Many times it is more effective to tell a story, to let the old lady scream, than to just state facts or state an argument—that is, to say the old lady screamed. Narrative essays are essays that enable you to tell a story or stories to make a point. A narrative essay is usually focused around a single event or person, and is often personal in nature. Remember, even though it is a narrative essay, it is still an essay.
Using Anecdotes in Formal Writing
How to Use Life Story and Personal Experience in an Essay
You can create your own allusions by bringing up words or images from earlier in your work internal allusion or by bringing them in from an outside source external allusion. In the forest, everything was like the Garden of Eden. Here is an example from a history paper about two Civil War generals. Imagine that these are topic sentences for separate paragraphs at different points in the paper:. Notice how the internal allusion helps the reader to see how the two sentences are related. In formal essays such as term papers and the like, internal allusion is an indispensable technique for making your argument stick together. By alluding to an earlier idea or point that you made, you can show the reader how the whole paper is building up a single, coherent whole.
Employing Narrative in an Essay
For the memoirist, it makes total sense to branch off into personal essay since this form lends itself well to anecdote and vignette. Indeed, they can also analyze their experiences and offer information from their own lives that might prove useful to others in a much more artistic manner than an article allows. However, unlike memoirs, essays tend not to read like fiction, although they can contain dialogue. I like to write personal essays in a three-part or four-part format.
As a college student, you should realize that this is a rule that can and should be broken—at the right time, of course. However, academic essays differ from personal essays; they are typically researched and use a formal tone. Because of these differences, when students write an academic essay, they quickly shy away from first person because of what they have been told in high school or because they believe that first person feels too informal for an intellectual, researched text.