The Narrative Essay

vignette (noun)
1. a brief evocative description, account, or episode.
“a classic vignette of embassy life”

2.  a small illustration or portrait photograph which fades into its background without a definite border.

vignette (verb)
1. to portray (someone or a moment in time) in the style of a vignette.

verb: vignette; 3rd person present: vignettes; past tense: vignetted; past participle: vignetted; gerund or present participle: vignetting
portray (someone) in the style of a vignette.


2. to produce (a photograph) in the style of a vignette by softening or shading away the edges of the subject.

“instructions had been sent to the shop to make a cropped, oval, vignetted copy of a family group portrait.”

A small five-year-old boy stood over a freshly dug gravesite at a Californian cemetery where his mother lay in a coffin.  He held a single rose in his hand.  As he prepared to drop it into the ground, he couldn’t see from his own perspective.  It was strange.  He felt like he was watching the rose fall to him instead of falling away from him.  The crowd stood apart from the boy, one could only see the boy standing over the hole with a group of somber attendees standing in black.  Their hearts went out to the little boy; for they knew he would have to grow up in this world without a mother.

[Tip: start your narrative story with a moment in time, a scene, a memory, a picture, or a landscape. Use words that enable any human being to imagine your story with their senses.]

An essay is aimed to show your personal opinion about the subject. These are just patterns that you have to fill with certain information and viewpoints. You are to understand the subject as well as be direct in expressing your ideas. For our third assignment, let’s start with the narrative.

1. Create an outline of a past memory.
2. Write by including who, what, where, when, how, and why + feelings, thoughts, and sensory input.
3. Write a vignette: a story that starts from a moment in time.
4. Conclude on something powerful, yet simple. Something you learned, something you cherish, or something you will try to never experience again.

10 Types of Essays

Descriptive – This type of essay is designed for describing the details of the subject. It can be written about any object and its features. You are to describe the way it looks, smells, or works. It can be compared with a detailed overview of the things you write about. In this type of essay, every detail counts.


Definition – The ultimate goal of the definition essay is to focus on the definition of the subject. It may focus on different things or various origins. 
The point of this type of essay is to explain something on a higher level than dictionaries do.

Here you are to delve into the subject to get an understanding of what it is, how people perceive it, and what it is associated with.


Compare and Contrast – This type of essay is aimed to dwell upon on differences and similarities between two objects, events, things, etc. The reader should receive a clear understanding of what certain things have in common and what is different about them. The writer has to be well informed about both subjects in order to provide the reader with a clear comparison of the two subjects.

Cause and Effect – This type of essay is destined to focus on the sequence of an event and its result of it. It reminds some of a study where you are to show what cause has led to a particular result. In case there are more causes than results or fewer causes than results the writer has to explore them separately. The cause & effect essay requires the writer to draw a logical connection between the reasons for a certain event.

To write a good essay of that type it is necessary to study the works on similar topics to have a better understanding of how such research is done.

Narrative – This type of essay is aimed at telling a story about a certain event in a person’s life. It may be a funny festival or a watching a good movie in the cinema, everyday activity or visiting another country. In such an essay, you are free to express your personal attitude towards things that affected you, places that you liked, or people you were with. It is usually written in the 1st person with frequent usage of “I.”

Process – When it comes to a process essay, one may find certain similarities with a cause-and-effect essay. This type of paper required the same level of understanding of the subject and how it works. It sometimes resembles a manual where the instructions to do something are given. To write this essay better, you are to perform the described process if possible as it is easier to tell about something you know well and are good at.

Argumentative – When it comes to this type of essay, it should be noted that it is quite useful for any student at any level of education. The ultimate goal of this essay is to persuade the reader to take the author’s viewpoint. It is not an easy thing to do as this paper is aimed at manipulating other people’s thoughts to change their attitudes toward something.  For this writing, you are to use firm language, proven facts, and accurate and vivid illustrations as evidence of your argument should be flawless.

Stripped of these items your argumentative essay won’t be persuasive enough and your influence on the reader will be minimal. Skilled writers are to be completely sure about every word they write and every fact they give. There is no room for mistakes and uncertainty. What makes this type of essay more difficult is that you have to be ready to fight against opposing ideas, and your paper should contain the antidote to the critics of your viewpoint.

Critical – This type of essay focuses on the weak and strong features of something. It is aimed at giving a characteristic of the subject to make the reader aware of what you consider to be good or bad about it. These papers usually dwell upon how something is done or written.

Did the author manage to do it correctly or not?

Was his work persuasive?

Was he successful in delivering his message to the audience?

These are the questions you will have to answer in your essay. 

Expository – This type of essay can give you skills in organizing and manner of doing your own research. This practice is by no means very important as it can lead you to results that can be groundbreaking. It may take lots of time, but it is worth doing.

Surprisingly, this feature makes this paper easier at the same time. In fact, it is more comfortable to write about something you know well and something you are sure about than digging into the information that was received from someone else. Perhaps you could contribute something new to the subject and show something that was never seen before. 

When it comes to an expository essay, keep in mind that it is aimed at an estimation of the subject from your point of view. That is why it requires research to be carried out. It is not an easy type of essay as your knowledge of the subject has to be based not only on the information you get from someone else but mostly on your own experience.

Persuasive – This type of essay is the opposite of an argumentative essay. It is aimed at changing the readers’ point of view completely, taking the author’s one as an axiom. It is a stronger and more difficult type of essay as it requires a better understanding of the subject and good skills in criticizing the opponents.

In most cases, persuasive essays deal with topics that are relevant here and today. A persuasive essay should be very tough and influential. By writing it, you show that you are really good at something and that you are sure that your opinion is ultimately correct.

The more you try, the better you become.

These are the most common types of essays that are widespread in academic life.

Each of them requires certain skills and talents.

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