Skip to content

Example Narrative Autobiography Essay

In a narrative essay you tell a story, often about a personal experience, but you also make a point. So, the purpose is not only to tell an entertaining tale but also show the reason for the story and the importance of the experience.    

Narrative Essays: To Tell a Story

There are four types of essays:

  • Exposition - gives factual information about various topics to the reader. 
  • Description - describes in colorful detail the characteristics and traits of a person, place, or thing. 
  • Argument - convinces the reader by demonstrating the truth or falsity of a topic. 
  • Narrative - tells a vivid story, usually from one person’s viewpoint.

A narrative essay uses all the story elements - a beginning, middle and ending, plot, characters, setting and climax - all coming together to complete the story.

Essential Elements of Narrative Essays

The focus of a narrative essay is the plot, which is told using enough details to build to a climax. Here's how:

  • It is usually told chronologically.
  • It has a purpose, which is usually stated in the opening sentence.
  • It may use dialogue.
  • It is written with sensory details and bright descriptions to involve the reader. All these details relate in some way to the main point the writer is making.

All of these elements need to seamlessly combine. A few examples of narrative essays follow. Narrative essays can be quite long, so here only the beginnings of essays are included:

Learning Can Be Scary

This excerpt about learning new things and new situations is an example of a personal narrative essay that describes learning to swim.

“Learning something new can be a scary experience. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was learn how to swim. I was always afraid of the water, but I decided that swimming was an important skill that I should learn. I also thought it would be good exercise and help me to become physically stronger. What I didn't realize was that learning to swim would also make me a more confident person.
New situations always make me a bit nervous, and my first swimming lesson was no exception. After I changed into my bathing suit in the locker room, I stood timidly by the side of the pool waiting for the teacher and other students to show up. After a couple of minutes the teacher came over. She smiled and introduced herself, and two more students joined us. Although they were both older than me, they didn't seem to be embarrassed about not knowing how to swim. I began to feel more at ease.”

The Manager. The Leader.

The following excerpt is a narrative essay about a manager who was a great leader. Notice the intriguing first sentence that captures your attention right away.

“Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!' He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.”

The Climb

This excerpt from The Climb also captures your attention right away by creating a sense of mystery. The reader announces that he or she has "this fear" and you want to read on to see what that fear is.

“I have this fear. It causes my legs to shake. I break out in a cold sweat. I start jabbering to anyone who is nearby. As thoughts of certain death run through my mind, the world appears a precious, treasured place. I imagine my own funeral, then shrink back at the implications of where my thoughts are taking me. My stomach feels strange. My palms are clammy. I am terrified of heights. Of course, it’s not really a fear of being in a high place. Rather, it is the view of a long way to fall, of rocks far below me and no firm wall between me and the edge. My sense of security is screamingly absent. There are no guardrails, flimsy though I picture them, or other safety devices. I can rely only on my own surefootedness—or lack thereof.”

Disneyland

The following narrative essay involves a parent reflecting on taking his kids to Disneyland for the first time.

“It was a hot, sunny day, when I finally took my kids to the Disneyland. My son Matthew and my daughter Audra endlessly asked me to show them the dreamland of many children, with Mickey Mouse and Snow White walking by and arousing a huge portion of emotions. Somehow these fairy-tale creatures can make children happy without such 'small' presents as $100 Lego or a Barbie house with six rooms and garden furniture. Therefore, I thought that Disneyland was a good invention for loving parents.”

The Sacred Grove of Oshogbo by Jeffrey Tayler

The following essay contains descriptive language that helps to paint a vivid picture for the reader of an interesting encounter.

“As I passed through the gates I heard a squeaky voice. A diminutive middle-aged man came out from behind the trees — the caretaker. He worked a toothbrush-sized stick around in his mouth, digging into the crevices between algae'd stubs of teeth. He was barefoot; he wore a blue batik shirt known as a buba, baggy purple trousers, and an embroidered skullcap. I asked him if he would show me around the shrine. Motioning me to follow, he spat out the results of his stick work and set off down the trail.”

Playground Memory

This excerpt from “Playground Memory” has very good sensory details.

“Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick on that leaves me with the fabled “warm and fuzzy feelings.” As the daughter of an Air Force Major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grande Canyon and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe. However, I have discovered that when reflecting on my childhood, it is not the trips that come to mind, instead there are details from everyday doings; a deck of cards, a silver bank or an ice cream flavor. One memory that comes to mind belongs to a day of no particular importance. It was late in the fall in Merced, California on the playground of my old elementary school; an overcast day with the wind blowing strong. I stood on the blacktop, pulling my hoodie over my ears. The wind was causing miniature tornados; we called them “dirt devils”, to swarm around me.”

Christmas Cookies

This excerpt from “Christmas Cookies” makes good use of descriptive language.

“Although I have grown up to be entirely inept at the art of cooking, as to make even the most wretched chef ridicule my sad baking attempts, my childhood would have indicated otherwise; I was always on the countertop next to my mother’s cooking bowl, adding and mixing ingredients that would doubtlessly create a delicious food. When I was younger, cooking came intrinsically with the holiday season, which made that time of year the prime occasion for me to unite with ounces and ounces of satin dark chocolate, various other messy and gooey ingredients, numerous cooking utensils, and the assistance of my mother to cook what would soon be an edible masterpiece. The most memorable of the holiday works of art were our Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, which my mother and I first made when I was about six and are now made annually.”  

Tips on Writing a Narrative Essay

When writing a narrative essay, remember that you are sharing sensory and emotional details with the reader.

  • Your words need to be vivid and colorful to help the reader feel the same feelings that you felt.
  • Elements of the story need to support the point you are making and you need to remember to make reference to that point in the first sentence.
  • You should make use of conflict and sequence like in any story.
  • You may use flashbacks and flash forwards to help the story build to a climax.
  • It is usually written in the first person, but third person may also be used.

Remember, a well-written narrative essay tells a story and also makes a point.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

comments powered by

Narrative Essay Examples

By YourDictionary

In a narrative essay you tell a story, often about a personal experience, but you also make a point. So, the purpose is not only to tell an entertaining tale but also show the reason for the story and the importance of the experience.    

Personal Narrative About Me

  • Length: 494 words (1.4 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
Me


I am sentimental, out-going, indecisive, understanding, curious, naive, lazy, and young. I want to be ... , well a lot of things, and growing is discovering what they are. I feel people cannot see the potential within, although there is no one to blame but myself. I look to others for approval instead of to myself. I aim to please; it leads to approval. I don’t like to discuss my faults; I pity myself.

I am weak in some respects, but in others I am strong. My life is a balance of ups and downs. With my extremes however, my scales never fulfill the word "balance." The ups and downs equal a median on which I travel daily. I love those who understand me, who chose to come close to the fire, who stay long enough to love its warmth, and who know how to avoid being burned. I don’t trust people easily. I don’t throw around my heart. I’ve lost love from my lack of giving. I regret this.

I grab hold of things, always seeking support, a rock on which to lean. I have tried God, boyfriends, and small successes in school and sports, feeling the title FAILURE rise upon my forehead when I slipped. Afterwards I tried even harder to bring myself back up, my recovery taken on the quickest, most unstable route. This explains how I fell so easily. The self-esteem I had needed to be constantly replenished and refilled. My source was not myself, but others, whose opinions mattered more than my own.

I am passionate and at times fearless. I am everything, and I am nothing. I am ever-changing and unpredictable. I crave security but cry for independence. I am black or white, never gray. My actions may not reflect my feelings and vice-versa. I play the submissive female one minute and the aggressive female the next.

Every year I learn more about myself. The person inside no longer takes peeks at the world outside, but screams "Look at me, see what I’ve become, watch because I am coming!" I’ve been through difficult times, but the odds are starting to lean my way; I feel ready for any challenge that may arise.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Personal Narrative About Me." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Mar 2018
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=154466>.

LengthColor Rating 
Personal Narrative- A Preventable Death Essay - Personal Narrative- A Preventable Death He looks at his watch and realizes that he has to leave now before he gets yelled at due to missing the 12:00 curfew. Upon my cousin Sean's arrival home, he begged his mom for an extended curfew, after all he was the star of the 19991 homecoming football game at Royalton high school, he should have been able to stay out later. After losing this fight with rather stubborn mom, and her giving him a stern "Sean I am not going over this again, it is late and I would like you to live until morning, so you need to go downstairs and get some sleep." he hung his head and went downstairs....   [tags: Personal Narrative]1015 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Personal Narrative- Christian Apologetics Essay - Personal Narrative- Christian Apologetics Two weeks of this past summer rank high as some of the most rewarding times of my life. Next to my salvation, the experience has become an important turning point of my youth. This experience changed my worldview into a biblical perspective, and strengthened my faith in the Lord. For the first time, I was on my own, flying cross-country to spend two weeks in Colorado, not for a vacation I might add. I was to attend a Christian apologetics course sponsored by Summit Ministries....   [tags: Personal Narrative]340 words
(1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Personal Narrative- Playground Memory Essay - Personal Narrative- Playground Memory Looking back on a childhood filled with events and memories, I find it rather difficult to pick on that leaves me with the fabled “warm and fuzzy feelings.” As the daughter of an Air Force Major, I had the pleasure of traveling across America in many moving trips. I have visited the monstrous trees of the Sequoia National Forest, stood on the edge of the Grande Canyon and have jumped on the beds at Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe. However, I have discovered that when reflecting on my childhood, it is not the trips that come to mind, instead there are details from everyday doings; a deck of cards, a silver bank or an ice cream flavor....   [tags: Personal Narrative]398 words
(1.1 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Personal Narrative- Eventful Thanksgiving Essay - Personal Narrative- Eventful Thanksgiving The crisp, cool, and cinnamon air filled the morning of Thanksgiving in 1987. Although I was only two years and eleven months old, I remember the scratchy, fuzzy, purple- footed pajamas that I was wearing that morning. After I woke up, I "helped" my mom make her famous orange- cranberry relish, got dressed in my cream sweater dotted with cherries and my navy pleated skirt, topped off with my favorite cream fuzz- warn tights, and before I knew it we were out the door to my grandmother's house....   [tags: Personal Narrative]503 words
(1.4 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
Personal Narrative- Varsity Volleyball Essay - Personal Narrative- Varsity Volleyball I first started playing volleyball at a very young age. I was in the seventh grade when my volleyball career started. My sister started playing in the seventh grade and I just wanted to follow her footsteps. My seventh grade year was ok because I had just started out and really didn’t know the game. There was A team and a B team, where A team was better than the B team. I tried my best to be on the A-team, but guess where I ended up, on the B team. No matter what team I was on I never gave up....   [tags: Personal Narrative]512 words
(1.5 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
Essay on Personal Narrative- Mountain Hike - Personal Narrative- Mountain Hike In hiking, as in life, there are choices between success and pain, pride and safety; this is the story of one such choice. Last summer I participated in the Rayado program at Philmont Scout Ranch. The eighth day of the trek was my crew’s greatest challenge: Super Black Death, a hike of seven peaks in one day. By 4 PM we had conquered most of the peaks. As we were climbing what we thought was our sixth peak, Big Red, a storm struck. It was a cold driving rain that froze us as we struggled up the mountain....   [tags: Personal Narrative]503 words
(1.4 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
Personal Narrative- Christmas Cookies Essay - Personal Narrative- Christmas Cookies Although I have grown up to be entirely inept at the art of cooking, as to make even the most wretched chef ridicule my sad baking attempts, my childhood would have indicated otherwise; I was always on the countertop next to my mother’s cooking bowl, adding and mixing ingredients that would doubtlessly create a delicious food. When I was younger, cooking came intrinsically with the holiday season, which made that time of year the prime occasion for me to unite with ounces and ounces of satin dark chocolate, various other messy and gooey ingredients, numerous cooking utensils, and the assistance of my mother to cook what would soon be an edible masterpie...   [tags: Personal Narrative]564 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
Essay on Personal Narrative- Lost Wallet - Personal Narrative- Lost Wallet A wallet, or purse for some, is a precious item in which most people carry things more essential than money towards everyday life. If some people were to lose that portable safe, they may be offset for the rest of that day. The person without that wallet could be cranky or depressed for a while. Maybe something of great sentimental value was in that wallet. This person could stay hold these feelings for a long time, until they find their belongings by which case they are filled with joy....   [tags: Personal Narrative]703 words
(2 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Personal Narrative- Moose Hunt Essay - Personal Narrative- Moose Hunt It was the middle of October, and it was finally time for my long awaited moose hunt. I have waited ever since I was a little girl for this opportunity, and it was finally here. So, my father and I packed up our stuff and left the warmth of Phoenix. We were leaving the "Valley of the Sun" and headed for a place called Wyoming. After two days and fourteen long hours of driving, we made it to our hunting unit. The mountains were tall (11,000 feet +) and covered with bright powdery snow....   [tags: Personal Narrative]2038 words
(5.8 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
Personal Narrative- Amazon Experience Essay - Personal Narrative- Amazon Experience Being a curious little twelve year old who was eager to discover the world, when my father asked me back in 1997 if I wanted to travel to Colombia, I jumped on the opportunity. Little did I know just how much I would be discovering. Colombia held sights, sound, and smells that I had never experienced. Crowded city highways with no marked lanes, the stench of lead exhaust filling the overcrowded streets of the capitol, the freshness of the Andean Mountains filling the country air....   [tags: Personal Narrative]1043 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Personal Narrative         Downs         Approval         Ever-changing         Route         Scales         Extremes         Warmth         Minute         Feeling        




The girl in me has begun to realize life’s patterns, and as a result is capable of handling its surprises. Everything can’t be a crises! The obstacles in my life exercise the well of strength that has been tapped; the more I learn the stronger I will become. Failures may arise, but I no longer see them as falls, just chances to pick myself up and learn a little more on the way there. My scales do not always find a harmonious balance, but the tremendous fluctuations have ended.

My descriptions of myself are painful, yet healing. I am a happy, satisfied, young women. I cry, laugh, smile, and frown. The odds of my lips curving upward and not down are always greater; I rejoice in that.