What are the differences in narrative and descriptive essays? This is a question many students ask. Having experienced writing both, I can tell that there are plenty of similarities as well as some very big differences between the two types of writings. Both narrative and descriptive essays provide great details. A narrative tells a story about an event, while descriptive creates a picture of a person, place, thing or event for the reader. I think that a descriptive essay gives a clearer picture of the story that’s happen or been created in someone life. A narrative essay often reflects your personal experiences, explaining what happened during some sort of experience. For example in the narrative essay “Homeless” the author was telling the story of how a women was homeless staying a bus terminal for several weeks and she had a home before but she lost it. The author explained the women explained “They were pictures of a house.
It was like a thousand houses in a hundred towns, not suburb, not city, but somewhere in between, with aluminum siding and a chain-link fence, a narrow driveway running up to a one-car garage and a patch of backyard. The house was yellow.” The author was narrating the home that she once had before. This is what is meant by narrative essays have a purpose of telling the events to the reader. Narrative essay topics can include recounting an experience where you learned something significant, your first fight, your first job interview, or a frightening encounter. Narration is not always a personal experience, a book report can be consider a narrative since it spells out a plot. On the other hand descriptive essays uses sensory detail like sight, sound, smell and taste to describe a scene, person or feeling to the reader. In the descriptive essay “I want a wife” you can clearer visualize how the man wanted his cloths to be kept up to part. For instance when the author said “I want a wife who will keep my cloths cleaned, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it.”
As you describe, you can create a three dimensional picture so the reader can experience the item, place, person or emotion along with the reading. Descriptive essay topics can include your favorite place, your basement, your bedroom, your best friend, an odd object that you own, an art exhibit, the best or worst teacher you ever had, your ideal job or your dream home. When it comes to the similarities between narrative and descriptive essay they have a lot in common. Just as in the narrative essay “Homeless” the author explained that “it’s not the size or location but pride of ownership”. Where as in the descriptive essay ” I Want a Wife” the author explained ” I want a wife who is a good nurturant attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling, makes sure that they have an adequate social life with their peers, takes them to the park, the zoo, etc”. That writer was detailing what it was he wanted in a wife. Both writers were explaining specific details.
Both narrative and descriptive essays should follow essay format with an introductory paragraph, body paragraphs and a concluding paragraph. At the end of the introduction, place a thesis, a sentence that explains the overall purpose of the paper. Give a reason for the narration or description in the thesis explaining why the event, person, place or thing is important enough to write about. In both, the thesis should express that you are telling a story because something was learned or that you are describing a place that creates a sense of clam in your life. Also, in both narration and description essay, including specific details in the body paragraphs to support the idea set forth in the thesis. However, there are some big differences between narrative and description writings. Narration often employs first person point of view, using words like “I” and “me”, while description do not.
For example, the author of “Homeless” said “I’ve never been very good at looking at the big picture, taking the global view, and I’ve always been a person with an overactive sense of place, legacy of an Irish grandfather.” This is her using the word “I” explaining to the reader this is how she is. Another big difference between the two is that a narrative essay includes action, but the descriptive essay does not. Narration follows a logical order, typically chronological. In contrast, description typically contains no time elements, so organize descriptive essays by some other reasonable means, such as how you physically move around in a space or with a paragraph for each of the senses you use to describe. When it comes to the descriptive essay “I want a wife” the author describes what he want his wife to do for him and the kids and the household by saying “I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me.”
He states know order as to how he wants it all done, he just know this is the way that he want his wife to be. In conclusion, Narrative and description writings have a similarities and difference. Both writings can be interesting to write and read about because the point of the writings is to grab the reader’s attention. On the other hand, both essays have different writing techniques to use to catch the reader attention. After getting a better understanding and examples in the similarities and differences between the two writings one will be more exciting to write on a topic then the other one. Depending on the style of the writer or what experiences and places or people that have encounter in your life this will determine which essay style you will choose. Like me if you enjoy painting a picture in someone head to make them feel like they can see, smell or even taste what your are writing about then descriptive essays is the way to go.
Brady, J. (1971). I want a wife. Retrieved from http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/everythingsanargument4e/content/cat_020/Brady_I_Want_a_Wife.pdf
Quindlen, A. (n.d.). Homeless. Retrieved from http://pers.dadeschools.net/prodev/homelesstext.htm
Connell, C. M., & Sole, K. (2013). Essentials of college writing (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.