9. Discussion: Narrative Essays

Discussion: Narrative Essays Start: Sept. 9; End: Sept. 22

Read the following narrative essay about a late paper. The essay has some creativity and is kind of interesting, but it also has some glaring weaknesses and could use some quality revision. For this discussion exercise, I would like you to comment on what you think is good and bad about the essay- it’s strengths and weaknesses. Let’s say you handed this essay in and received a C on it, but you want at least a B+. What would you do to improve the essay? Try to come up with at least one suggestion each, and then respond to each other’s comments with good critical review. Have fun.
The Wasted Afternoon

I had decided to use my free afternoon to write my narrative essay, which was due in two days, but I ended up having so many problems that I now realize the paper is going to be late. I will have to adjust my strategy and find a way to convince my instructor to allow me some extra time to complete the project. Hopefully, he will understand and be compassionate. Anyway, here is what happened:

First, I thought I had come up with the best idea for a narrative: the weekend my family and I went on a hiking trip for the weekend and we were visited by a bear. However, I was only six at the time, so I did not remember much about the weekend. I knew that I had to visit my parents and gather their recollections of the incident. But when I asked them about it, all they said was it was not true: they had never seen a bear in camp. That was just something they told me to keep me in my sleeping bag at night. That idea was shot.

My next thought came to me the next morning when I remembered a funny time I had with my friends spending an afternoon on the lake with one of my friend’s boat. It was a special weekend. We had so many fun times. Still, my memory was a little vague on a few points, so I called my friend and asked him if he could help me recall some of the things we did and said that day. He was very angry with me and told me he didn’t want to help me with the essay and said he would sue me if I wrote such an essay. I thought he was being silly and told him so. He hung up on me after calling me a few choice names. That story was up in dust.

Finally, I thought the day my sister and I went fishing together down at the lake would be interesting. I wrote down a lot of notes of what I recalled from that day eight or nine years ago, but again I found it very difficult to give clear details. I remembered how many fish I had caught and how few she had caught, and I focused my story on that. But then I again felt a need to fill in the blanks and called her to ask about her memories of the day. She had a totally different recollection, stating that she was the one who had caught most of the fish and I had caught only one or two. She also said the weather was rotten but I seem to remember it was sunny. We couldn’t agree on anything, and I finally told her never mind, I’ll write about something else.

So I turned my narrative into my difficulties in finding a topic for a narrative essay. I’ll hand it in and see how the teacher grades it. It just seems like I’m missing something, and I don’t quite know what that something is.