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Narrative Essay for High School Students with Essential Tips and Examples

Filed in Education by on April 13, 2021

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Narrative Essay: This is one of the only essays where you can get personal and tell a story. See my narrative essay samples in this article to learn how to express your own story in words.

Narrative Essay Examples for High School Students

A narrative essay is one that tells a story. It talks about a particular event or a series of events and describes the kind of experience that the writer (or protagonist) got from it. In other words, you have to write about what happened to you and how it influenced you.

Most essays that you come across in books are narrative ones. Furthermore, most movies and YouTube videos that you watch are also essentially examples of a narrative essay, only realized through the video medium. That’s why writing narrative essay examples for college is arguably the easiest assignment there is.

Narrative Essay for High School: Quick Tips on Writing

When writing a narrative essay, remember that you are sharing sensory and emotional details with the reader.

  • Your words need to be vivid and colorful to help the reader feel the same feelings that you felt.
  • Elements of the story need to support the point you are making. And, you need to remember to refer to that point in the first sentence.
  • You should make use of conflict and sequence like in any story.
  • You may use flashbacks and flash-forwards to help the story build toward a climax.
  • It is usually written in the first person, but the third-person perspective may also be used.

Still, it is always better to have some sense of direction. Below, I present some narrative essay examples. They are not perfect and would not secure an excellent grade, but they provide a convenient example to analyze the possible flows and pitfalls.

Narrative Essay for High School, Example 1: Best Friends for Life

“It was the 4th of July, and the summer heat was as blistering as ever in New Mexico. Lilly-Ann, Daniela, and I – the three best friends – set out to go on a girly picnic as we would every year since we were nine years old.
I had done all my chores and packed the picnic basket the night before, so as soon as I brushed my teeth and had a coffee, I was ready to dress up and go have a good time with my besties. I took my beat-up Cherokee and sped down the street to meet up with Daniela; we would pick Lilly-Ann later.
Daniela and I shared the same birthday – February 27th, 1986. Our moms were also best friends from high school. They went to the same college and got married the same year. Everyone always laughed at how it all resembled a generic best-friends-for-life movie or novel.
It seemed like Daniela and I were destined to be best friends. Neither of us had siblings, so we became much like sisters to each other. We shared all interests and hobbies without exception.
We both joined the school’s female soccer team, and both played in the defense. But, most important of all, we were always there for each other in the toughest of situations, regardless of how preoccupied either of us might have been.
Our traditional spot for Independence Day picnic was on the bank of the Beaver River. Here, half a mile west from the town, it is always as cool as it gets in July in New Mexico. As we were riding the rocky backroad, my bike was screaking in unison with the fireworks that exploded in the clear sky from the early morning.
The meadow on our spot always inspired us to go play a little soccer, as we did this time as well. Then, we felt like we need to fresh up a little, so we went into the river. We even managed to catch a small catfish, but we let it go.
The ride, the soccer, and the swim made us hungry, and we sat down to have some lunch. We all always pack a little more food than we need for a picnic, so we always have something of a menu to choose from.
We all picked Lilly-Ann’s roasted chicken with pineapple and mashed potatoes. During and after the meal, we chattered and giggled non-stop as besties like us always would. Then suddenly, Daniela seized laughing and stared blankly into the water for a moment or two.
Then she turned her eyes at me and uttered: “Promise me we will always be best friends, just like our moms.” We were light-hearted teenage girls, somewhat airheads even. So, it was a pure shock to hear Daniela speak so earnestly for the first time since I had known her.
Stunned, without the slightest idea of what was going on, all I could mumble was a faint “I promise.”
By this time, it began to get dark, and my dad had already texted me asking about my whereabouts. So, we rushed home. Lilly-Ann’s place was the nearest to the river, then was Daniela’s, and mine was the farthest.
As Daniela and I said goodbye and I sat on the bike to be on my way, she was still on the porch waving goodbye and shouted “Remember your promise,” reminding me of something I couldn’t wish to forget anyway.
These words ring through my head to this day. A pitch black mustang rolled from around the corner and headed our way.
“Dani…” I cried out as I leaped off the bike and to the side.
Stunned by the loud skiddle of tires and screams, I passed out. After I came to my sense, the first thing I saw was Daniela’s limp body in her mother’s hands as I heard hysterical weeping. My head suddenly felt heavy, and my legs felt cotton-like.
Dazed, I landed on my behind in slow motion. The air felt thick and heavy, and I fainted once more. The next thing I remember is waking up in my bed and seeing my mother sitting next to me, sobbing.
I urged to tell her about my promise, but all I could utter was “Why her?” – and then I burst into tears myself.
Nobody can take their best friend’s death well. I became antisocial. I barely left my room, and whenever someone tried to talk to me about anything, I responded with brief and bitter remarks. I wallowed in myself. Whirlwinds of thoughts circled in my head – Why Daniela?
Of all people, why did she have to die? Couldn’t God pick someone more deserving of death? I could not imagine how I was supposed to live on without her. Nobody could replace her in my life, not even all the people in the world.

ESSSAY

After one month of grieving, I finally found the strength to talk to my mother. “Does God love us?” I asked, “Why does he hurt us?” “My girl,” she said, “He picks the best of us and takes them before the cruel world can deform them. He turns them into His angels, and Daniela must be your angel now.”
I can’t say that it made me feel any better at the time. But later on, I understood the meaning of my promise. Daniela is always with me, following me in all the choices I make in life. She is my angel.”

We would grade this essay with a C+ at best. It is a narration alright, but what do we find out from this narrative essay example? The author is religious and her best friend died. The immenseness of this experience is only illustrated by a few physiological manifestations that many people have for far less dramatic reasons.

The gist of this essay is “My best friend died, so show some sympathy in the name of God and give me an A.” While an appeal to emotion is not forbidden, your task is to describe your experience colorfully enough to put your reader in your shoes. Only then can you consider your task completed and deserve an excellent grade.

Narrative Essay for High School, Example 2: He Left So I Could Learn

In this first essay example, we explore a lesson on dying:

It was my second day on the job. I was sitting in my seemingly gilded cubicle, overlooking Manhattan, and pinching my right arm to make sure it was real. I landed an internship at Condé Nast Traveler. Every aspiring writer I’ve ever known secretly dreamt of an Anthony Bourdain lifestyle. Travel the world and write about its most colorful pockets. 
When my phone rang, and it was Mom telling me Dad had a heart attack. He didn’t make it. I felt as though the perfectly carpeted floors had dropped out from under me. Now that I’ve come out the other side, I realize Dad left me with a hefty stack of teachings. Here are three ideals I know he would’ve liked for me to embrace. 
First, you have to stand on your own two feet. As much as our parents love and support us, they can’t go to our school and confess to the principal that we stole a candy bar from Sara. We have to do that. Neither can they walk into the Condé Nast office and nail a job interview for us. At some point, we have to put on our “big girl pants” and be brave, even if we’re not.  
Also, there’s a difference between love and co-dependence. Being grateful to have someone to turn to for love and support is not the same as needing someone to turn to for love and support. With the loss of my father, I’ve also lost my sounding board. All I can glean from that is it’s time to look within myself and make proper assessments. If I can’t make sound decisions with the tools already in my kit, then I risk falling for anything. 
Finally, memories are, perhaps, the only item that cannot be taken away from us. Will I miss my father? Every single day. What can I do in those times? I can open up our suitcase of memories, pick out my favorite one, and dream about it, talk about it, or write about it. Maybe I can’t pick up the phone and call him anymore, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone. 
Next week, I’m off to Istanbul to explore their art scene. As soon as I read the email from my editor, I picked up my phone to call Dad. Then, I realized he’ll never answer my calls again. I fought back the tears, got up to make a cup of peppermint tea, and added a new note to my iPhone titled, “Istanbul Packing List.” 
In the end, life goes on. I’m not sure why he had to leave during the single most poignant chapter in my life. So, I won’t dwell on that. Instead, I’ll hold tightly to these three ideals and write about Karaköy in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district. Dad will be with me every step of the way. 

Tiny Treasure Box

Narrative Essay for High School, Example 3: A Teeny, Tiny Treasure Box

The next short narrative essay takes a different approach. Instead of living in a comfortable loving home, the writer had to deal with the uncertainty of the foster system. Here’s a short lesson on hope:

She took me by the hand and walked me into the lobby like a five-year old child. Didn’t she know I was pushing 15? This was the third home Nancy was placing me in – in a span of eight months.
I guess she felt a little sorry for me. The bright fluorescent lights threatened to burn my skin as I walked towards a bouncy-looking lady with curly hair and a sweetly-smiling man. They called themselves Allie and Alex. Cute, I thought. 
After they exchanged the usual reams of paperwork, it was off in their Chevy Suburban to get situated into another new home. This time, there were no other foster children and no other biological children. Anything could happen. 
Over the next few weeks, Allie, Alex, and I fell into quite a nice routine. She’d make pancakes for breakfast, or he’d fry up some sausage and eggs. They sang a lot, even danced as they cooked. They must have just bought the house because, most weekends, we were painting a living room butter yellow or staining a coffee table mocha brown. 
I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. When would they start threatening a loss of pancakes if I didn’t mow the lawn? When would the sausage and eggs be replaced with unidentifiable slosh because he didn’t feel like cooking in the morning? But, it never happened. They kept cooking, singing, and dancing like a couple of happy fools. 
It was a Saturday afternoon when Allie decided it was time to paint the brick fireplace white. As we crawled closer to the dirty old firepit, we pulled out the petrified wood and noticed a teeny, tiny treasure box.
We looked at each other in wonder and excitement. She actually said, “I wonder if the leprechauns left it!” While judging her for being such a silly woman, I couldn’t help but laugh and lean into her a little.
Together, we reached for the box and pulled it out. Inside was a shimmering solitaire ring. Folded underneath was a short piece of paper that read: 
“My darling, my heart. Only 80 days have passed since I first held your hand. I simply cannot imagine my next 80 years without you in them. Will you take this ring, take my heart, and build a life with me? This tiny little solitaire is my offering to you. Will you be my bride?” 
As I stared up at Allie, she asked me a question. “Do you know what today is?” I shook my head. “It’s May 20th. That’s 80 days since Nancy passed your hand into mine and we took you home.” 
It turns out, love comes in all shapes and sizes, even a teeny, tiny treasure box from a wonderfully silly lady who believes in leprechauns.

This is one of the only essays where you can get personal and tell a story. Read over and over again to learn how to express your own story in words. Do not forget to share it with your friends.

CSN Team.

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