Writing a narrative genre chronological essay is just a fancy term for doing something most people learned how to do in elementary school: telling a story. In a narrative, the writer tells a story about something that has happened, and in chronological format, the written story follows the order in which events occurred. One nuance of the essay format is that it's broken into paragraphs and includes an introduction at the beginning and conclusion at the end.
The First Two Essay Sections
Essays usually take the following format: introduction, body and conclusion. The writer dedicates a paragraph to the introduction, which provides the scope of the story and gives the reader a hint of what to expect from the rest of the essay. The following paragraphs consist of the body of the essay and tell the story. The writer can include as few or as many paragraphs as he pleases, but in an academic essay it's best to stick to three or more to effectively relate the tale.
The conclusion completes the narrative and consists of one paragraph at the end of the story. It will be a paragraph that's about the same length as the introduction for consistency. Even in a timed-essay situation, it's important to include a conclusion as it's a key component to the essay format. In tests such as the SAT or TOEFL or in an in-class essay writing exercise, leave plenty of time to review your essay and write a conclusion that effectively brings the action to a close.
The Scope of the Conclusion
The conclusion should do a couple things: bring the action of the story to a close and share a lesson or offer a prediction based on the events of the narrative. The scope of the conclusion should be limited to the events during or after the cumulative events of the story. For example, in an essay in which the writer tells the story about how she got lost going to class on her first day in college, the conclusion could include a sentence or two about what happened at the end of her search: "In the end, I plopped down in my seat at the back of the class, glad to have made it right before the lecture began." The scope should be limited to any action that brings the story to a close and the conclusion should not bring in any new information or details to the story that weren't previously mentioned.
Sharing a Lesson or Offering a Prediction
The conclusion may also include a sentence or two regarding a lesson that the writer learned as a result of the actions in the essay. For example, the writer who got lost to class could say: "I learned to actually use the map that was included in my orientation folder, and not put too much faith in my sense of direction -- at least not in a new setting." The conclusion could offer a prediction as well, such as: "I knew that tomorrow I would be leaving a lot of extra time to find my class to avoid feeling so rushed and anxious again."
- Great Paragraphs; Keith S. Folse et al.
- Great Essays; Keith S. Folse et al.
- Capital Community College: The Five-Paragraph Essay
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