Autobiographical Narrative

Autobiographical Narrative
Your first writing project is to write a narrative essay about something significant
in your life, using the literary strategies of plot, character, setting, and theme. Develop
your story through the use of conflict, creating tension that moves the story forward and
gives it significance. You can discuss the significance of your story explicitly, perhaps as
a revelation or “aha!” moment, or you can imply it. Use specific details and vivid
description. Write about the events as you best remember them.
Specific requirements
Your narrative must include:
 Significant dialogue that contributes to the development of the story. Remember
no “hallway conversations.”
 Theme. Your story must answer the question “So what?” However, you’ll want
to avoid those “Full House moments” that simply tack a moral onto the end of
your narrative.
 Some sort of transformation. The reader must see how you have changed from
person A to person B as a result of this event.
Your narrative must not include:
 An event so painful for you that you are not able to relate it objectively. Make
sure you have enough emotional distance from your topic.
 Religious experiences. I, personally, am not hostile to religion. However,
religious experiences are hard to write about. It is extremely difficult to relate
such experiences in a way that can be easily understood by someone outside of
that experience.
 Criminal or immoral activity. There are some things a teacher just doesn’t need
to know about her students.
Some good topics
1. Old self vs. new self: the writer perceives changes in him- or herself as a result of
some transforming moment or event.
2. Old view of person X vs. new view of person X: the writer’s perception of a
person (parent, friend, childhood hero, etc.) changes as a result of some revealing
3. Old values vs. new values that threaten, challenge, or otherwise disrupt the old
values: the writer confronts an outsider who challenges his or her worldview, or the
writer undergoes a crisis that creates a conflict in values.
Technical requirements
All essays should be two pages in length.
As always, this paper is to be typed, double-spaced, in 12 point Times New
Roman font.
Default margins (1” on top and bottom, 1.25” on sides) are to be used.
Essays will be evaluated according to 6 Trait Writing (see rubric).