Essay 1: Personal Narrative

First Draft due Wednesday, October 4

Final Draft Due Friday, October 6

Five to Six Pages, Typed, Stapled with First Draft, and Double-Spaced

For this assignment you will write a personal narrative in which you tell a true story about how you encountered a problem and how you attempted to solve it.

The body of your essay should consist of your narrative. The body of your essay will probably have a two-part structure. In the first part you will trace the developments that lead to the problem. In the second part you will trace the development of solutions or the ways in which you have been able to cope with the problem. You should organize your narrative chronologically, and you should have paragraph breaks whenever there are major turning points and/or the setting shifts.

In your essay you should aim to narrate specific events that happened at specific moments in time. You can describe repeated events and periods of time, but the focus of your essay should be singular events that were a part of a sequence of events. For example, you should not have paragraphs that are organized in terms of years in school. Instead, your paragraphs should follow the timeline that is set by the problem and the solution. Both the moment when you recognized the problem and the moment when you began to implement a solution should be highlighted at the beginnings of paragraphs.

Note that procrastination, time management, and more generally lack of self-discipline will not be acceptable problems for you to write about. If your essay involves procrastination or time management issues then you should think of problems around procrastination and time management as symptoms rather than problems in themselves. In other words, procrastination and time management issues are "downstream" results of "upstream" causes (such as the need to work many hours or unreliable transportation).

In order to reach the minimum length it will be important for you to consider the problem in terms of not just yourself but also in terms of yourself as a part of a set of relationships between people. Expect to introduce several characters in your narrative.

Remember that if you do not follow the steps of the writing process (journal, outline, first draft, in-class writing, then complete draft) your essay will not be accepted for grading. Remember in particular that on the date when the first draft is due, October 4, you will do an in-class writing assignment that draws on your narrative.

The essay will abide, when possible, with the essay-grading rubric for EWRT1A. Some points on the rubric are not readily applicable to personal narratives.

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