What is a narrative essay? Narrative essays tell a story. Sometimes it’s a personal experience, and sometimes it can be something you’ve read or seen.

The main point of a narrative essay is to tell a story that has a beginning, middle, and end.

Telling stories is something we do every day. When we’re giving directions to a friend, breaking down what happened during our favorite sporting event or even just explaining why we like a certain TV show, we are telling a story.

narrative in literature and film

What Is a narrative in literature and film?

Narrative means story, but it also refers to the techniques used to tell the story.

In literature and film, a narrative is the combination of story and plot. The story is simply what happens in a work.

Plot, on the other hand, involves the questions of when things happen and why they happen.

Narratives can be informative, entertaining, or both.

The narrative structure of a novel or film often includes the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

The goal of the narrative structure is to keep readers or viewers curious about what will happen next.



Narratives can be found in all languages and cultures. They are not just stories told to entertain but convey messages about reality. The earliest known narrative, The Epic of Gilgamesh, was written down on clay tablets 5,000 years ago.

For centuries, narratives were passed down by word of mouth before they were ever written. In this way, they were able to develop and change over time without losing their power or meaning.

The study of narratives is called narratology and deals with how narratives are assembled and interpreted.

The modern novel is often credited with being the first narrative art form that was widely read by a large audience.

Beginning with Don Quixote in 1605, modern novels grew out of medieval romances like Tristan and Iseult.

While romances told fanciful stories set in pre-Christian Europe, modern novels also explored more realistic settings as well as complex psychological issues.

What Is a Narrative?

We all have stories to tell and when you write an essay, whether it’s for school or work, you want to make sure the reader gets interested in your topic and knows why they should care about it.

A narrative essay accomplishes this by telling someone a story that they either want to hear or would never have heard if you hadn’t shared it with them. Narratives can be nonlinear, meaning the events don’t occur in chronological order.


In transmedia storytelling, for example, a single narrative may be presented in different media at different times. In this case, the story can be understood only by experiencing all of these pieces.

The best way to learn how to write an effective narrative essay is to practice writing one. If you’re in school, most teachers will assign at least one narrative essay for you to complete so you can practice your skills before trying anything else.

If you’ve never written one before, try jotting down different things that happened throughout the day, and then try turning those events into a story.

Examples of Narratives in Literature

Narrative is a literary technique that describes a story or event in sequential order, with the intention of creating a coherent story. The events of narrative are presented as if they are a story being told by an observer or participant.

The term “narrative” is derived from the Latin word narrare, which was used to refer to the telling of a tale or story. The purpose of using narrative in literature is to engage the reader and create interest.

Narrative also allows writers to present complex ideas and concepts without having to rely on simple facts and information. Authors have been using narrative for thousands of years in different formats, such as oral tales and written stories. Narratives contain elements that are considered universal across all cultures. 

An author will choose characters who overcome conflict through internal struggles and by developing strategies to achieve their goals throughout their journey. Characters who go on journeys commonly encounter obstacles such as conflicts with other characters, self-doubt, and bad luck. These conflicts typically result in learning experiences that help move the character toward his or her ultimate goal.

In addition to characters, authors use settings, themes, and plots to create narratives.

Examples of Narrative in Film

Narrative as a literary term is defined as the arrangement of events in a story. It is the way in which the plot unfolds and is structured so that the reader or audience can follow along. The narrative style has been around for centuries, and has become an essential part of how storytelling is presented in film, television, and other forms of media.


Narrative examples can be found all over popular culture. There are some films that follow a very simple narrative while others are more complex and difficult to understand.

Some films use narrative to tell a story while others use it to move the action forward, and still others serve both purposes at once. A screenplay serves not only as a blueprint for the actors and crew but also as a narrative guide for film viewers.

It tells them what the characters are thinking, how they feel about each other, and how they relate to their surroundings. The screenplay does not have to be overly complicated or dull; it just needs to serve its purpose well enough that the story can play out on screen without confusing viewers.

The Different Types of Narrative

Narrative essays tell a story. They include storytelling, description, and exposition. The best narrative essay will have a clear plot with a beginning, middle, and end.

A narrative essay can be very interesting to read because it gives us an insight into someone else’s life. It can also give us an inside view of an experience or event. It can show us something new about ourselves or about another person or thing.


The Quest Narrative

The quest narrative is a story structure that describes a character’s journey towards achieving a goal. It represents the struggle of mankind to rise above its physical limitations and become better, stronger, faster.

The structure of the quest narrative can be broken down into five parts. 

The Call to Adventure is when the protagonist is introduced to their goal, and decides (whether consciously or subconsciously) that they want to achieve it.

The Refusal of the Call is when the protagonist decides not to set off on their adventure, or attempts to give up during their journey.

If the protagonist perseveres, something, known as a Supernatural Aid, happens that helps them achieve their goal.

This could be a gift from a helpful spirit, an enchanted weapon given by a friend or even just good luck. This event often coincides with the Crossing of the First Threshold from “the normal world” into “the special world”.\

The Bildungsroman

In contemporary usage, the term bildungsroman has come to denote a story that follows the psychological and moral growth of a central character from youth to adulthood. In its strictest definition, the bildungsroman is defined as a novel where the main character comes of age.

The most significant aspect of this definition is that this process of “coming of age” is the dominant theme in the novel. It’s not enough that something happens to the protagonist; the protagonist must learn something along the way. The bildungsroman follows an individual on his or her path towards maturity, through their trials and tribulations.

Expect protagonists in bildungsroman novels to be young and inexperienced at the start of their journey. As they progress through their coming-of-age story, they will generally develop some type of maturity, whether it’s learning how to accept responsibilities or deciding to take control of their own lives.

The term “coming of age” can be a little misleading for novels set during wartime or other periods where teenagers are expected to become adults quickly. Many classic coming-of-age stories follow characters well into adulthood, including adulthood beyond marriage and prosaic life choices such as career and family.

The Characteristics of a Narrative

Narrative essays are similar to personal essays or memoirs because the writer uses this method to tell a story about an experience, event, or situation. In other words, narrative essays tend to be descriptive in nature as opposed to analytical.

To write a good narrative essay, it is essential that you learn how to think like a writer. A writer’s main goal is to communicate effectively with others. When you communicate effectively through writing, you are doing more than just telling a story. You are allowing someone else the privilege of experiencing a story through your eyes.

In order to do this, it is important that your writing has a purpose and that you take the time to develop your ideas. This will help you stay focused on what you want to say. With a clear point of view and purpose in mind, you will be able to create an essay which is not only interesting but also memorable for the reader.

A good narrative essay should have an engaging opening. Your introduction must capture the attention of your audience and make them want to read the rest of your essay.

Looking at Narrative in Famous Films

Narrative is a term used to describe the flow of a story, and it’s the way we see things happen in specific order. It is one of the most important elements of cinema because it allows us to understand what is happening on-screen. Whether you’re watching an action film, a documentary, or something in between, narrative helps us to understand what we are watching as well as how it all fits together.


Narratives can be divided into two main categories: non-linear narratives and linear narratives. Non-linear narratives are stories where we jump back and forth between different time periods or perspectives. A good example of this would be the film Pulp Fiction.

In Pulp Fiction, there are multiple stories being told at the same time. However, they all connect into each other in some way. This allows us to see the different timelines and perspectives that make up the overall narrative of the film.

On the other hand, linear narratives are stories where everything happens in chronological order. Most documentaries are linear narratives. In documentaries, everything we see happens sequentially, rather than jumping back and forth between different times and perspectives.