Module 5 – Narrative and Descriptive Essays

Getting Started
  1. Review the module introduction and outcomes to help you gain an understanding of the main topics and expectations.
  2. Work through each lesson in this module and complete the Check Your Knowledge activity.  You can take notes on each lesson by clicking on the “take notes” tab on the bottom right of your screen. You can take notes for each lesson and they will appear on your dashboard. Make sure you save your notes before continuing to another lesson or quiz.
  3. Complete the Module Quiz and Module Evidence Activity on this page once all lessons are finished in full.

Note: If you would like to learn more about this module’s topics, click the Module Toolbox or Module Glossary for additional and supplementary resources.

In this module, you will learn about narrative and descriptive essay writing. Narrative essays are personal essays unique to you and your experiences. Picking a topic for a narrative essay can be challenging as it is often difficult to decide which of your experiences to write about. It’s common for people to think that they haven’t had any interesting experiences, but this simply isn’t true. Each person’s experiences are unique and meaningful to them, just as your experiences are certainly meaningful to you. And now it’s time to share them! This module will guide you through the narrative writing process to create a great narrative essay.

After completing this Module, you should be able to:

  • Discuss the elements of narrative and descriptive essays and identify the importance of the rhetorical situation in narrative and descriptive writing.
  • Identify the principles of narration and description.
  • Analyze the use of narration and/or description in an essay.
  • Compose a narrative or descriptive essay based on personal experience and observation.
  • Identify aspects of high-order revision.
  • Edit writing samples for grammar, mechanics, and style.

Lesson 1 – Narrative and Descriptive Essays: Purpose and Organization

AJAX progress indicator
  • descriptive essays
    essays that describe something
  • narrative essays
    essays that tell a story
  • objectivity
    a state of being or describing a statement that is universal in fact; it is not personal nor does it have any bias or feelings attached
  • subjectivity
    a state of being or describing a statement that is based on personal biases, experiences, and background
  • thesis
    the main idea of an argument or discussion

Lesson 2 – Narrative and Descriptive Essays: Technique, Topic, and Style

AJAX progress indicator
  • descriptive essay
    seeks to describe something, whether that thing is an event, a person, or an item
  • narrative essay
    seeks to narrate a story for the reader; it will have a clear beginning, middle, and end
  • purpose statement
    similar to a thesis statement, but less of an argumentative or persuasive statement; it seeks to guide the reader to understand the point the essay wants to communicate

Lesson 3 – Narrative and Descriptive Essays: Reading Samples

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  • apartheid
    a system of policy by which segregation was embedded into the law in South Africa
  • epiphany
    a moment of sudden realization or change

Lesson 4 – Narrative and Descriptive Essays: Writing Your Own

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  • memoir
    a collection of memories that are tied together by a common theme
  • past tense
    this tense signals that an event or action is occurring in the past
  • present tense
    this tense signals that an event or action is occurring in the present
  • verb tense
    the tense of a verb communicates when, in time, an event happens

Lesson 5 – Revising for Higher Order Concerns

AJAX progress indicator
  • high order concerns
    concerns in revision that focus on structure, content, organization, and ideas; these should be the primary focus in revision
  • low order concerns
    concerns in editing that focus on spelling, grammar, and mechanics; these should be a secondary focus in editing
  • revision
    editing a piece of writing to improve the substance of what is written
  • thesis
    the main idea of an argument or discussion

Lesson 6 – Editing for Lower Order Concerns

AJAX progress indicator
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