Narrative text - definition, characteristics, functions, types, and example - IELC (2023)

Hey Learners!

In today’s article, we will learn about narrative texts.

Most of you are probably already familiar with or have at least heard of the term “narrative text,” especially if you enjoy reading fiction.

However, let’s revisit our understanding of narrative text, shall we?

What exactly is a narrative text?

Simply put, a narrative text is a type of text that tells a story or describes a sequence of events. The purpose of a narrative text is to entertain or inform the reader by presenting a series of events in a coherent and engaging way.

What are the characteristics of narrative text?

1. Using past tenses

Narrative texts often contain past tense because they typically recount events or stories that have already occurred.

Using the past tense helps to create a sense of time and sequence, which enables the reader to follow the plot and understand the progression of events.

Also, writing in the past tense gives context and shows a clear link between actions and their results, which helps the reader get into the story and understand what the characters are going through.

Here’s an example:

“Once upon a time, in a small village, there lived a kind, generous old man. One day, as he was walking through the forest, he stumbled upon a giant squash. Amazed, he inched closer.”

In this example, the use of past tenses such as “lived”, “was walking”, “stumbled”, “amazed” and “inched” is used to describe past events.

2. Using adverbial of time

Narrative texts often use adverbials of time to provide a clear structure and sense of progression to the story.

These time expressions help the reader understand when events are happening, how they are related to one another, and the overall flow of the narrative.

By providing a context for the sequence of events, adverbials of time create a more vivid and engaging reading experience.

They enable the reader to follow the plot more easily and immerse themselves in the story, as they can visualize the events unfolding within a specific timeframe.

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Here’s an example:

“Early one morning, Sarah decided to go for a jog in the park. As she jogged, the sun began to rise, casting a golden glow over the trees. Later that day, she met her friends for lunch and shared her morning adventure with them.”

In this example, adverbials of time such as “early one morning,” “as she jogged,” and “later that day” are used to provide context and indicate the sequence of events, helping the reader understand when each action took place.

3. Using adjectives

Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns, or, put it simply, adjectives are words that give more information about a noun such as its color, shape, size, characteristics, etc.

In narrative text, adjectives help create a more detailed and vivid story.

Example: “The brave knight entered the dark, mysterious forest, ready to face any challenges that lay ahead.”

In this example, the adjectives “brave,” “dark,” and “mysterious” add depth to the description, giving the reader a clearer sense of the knight’s personality and the atmosphere of the forest.

4. Using noun phrases

A noun phrase is a group of words that contains a noun along with any accompanying modifiers, such as adjectives, adverbs, or other nouns that provide more information about the main noun. Noun phrases help create detailed and vivid descriptions in stories.

In narrative texts, noun phrases can be used to give more detailed descriptions, highlight certain parts of a character or setting, or explain complicated ideas concisely.

Example: “The bright morning sun cast a golden glow on the calm waters of the lake, creating a breathtaking view.”

In this example, the noun phrases are “the bright morning sun” and “the calm waters of the lake.” These phrases provide more detailed descriptions, with “the bright morning sun” referring to the sun and “the calm waters of the lake” highlighting the lake’s peaceful appearance.

What is the purpose and social function of a narrative text?

The purpose of a narrative text is to tell a story or recount a series of events in an engaging and entertaining way for the reader.

Some narrative texts may also have didactic or instructive purposes, such as teaching moral lessons or sharing information about historical events or specific cultural traditions.

And yes, narrative texts also have social functions, which include entertaining, providing information, and of course, educating the readers.

So, what does the structure of a narrative text look like?

1. Orientation

Orientation sets the stage for the story.

Ideally, the orientation should answer the questions “who,” “where, and “when.”

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So, when reading the orientation part, we should be able to identify the character and setting (both time and place) of the story.

2. Complication

This section contains the problems that occur within a story. It is divided into three parts, namely:

  • Rising action: Problems begin to emerge
  • Climax: Peak of the problem
  • Falling action: The tension of the problem begins to decrease, and the solution starts to emerge

3. Resolution

The resolution is the part of the narrative where the conflict or problem introduced earlier in the story is resolved or addressed.

This may involve characters finding a solution to their issues, overcoming obstacles, or experiencing personal growth.

The resolution helps tie up loose ends, providing closure for the reader and allowing them to see how the events of the story have impacted the characters.

4. Re-orientation / Evaluation

Re-orientation, also known as evaluation, is an optional component of a narrative text that serves to reflect on the story and its events, reinforcing the moral lesson or theme.

This section typically appears at the end of the story, providing a summary or commentary on the characters’ experiences and the consequences of their actions.

It helps the reader understand the significance of the story and encourages them to consider the message or lesson the author intended to convey.

The points mentioned above are the basic components of a narrative text structure, but it is important to note that not all narrative texts follow this exact structure.

Some narratives may include additional elements, such as flashbacks, multiple perspectives, or non-linear timelines. Nevertheless, the basic structure described above provides a useful framework for understanding and analyzing narrative texts.

Types of narrative texts:

There are lots of different kinds of narrative texts, such as:

  • Fictional narrative

A fictional narrative is a story that is not based on real events or real people. It can be a novel, short story, fable, or fairy tale.

  • Autobiography

An autobiography is a narrative text that tells the life story of the author, written from a first-person perspective.

  • Biography

A biography is a narrative text that tells the life story of someone other than the author, written from a third-person perspective.

  • Memoir

A memoir is a narrative text that focuses on a particular period or event in the author’s life, often written from a first-person perspective.

  • Legend

A legend is kind of a folklore. It’s a traditional story that has been passed on for generations – it often explains the origins of a particular culture or society.

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Example of a narrative text

In a dense forest filled with vibrant, mystical creatures, there lived a gentle deer named Luna. Her silver coat shimmered in the moonlight, and her sparkling blue eyes held the wisdom of the ages. Luna was beloved by all, as she had the unique ability to heal the wounds and ailments of others.

One day, a fearsome beast invaded the forest, causing chaos and despair among its inhabitants. The once harmonious realm was now filled with fear and anguish, as the beast’s rampage left destruction in its wake. The forest dwellers turned to Luna, seeking her guidance and help to face this grave threat.

Luna, understanding the magnitude of the situation, embarked on a journey to confront the beast. Along the way, she encountered various challenges and tests of courage, each one strengthening her resolve and preparing her for the upcoming confrontation. She also gained valuable allies, as the creatures of the forest united to stand by her side.

Finally, Luna and her companions reached the beast’s lair. As they approached, they discovered that the creature’s ferocious demeanor masked a deep pain – a thorn embedded in its paw. Luna, moved by compassion, used her healing touch to remove the thorn and soothe the beast’s pain.

With the thorn gone, the beast’s anger subsided, revealing a gentle giant grateful for Luna’s kindness. The forest dwellers and the beast formed an alliance, promising to protect and care for one another.

As peace returned to the forest, Luna’s wisdom and compassion became the guiding light for generations to come. Through her actions, she taught her fellow creatures the importance of understanding and empathy, even in the face of fear and uncertainty.

The moral of the story is empathy and understanding can transform conflict into friendship, and true strength lies in the ability to see beyond our fears to find common ground.

Anyway, can you spot the characteristics of a narrative text that we discussed earlier? Can you identify the structure?

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What are the 5 characteristics of narrative text? ›

Every narrative has five elements that define and shape the narrative: plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme. These elements are rarely stated in a story; they are revealed to the readers in the story in subtle or not-so-subtle ways, but the writer needs to understand the elements to assemble her story.

What are the definitions and functions of narrative text? ›

Narrative text is a text that tells about sequence of events in the past. According to Barbara as cited in Khusnul (2017), the purposes of narrative text are to entertain, to express the feelings, to inform and to persuade the readers.

What is narrative text and examples? ›

Narrative text includes any type of writing that relates a series of events and includes both fiction (novels, short stories, poems) and nonfiction (memoirs, biographies, news stories). Both forms tell stories that use imaginative language and express emotion, often through the use of imagery, metaphors, and symbols.

What is the definition of narrative text? ›

Narrative text is a story with complication or problematic events and it tries to find the resolutions to solve the problems. An important part of narrative text is the narrative mode, the set of methods used to communicate the narrative through a process narration.

What are the 4 parts of narrative text? ›

Generally, a narrative text has four parts; they are orientation, complication, climax, and resolution (Sadler & Hayllar, 2004).

What are the 7 elements of a narrative text? ›

These terms include: plot, characters, point of view, setting, theme, conflict, and style. Understanding how these elements work helps us better analyze narratives and to determine meanings.

What are the 5 types of narrative text? ›

Common types of narrative:
  • Descriptive narrative.
  • Viewpoint narrative.
  • Historical narrative.
  • Linear narrative.
  • Non-linear narrative.

What are the 3 examples of narrative text? ›

Examples include traditional tales like fairy tails, tall tales, legends, and myth and contemporary creations such as the Harry Potter series.

What are examples of narrative functions? ›

For example, in the sentence “I gave you the toy because you wanted it,” the meaning component is the standard predicate-agent-object-recipient (PAOR) of the two events gave (I, you, toy); want (you, toy), and the narrative relations component indicates the narrative function word that is now linked to these events.

What are the 4 text types? ›

The main types of text types are narrative, descriptive, directing, and argumentative.

What is the 3 types of text? ›

The text types are broken into three genres: Narrative, Non- fiction and poetry. Each of these genres has then been sub-divided into specific text types such as adventure, explanation or a specific form of poetry, e.g. haiku. Narrative is central to children's learning.

How do you identify narrative text? ›

Narrative text will often use a text structure that includes a beginning, a middle, and an end of a story. A novel is an example of a narrative text. reader or tell a story.

What are the types of narrative text? ›

There are many types of narrative: imaginary, factual, or combination of both. They may include fairy stories, mysteries, science fiction, romances, horror stories, adventure stories, fables, myths, and legends, historical narratives, ballads, slice of life, and personal experiences.

What are the 3 types of narratives explain? ›

This can be accomplished through any narrative perspective, be it first-person narration, second-person narration, or third-person narration.

What are two example of narrative? ›

Some of the popular examples of narrative writing include essays, fairy tales, autobiographies and news stories.

What are the 8 elements of narrative text? ›

What are the Elements of a Story? There are eight elements of a story: theme, plot, characters, setting, conflict, point-of-view, tone and style.

What are the 4 stages of narrative? ›

For example, Delafield-Butt and Tre- varthen (2015) consider the structure of narrative as involving a temporal sequence of introduction, development, climax and resolution (Figure 2), reflecting a serial organization of events or actions into complex expressions.

What are the 6 elements of narrative? ›

Storytelling 101: The 6 Elements of Every Complete Narrative
  • Setting. The setting is the time and location in which your story takes place. ...
  • Characters. A story usually includes a number of characters, each with a different role or purpose. ...
  • Plot. ...
  • Conflict. ...
  • Theme. ...
  • Narrative Arc.

What are the 4 main story elements? ›

To define four major story elements: character, setting, plot, and theme.

What are the 5 elements of setting? ›

The elements of setting – time, place, mood, social and cultural context – help to make a novel feel real and alive. Read more about using the ingredients of setting to make your story more vivid: By Bridget McNulty. 3 Comments.

What are the 3 main elements of a narrative? ›

The Basic Elements of Narrative Writing
  • Exposition: The background world and context for the characters. ...
  • Rising action: Something happens to disturb the context we've established. ...
  • Climax: The highest point of drama, wherein the fates of the characters are decided.
Aug 21, 2021

What are 3 main parts of writing a personal narrative? ›

Before you start writing a narrative, create a plan. Start with brainstorming and decide on the theme and message. After that, describe the content of the three major sections: the introduction, the body section, and the conclusions.

What are 3 generic structures of narrative text *? ›

There are three generic structure of narrative text, namely: Orientation, Complication, and Resolution.

What are 4 text features? ›

Text features include all the components of a story or article that are not the main body of text. These include the table of contents, index, glossary, headings, bold words, sidebars, pictures and captions, and labeled diagrams.

What are the 4 purposes of text? ›

These four purposes of writing - to entertain, inform, persuade, and express feelings - are often referred to as the four core purposes. Most texts can fit into one of these four categories. However, these aims are quite broad and generalised.

What text types to explain? ›

An expository text is intended to identify and characterise experiences, facts, situations, and actions in either abstract or real elements. Expository texts are meant to explain, inform or describe and they are the most frequently use to write structures.

Why are text types important? ›

Knowledge of text type helps children organize their thoughts when receiving, retelling or reporting on a particular reading. Children unaware of text types may become confused or include unnecessary details in reports or retellings of a read aloud.

What are 3 uses of text? ›

Text messages are used for personal, family, business and social purposes. Governmental and non-governmental organizations use text messaging for communication between colleagues. In the 2010s, the sending of short informal messages became an accepted part of many cultures, as happened earlier with emailing.

What are the 5 parts of narrative structure? ›

A traditional narrative arc has five elements, in the following order:
  • Exposition. This is the reader's introduction to the story. ...
  • Rising action. This is when conflict begins to ramp up. ...
  • Climax. ...
  • Falling action. ...
  • Resolution.
Sep 8, 2021

What are the 7 types of text structures? ›

Examples of text structures include: sequence/process, description, time order/chronology, proposition/support, compare/contrast, problem/solution, cause/effect, inductive/deductive, and investigation.

What is a 5 sentence narrative? ›

How do we use a five-sentence story? All stories follow the same basic pattern: an introduction, a build up, a climax, a resolution and an ending.

What are short examples of narrative texts? ›

5 Examples of Narrative Essays
  • “Goodbye to All That” by Joan Didion. ...
  • “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. ...
  • “Notes of a Native Son” by James Baldwin. ...
  • “My Life as an Heiress” by Nora Ephron. ...
  • “Joy” by Zadie Smith.
Apr 13, 2021

What is an example of narrative types of paragraph? ›

An example of a narrative paragraph:

It's been almost ten years since I first ran for political office. I was thirty-five at the time, four years out of law school, recently married, and generally impatient with life.

What are the 5 narrative structure? ›

What Is the Five-Act Structure? The five-act structure is a formula that breaks a story into distinct sections: the exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

What are the 5 paragraphs of a narrative? ›

An outline is often used to demonstrate the content of most five-paragraph essays:
  • Introduction.
  • Body. First Point. Second Point. Third Point.
  • Conclusion.

What are the 4 main types of text? ›

On this page
  • Factual texts.
  • Persuasive texts.
  • Literary texts.
Jan 31, 2023

What are the 6 different parts of narrative writing? ›

Storytelling 101: The 6 Elements of Every Complete Narrative
  • Setting. The setting is the time and location in which your story takes place. ...
  • Characters. A story usually includes a number of characters, each with a different role or purpose. ...
  • Plot. ...
  • Conflict. ...
  • Theme. ...
  • Narrative Arc.

What are the 8 key narrative elements? ›

There are eight elements of a story: theme, plot, characters, setting, conflict, point-of-view, tone and style.

How to make a story step by step? ›

How to write a story in 5 steps
  1. 1 Find inspiration. The first step in writing a story is coming up with an idea. ...
  2. 2 Brainstorm. Once you have an idea for a story, brainstorm. ...
  3. 3 Outline. Next, create an outline for your story. ...
  4. 4 Write the first draft. It's time to write. ...
  5. 5 Revise and edit your story.
Sep 23, 2022

How to write a conclusion? ›

Restate your topic and why it is important, Restate your thesis/claim, Address opposing viewpoints and explain why readers should align with your position, Call for action or overview future research possibilities.

How many paragraphs is an essay 7th grade? ›

Academic essay assignments typically start in middle school in the American education system and fall within the range of 300 to 800 words. In these grades, you'll be learning the basic 5-paragraph essay structure, which includes an introduction, a thesis statement, the body, and a conclusion.


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