Narrative

Narrative Assignment Sheet
“Final For Now” Draft (4­5 pages)
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Stories, the argument goes, are the main way we make sense of things, whether in thinking of our lives as a
progression leading somewhere or in telling ourselves what is happening in the world.
–Jonathan Culler (Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction 82)
PURPOSE
For this assignment, you will select an important moment from your life and tell it as a story. Try to narrow
down your topic to a specific event, choice, or day (the more specific the scope, the easier the story will be to
tell). For example, instead of writing about your entire summer in Yosemite being a hiking guide, you would
write about one or two specific events that stood out to you, like the time half your group wandered off in
pursuit of a bear cub which turned out to be a raccoon.
Your purpose is to write a narrative that reveals something important about you to your audience, and perhaps
to yourself as well. Along the way you’ll consider issues of organization, description, detail selection and
audience.
AUDIENCE
We do not write for ourselves alone. Rather, we need to consider our narrative as part of a rhetorical triangle
that encompasses the writer, the reader, and the subject matter. Consider what your readers already know
about you and what they need to know. How much background information do you need to give to make the
most impact? Why should the audience invest in this story? Why does it matter to you? Also, as you write,
notice what surprises you. If you, the writer, are surprised and intrigued, chances are that your reader will feel
the same way. Beginning to reflect on audience now, early in the course, will help in later assignments.
ASSESSMENT
You will receive comments rather than a grade on an initial draft and a “final for now” draft. The narrative will be
evaluated upon the following criteria:
 Choosing a focus among many possibilities
 Conveying some source of tension in the story that eventually turns toward a resolution
 Selecting and using descriptive detail and examples appropriate to your purpose(s) and audience(s)
 Reflecting on the new perspective you have gained since the experience
 Developing and practicing flexible strategies for invention, focus, organization, and revision
 Demonstrating originality and initiative that remain relevant to the assignment
 Demonstrating genuine progress from draft to draft
 Proofreading your work so that it appears neat and professional
 Meeting the length requirement (4­5 pages) with MLA conventions (Times New Roman 12 pt. font,
double­spaced, 1­inch margins, appropriate heading, etc.)

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