay ⇒ A Writing Guide with Examples

    Developing your thesis statement. Providing a solid thesis statement is vital for any type of essay, but especially for a personal narrative essay. A thesis statement is one sentence that states the main idea of your essay. It gives the reader an idea of what to expect from the rest of the essay and sets up the event or experience you will recount.

  13. Writing Narrative Essay Thesis

    Thesis statements of narrative essays are often based on personal experiences of a writer, which you can rarely find on other types of essays, with an aim to impart an important lesson to the readers. 5 Steps in Writing a Thesis for Your Narrative Essay [Step 1: Read other narrative essays

  14. How to Write a Thesis for a Narrative Essay

    While narrative essays tell a story, the events don't compose the entire essay. Narrative essays should also have a point communicated in a thesis sentence. Setting the essay setting and beginning with a hook is important. The thesis may offer a learned lesson, identify the theme or open the story.

  15. Writing a Compelling Personal Narrative Essay: Tips and Examples

    A personal narrative essay can be best described as creative nonfiction about your experiences. We can help you learn how to approach this personal piece. ... When writing a personal narrative essay, most people get really hung up on the "why" of it. ... A personal narrative essay isn't thesis-driven at all. You can have a "thesis ...

  16. 3 Great Narrative Essay Examples + Tips for Writing

    A narrative essay is one of the most intimidating assignments you can be handed at any level of your education. Where you've previously written argumentative essays that make a point or analytic essays that dissect meaning, a narrative essay asks you to write what is effectively a story.. But unlike a simple work of creative fiction, your narrative essay must have a clear and concrete motif ...

  17. Narrative Essay Thesis Statements: Tips and Examples

    A narrative essay thesis statement can do one or both of the following: (1) convey a theme, lesson, or main idea, or (2) introduce the action of the story you want to tell. How you write your thesis will depend on the purpose of your essay, any instructions or prompt you may have received, and what flows with your writing style.

  18. Personal Narrative: Getting Started

    Personal Narrative: Getting Started. To search for an exact match, please use Quotation Marks. Example: "computer". This video has information on how to get ideas, write a hook sentence, and write a clear thesis statement for the introduction of your personal narrative essay.

  19. Thesis Statement for Personal Essay

    Tips for Writing a Personal Essay Thesis Statement. Stay Authentic:Your personal essay is your story. Ensure your thesis reflects your genuine emotions, experiences, and insights. Keep it Concise:A thesis should be clear and succinct, capturing the essence of your narrative in one or two sentences.

  20. How to Write a Narrative Essay in 5 Steps

    Step 1: Topic choice (or prompt given) The first step in writing a narrative essay is to determine the topic. Sometimes, your topic is chosen for you in the form of a prompt. You might map out the topics you want to mention in the essay or think through each point you'd like to make to see how each will fit into the allotted word count (if ...

  21. Narrative Essay

    When writing the conclusion of a narrative essay, it's important to include three essential elements: an updated version of your thesis statement, reflections on all your experiences, and your final thoughts and key takeaways. You can remind your readers of the central idea you explored throughout your essay, by revisiting your thesis statement.

  22. How to write a narrative essay [Updated 2023]

    1. Pick a meaningful story that has a conflict and a clear "moral.". If you're able to choose your own topic, pick a story that has meaning and that reveals how you became the person your are today. In other words, write a narrative with a clear "moral" that you can connect with your main points. 2.

  23. How is a thesis statement written in a narrative essay?

    A thesis statement for a five paragraph essay contains a general statement that is divided into three opinions which will be supported in the three body paragraphs of the essay. For a narrative ...

  24. How to Develop a Unique Writing Style for Assignments

    Consistent writing practice is the most important step in honing and refining your style. The more you write, the more you'll develop an intuitive sense of the tone, diction, and voice that feels most authentic to you. I make it a point to write regularly, whether it's journaling, free-writing, or working on academic assignments.

  25. How to Write a Discursive Essay with Impact and Authority

    4. Write the Introduction. Begin your essay with a compelling introduction that grabs the reader's attention. Start with a hook or an intriguing fact related to the topic. Clearly state your thesis statement, which outlines your position on the issue and previews the main points you will discuss.

  26. to develop a thesis statement for a literary analysis review your notes

    You have been assigned to compose a narrative essay in which you describe a time you had an adventure, Which statement would best establish the narrator's state of mind at the start of the narrative essay? A) To be adventurous, one must first be willing to venture outwards. B) Adventure is something that makes a person's life fun and enjoyable.

  27. PDF Roles, Scope, Criteria, Standards and Procedures of the Department of

    A 2-4 page Personal Statement that includes a description of the candidate's area of ... thesis and professional project assistance, mentoring, and supervision in student projects, theses, and dissertations; academic and career advising ... Pedagogical Introspection Faculty teaching narrative that documents changes in syllabi and assignments ...