painfulness (narrative)

painfulness (narrative)

Here are some instructions as you write your Narrative Essays.
1 First read the “Narrative Essay” handout below.
2 Write your essay and post it during the “open” period in the Narrative Peer Review DB found in the Week Three and Four module. Use the Peer Review guide in the DB as you critique your peers’ work.
“Narrative Essay” Handout

Length minimum 1 ½ pages, maximum 2 ½ pages.
Peer review date:
Due date:

This paper will encompass several of the rhetorical devices good writers use to compose well-developed papers: narrative, description, and definition.

Narrative is the telling of a story. Therefore it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. For our purposes, your narrative will be autobiographical in nature. It could be about you or a close friend. It may be about a relative. It will be the story of an event that was life changing, an epiphany moment of sorts, a moment in which you better understood an aspect of life that you previously didn’t grasp.

The description aspect will be how you develop and describe the characters and the scene. This is how you support and develop your ideas. What do you include—sights, smells, sounds, things that assault the senses.

The definition aspect will be how you define the term that you think might best envelop what you learned, “trust, obedience, disobedience, grief,” and the list goes on. How you order these rhetorical devices is up to you. What you must decide is how they best work to support your ideas and organization of ideas. Your first draft will be at least 1½ pages.

One way to remain focused might be to consider this paper as part of an interview for the local newspaper. What facts of this story need to be included in the article to be fully understood? Ask yourself:

1 What happened and why was it important?
2 Who took part?
3 When?
4 Where?
5 Why did this event (or these events) take place?
6 How did it (or they) happen?
7 What term am I defining.

This will be our most informal piece of writing this quarter. It will also be our most creative, so have fun with it! This is a good time to try your hand at writing humor. This is surprising more difficult than you would think, so good luck as you write!

Also keep in mind that your papers will “public.” In other words, these papers will be read by your peers during Peer Review. So do not choose a topic that is too personal or emotional to share in our writing community.

Narrative Essay Topic Suggestions

1 1. Describe a time when you felt yourself a “stranger” in a certain culture.

1 2. Reconstruct your own graduation from high school.

1 3. Write an essay in which you describe your reading history.

1 4. Describe an incident in your life when the unexpected taught you an important lesson.

1 5. Write about a person and place that, taken together, inspire a special reverence in you.

1 6. Describe a time in your life when you suppressed your feelings before adults because you thought they would misunderstand.

Keep this in mind when choosing topics this quarter:

Remember that we will remain in the public domain and not in the private belief realm this quarter. Therefore topics that rely on a particular religious belief are not acceptable. Likewise, topics that rely on purely emotional belief must be avoided. These include abortion, gun control, and partisan political issues. These topic guidelines apply to all assignments during the quarter.
I reserve the right to approve all topics, so check with me if you have any doubts. The key is to be specific and detailed as you describe the topic, while remaining rational and sensitive in your evaluation.
Spot
Obedience means to be bossed around and made to do things that one doesn’t want to, or at least that is what I thought when I was six years old. I am the eldest of four girls, all born within four years of each other, which had an effect on my mother’s ability to reason. When we were young we spent a great deal of time at my grandparents’ farm. They had a long dirt driveway, a large dirt parking space, and dirt paths to the outbuildings. I could ride my bike anywhere on the farm, but my parents and grandparents always warned me, “Do not ride your bike on the road. It’s dangerous.” In my six-year-old mind, I didn’t understand why they were so mean to me, so it could be said that obedience was not one of my strong suits. I learned just how wrong my definition of obedience was, however, on this particular day.
They may have warned me about getting hit by a car, but I was six and that just didn’t make sense to me because I could ride so fast on the paved road. I could just out-pedal any car, so in my mind, I would never get hurt. One day as my three younger sisters played dolls and sang Brownie songs in the front yard, one of our favorite past times, I dared to pedal my bike down the long dirt driveway to the road. I could already feel the smooth quickness of my tires as I pedaled effortlessly on the pavement. Bike riding on the farm was slow and bumpy, over grass and rocks, and my sisters, who couldn’t ride without training wheels yet, always begged me for rides. I wanted freedom, man. I needed the open road under my wheels.
What I didn’t notice as I pedaled down the drive was that Spot, my grandmother’s Jack Russell Terrier, had followed me. My grandmother loved her little dog. He stood about eighteen inches tall. His white fur glistened with shiny black spots over his left eye and ear and over the middle of his back. Grandma let him sit on her lap, but he could never lick her face. In my excitement to reach the freedom of the road, I didn’t notice Spot. I rounded the mailbox and started pedaling hard. Almost immediately I heard the squeal of tires. I slammed on my brakes and turned to see Spot, blood running from his nose and mouth, motionless in the road. A blue station wagon had stopped, but I didn’t wait. I pedaled my bike as fast as I could back down the driveway, flew into the nest of my sisters and joined them in Brownie songs. I sung the loudest.
My heart was pounding as we sang. I watched the blue station wagon pull slowly up to the farmhouse. A woman with kind eyes and an easy smile asked for our mother, and my little sister Brenda went to get her. “Why did you leave,” the lady asked me, as my little sisters stared at me with open mouths. They didn’t know why this strange woman was talking to me, or where I had left from? I knew I was in big trouble as my mom stepped out of the house and the woman told her that she had hit a little white and black dog up on the road. My sisters started to cry and wail, “Spot! Spot!” I ran around the corner to the tallest climbing tree by the kitchen. The trees were my haven. My mother couldn’t climb up after me.
I climbed to the highest branch I could reach and cried for hours. My mother came and yelled for me to come down, but I refused. I’m not certain what she said to me. I was too upset to understand, but I did hear my grandmother several hours later when she came out to the kitchen porch. She started talking to no one in particular, so I just listened to hear what she had to say. She said, “I’m so sorry about Spot. I loved that little dog.” I started to cry anew. “Yep, he was a good, little dog, but I love my granddaughter so much more. I don’t know what I would do if anything ever happened to her. I don’t know where she is right now, but I sure am glad she’s okay, and I wish she were here so I could give her a big hug.” I was a bit suspicious. Of us four girls, I received the most spankings, but after about a half-hour of reflection, I climbed down.
My grandmother did give me a big hug, and we both cried over Spot. My littlest sister, Pam, kicked me and called me a dummy. However and most importantly, I learned a new definition of obedience that day. It was not that obedience is blind and complete. I’ll never believe that, but I learned that obedience is listening to the unspoken love behind the orders. My parents didn’t want me leading my sisters onto the road, and they didn’t want anything bad to happen to any of us, even me. Some of my most desired activities were just too dangerous, so I had to listen to my elders and be obedient to their wishes. I later went on to ride my bike on the road, and I have many scars to further support my parent’s warnings and admonitions. I did get a few more spankings too, but not on that particular day.
Instructor’s note: This essay has a great intro that gives us a thesis statement explaining the lesson to be described in the narrative. Then the body paragraphs tell the story, giving us specific details about the events. The conclusion sums up the narrative and gives us the lesson learned. This essay is all in all a great narrative and received a 4.0. Not only does it follow the form of a good essay with all the important components well developed and organized, it has very few if any grammar or punctuation errors.

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