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Academic Writing Tips: Does A Narrative Essay Need A Thesis Statement?


All through their schooling, students are told that every essay needs a thesis statement. But, when they get to the lessons on narrative essays, students are confused about whether or not to include a thesis. Since narratives are story-telling papers, they do not seem like they should prove a point. But, they are still papers, so yes, they do need thesis statements.

  • Guide the Paper with a Thesis Statement
  • Even though a narrative paper is designed to tell a story, without a thesis statement, the story has no direction. The guiding statement is used to show what was learned through the story itself. Without a thesis, the essay will be more like a journal or diary entry with no point at all.

  • Telling Stories Can Be Persuasive
  • Narrative essays include the story, but the purpose of telling the story is to prove a point. This is why nearly all writing is considered persuasive at heart. Think about every time that you tell a story, whether in writing or orally. In the majority of cases, your story proves a point, even if the point is how many hotdogs you can eat in an hour or what it was like to catch a foul ball at a baseball stadium. When you tell a story to a group of friends, you get the point across in the tone of your voice or the other conversational cues. But, when you write, you have to be very clear about your purpose, which is why a thesis statement is necessary.

  • Fictional Stories and Essays are Different
  • If you want to tell a story and not include a thesis statement, then you should write a short story. Through storytelling techniques like dialogue and narration, you can get your story told. Your readers will need to figure out the point of your story, but that is one of the joys of reading short stories and other narrative pieces that are not essays.

  • Explore the Meaning of Real Events
  • Storytelling essays, by definition, are exploratory papers where writers look into the meanings of events in their lives. They are more like memoirs than fictional pieces, because writers investigate actual, real events through storytelling and analysis. This is why narrative papers need to have formal paragraphs, introductions and conclusions, and thesis statements with coordinating topic sentences. The body paragraphs are the places where the events are explored and analyzed to prove that the thesis statement is correct.



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