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Normal story conventions

Most narrative essays have the normal story elements in them. This means a plot or story. They usually have a setting. This is generally a physical location, although not always - the setting could be in someone’s dreams. There are also characters - at the very least the person or ‘thing’ telling the story (it doesn’t have to be from a human’s perspective). Many narrative essays lead to a climax - a high point in the story, followed by the ending.

I had a teacher at school who had a creative punishment for students who misbehaved. They had to write a 500 word essay on the life of a doorknob. It was meant to be a painful, drawn out experience, because the life of a doorknob is supposedly extremely boring. However, some students came up with quite interesting narrative essays. The stories had characters - teachers, students, janitors, and security guards who all used the doorknob.

The stories were vivid and descriptive. The life of the doorknob was described as if the doorknob was human - the periods of boredom at night when no-one used it, the distaste for the greasy janitor’s hands, the business as classes came and went during the day. The story led to a climax too - the weekly time when the doorknob was cleaned. And it had a point - that the life of doorknob, against all expectations, could be quite interesting.

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