Instances of the Narrative Essay

This is an essay that tells or recounts a story. A story is a flow of events and experiences from a simple through a complication and to an end that has involved the transformation of the writer who in most cases is a protagonist. Simply put, the writer needs to reveal how he/she has been developing through the narration. Most essays are of the narrative type. Some essays may be in other forms and media like YouTube videos and presentations, dance and theater performance or even paintings. Such a wealth of sources and resources makes the task of writing this kind of essay relatively easy.

While this may be the case, it’s mandatory that one has a plan of work that can lead to a high quality essay. Having a glimpse of the kinds of plans needed for a successful essay of this kind through examples is an excellent way to get the necessary understanding.

First Instance: ‘Best Friends for Forever’

“Little Anne, Damaris and I were friends determined to have a great time together in the first Saturday of the month of July. This was a kind of ritual that had started when we were young girls that had learned to get along the hard way as classmates. Everything was just right. I had finished up the pending tasks that were scheduled for the week, and my old but beautiful car was in great condition after some servicing at the local garage. So, all I needed to do was cheer myself up with some cold chocolate, dress up and be off for the long awaited day out. I had to pick Little Anne first then we’d both go to get Damaris from her new house.

Was it a coincidence that Lil Anne and I shared so much; like favorite colors to a common birthday, and the eerie fact that our mothers attended the same school and were also great friends. As if that were not enough, both of our parents had dated and married at roughly the same time. Many thought that these coincidences were ideas that had been conjured to explain the deep closeness and friendship that we had. Sometimes, we thought ourselves as sisters. All in all, it was difficult for many not to imagine us as ‘Best Friends Forever’. It was all so surreal like depicted in some novel. We did many other things together. For example, we were both players in the athletics team for the 4 by 4 relays. But these things were just the icing in the cake that entailed being supportive of each other despite the situation.

We had an idea of the best spot for our day out. It was by the banks of the Beaver River. This was a cool spot that had been associated with the well-known feelings that accompany a meeting of friends for the purposes of fun. This Saturday was also Independence Day, so the noise my old car made were conveniently covered up by blast of fireworks that were lit to celebrate this great day.

The grass and the peace in our spot inspired us to get playful. We could try many games depending on the spur of the moment. We could also decide to have a swim in the river, try some fishing then maybe out of exhaustion and hunger settle down for some food and snacks. Lil Anne had prepared some cookies, while Damaris had come with some marinated chicken. I did have some drinks and some sandwiches, and so when all food was taken into account we had more food than we could possibly finish. But the variety always helped us to have some wiggle space on each choosing a suitable menu. Damaris’s chicken was the common pick for all of us. Then we lay on the grass to digest the food, each swinging feet with pleasure. Later on, we got to our drinks, and as we loosened up, we began to share our old memories and soon we were laughing without care till Daniela broke the spell and looked at the water wistfully. She looked at us for a moment and said: “I hope we can all get to be best friends forever.” We cherished friendship but this statement from Damaris sounded so serious. It felt like crying was the best thing to do. Each of us had no option but to promise and allay Damaris’s fears and probably do something more – promote the friendship.

Soon it was dark, and we all had to pack up and return to our normal lives. We dragged ourselves out of our beloved spot. Damaris got off first, but as she was about to turn away, she reminded us of the promises we had made to each other as if any of us had a mind to forget...

Apparently, the promise has hardly come out of mind to the present day. But let’s go back to the fateful day. As Damaris turned around, I saw a black Sedan rolling from around the corner and head towards Damaris.

“Dama!” I shouted and tried to come out of our car.

There was a screech of tires and screams, and perhaps due to terror, I lost consciousness. Later on, I gained consciousness and saw Damaris in her mother’s arms, her lifeless body dangling, indifferent from the cares of the world. It was too much for me that I went back into the deep sleep I had come from.

Losing our friend was devastating. I fell into depression.

I wondered how it was possible to have so much evil in the world, and if there was any power that cared for us.

Many answers were given. Some having something to do with the dead becoming angels; but I wasn’t really convinced. But there was something reassuring in imagining my friend as an angel.

This essay instance would probably receive an average grade at best. Apart from the religious ideas expressed and a few expressions of physiological shock, nothing much has been communicated. What we’d expect is to have intense description and engagement to help us experience the event under narration. That’s the basic condition for scoring high grades.

The Second Instance: “The Great Destination that Few People Visit”

“I love traveling. New experiences always inspire me; it doesn’t matter the setting. Urban or rural is fine with me. By my late twenties, I had visited most places in North America and the Caribbean countries. But I hadn’t set foot beyond the Atlantic and I yearned to go beyond it.

Soon, I came upon a pleasant surprise. An old friend with whom I had been out of touch, called me to congratulate me on my birthday. He let me know that he was a volunteer for some organization in Ukraine and that I could go and visit him. I took up the opportunity, and without much ado I set off.

Ukraine turned out to be beyond my imagination. It is a country much smaller than Texas and had many unique features that would take me some time to understand.

I went to a city called Lviv. It was a beautiful medieval city full of Gothic churches, like many cities in Eastern Europe. There were little flower gardens and religious statues around every corner. The people around seemed to be happy and friendly even when they could hardly understand any English. Many were in their ethnic dress code. The air around was that of deep spirituality.

We both agreed that it would be a great idea to go all over Ukraine if possible. But upon further reflection, it emerged that I was short of time and that the most I could do was to visit the Carpathian Mountains. I was amazed by their breathtaking beauty, and I only hoped that no amount of advancement would interfere and cut off the great experience that one had around the mountains. There were the isolated and almost inaccessible villages with wooden churches, and the scenery was so amazing. One could easily be tricked into believing that they were in heaven. I was surprised that there were parts of the world like this that most people of the world could hardly imagine to exist. I realized that one could be ignorant of so much and that our worlds are more often than not very limited unless we get bold and decide to explore the world. How can I not be eternally grateful to my friend for remembering me and offering me the invitation? He offered me a moment that challenged most of my imagination and biases. Suddenly, Europe was promising me so much that I was now determined more than ever to finish my urge to explore the continent further.”

Such an essay would easily earn a B+. The opening is interesting and promises a story of intrigue and adventure that is aptly delivered. The pitfall of many essays of this kind is that the promise made in the opening is hardly ever fulfilled. One should choose a story with a sense of adventure and suspense. An adventure is always a sure bet. But the writer fails to fill in details that add life into the picture. For example, names of places have been left out most of the time, and conversations aren’t articulated extensively enough to animate the reader. A great narrative is one that offers as much detail and concrete information that the reader can process and create a sense of being with the writer through the experience. It also invites the reader into a collaborative imagination that sustains the story and compels all to seek similar experiences in fact. And even if one doesn’t undertake the activity, he/she finds enough information to understand the experience intimately. In the end, the reader is left thanking the writer for fully engaging their senses and offering new pathways for growth and development.


The narrative essay happens to be a common genre in the internet and in many books and media. Yet, it can get tricky if one isn’t careful enough. Like any other essay, one needs to spare some time for thought and preparation before embarking on the work.

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