Though ostensibly a children’s book, The Little Prince makes several profound and idealistic points about life and human nature. Saint-Exupéry tells of meeting a young prince in the middle of the Sahara. The essence of the book is contained in the great and famous lines uttered by the fox to the Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Prince, viewed 14 May 2009)
Have you ever read the book, The Little Prince? It is an excellent example of a narrative essay – a work of fiction with doses of philosophy.
Read the book and discuss :
- What lessons do you take from the book?
- How does the writer make the lessons deep or interesting to us?
- What questions do we have after reading the book?
A good narrative essay should be a story with believable or deep content. Although O Level essays usually steer away from ghosts, fantastical dreams, aliens or medieval knights, you can still use your imagination to facilitate through the abstraction of time and space using clear and good writing skills. For example, instead of creating a story of a mysterious woman who is a ghost, why not describe her with ghost-like adjectives, to give a sense of mystery,
The woman often turned up at the fruit store unannounced. Her skin striking – whiter than fresh paper, it glinted where the sun hit. She would glide down the aisle noiselessly, her feet giving no indication of the tattered flip flops, as if stuck to her heels obediently like a pet. Who was she?
Start from a basic premise that there’s a problem that you need to solve.
The problem : A mystery woman turns up everyday at the fruit store.
The solution : I find out who she is.
Give your story a day at the most. You can describe the past recurring events to give emphasis to the mystery, but the plot to discover the truth should take a day because students tend to run away with long plots that end up very weak.
Timeline : Within a few minutes of following her, I find out who she is by eavesdropping on a conversation she has with the shopkeeper.
When you have these 3 things (problem, solution, timeline), plan your story in paragraphs like this :
First paragraph : (the premise of the story) I often see the mysterious woman daily at the fruit store
– describe why she is mysterious, and why the fruit store
Second paragraph : (past) The mystery drives me to want to find out her identity but i have often failed to – describe one or two events that you have tried to find out but failed
Third paragraph : (future) I wonder who she could be – describe two possibilities that make sense
Fourth paragraph : (present) I take the bold step of following her and find out her identity – describe how that unfolds along the way
Fifth paragraph : (present) I have a short chat with the mysterious woman and realise she’s not as mysterious as I’d made her out to be – describe the loss of mystery and why, perhaps relief?
Use language that is fluent and interesting. Take out your treasure trove of vocabulary, imagery and quotes.
People have often said that “to love is to sacrifice something”. After hearing Mrs Tao’s reason of why she came daily to the fruit store in that manner made me understand the heart of a mother. She would do it everyday for her son because she loved him, and in the process, sacrifice her time and whatever possessions she had left.
A narrative essay is wonderfully fun to create. Especially at the O levels, an English narrative essay should reflect a certain maturity in handling life and fiction. As for the rest of the story above, you can make up your own pieces of missing puzzle.
Write a 350-500 word narrative essay on one of the following topics :
- A Mysterious Visit
- An Unexpected Blessing
- A Comedy of Errors
- A Right Answer In The Wrong Place