Narration can be found in any form of literature, including plays, short stories, poems, novels, or even jokes. They are considered narration, or narrative, as long as they tell a story.
Variations of the Narration Form
Narrative poems, essays and novels can be any length. What makes them “narrative” is their ability to tell a story.
The first example of narration below is an excerpt from a narrative essay called “Playground Memory.” Notice the 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 Grand 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.”
Other examples of narration come from poetry. Narrative poetry tells stories about societies and heroic deeds. Many of them are very long, like some ballads and epic poems.
The best examples of narration come from works like Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales” and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Hiawatha.”
Here is an excerpt from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.`’Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -Only this, and nothing more.’
The last example is an excerpt from the novel, Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
“Landlord!” said I, “what sort of chap is he — does he always keep such late hours?” It was now hard upon twelve o’clock.The landlord chuckled again with his lean chuckle, and seemed to be mightily tickled at something beyond my comprehension. “No,” he answered, “generally he’s an early bird — airley to bed and airley to rise — yea, he’s the bird what catches the worm. — But to-night he went out a peddling, you see, and I don’t see what on airth keeps him so late, unless, may be, he can’t sell his head.””Can’t sell his head? — What sort of a bamboozingly story is this you are telling me?” getting into a towering rage. “Do you pretend to say, landlord, that this harpooneer is actually engaged this blessed Saturday night, or rather Sunday morning, in peddling his head around this town?”
Categories of Compositions
In addition to narration, there are three other categories of composition. Sometimes the categories will overlap but usually a composition is primarily one or the other.
- Narration – Narration is simply telling a story, usually from the viewpoint of one person. Many times, the writer is also making a point as well as recounting events that occurred.
- Description – Descriptive writing uses sensory writing and includes vivid and rich details. It portrays certain events, people, or objects in a way that the reader can visualize what the writer is describing. The writer uses figurative language, like metaphors and symbolism, to enhance the sensory experience for the reader.
- Exposition – Exposition gives the reader information about one or more topics. It informs, explains, and even interprets. It comes from the Latin word that means “a showing forth.”
- Argument – Writing in an argumentative way is not like arguing; rather it is showing proofs to the reader to convince him of your position. It is meant to persuade, usually in a logical way, but is also a means for the writer to explain the reasoning behind his views.
Sometimes the categories will overlap; but, usually a composition is primarily one or the other category of composition.