The Structure of Narrative

A Simple Narrative of Personal Experience
The Clause Structural Type
And how bout the particular field? Abstract furnished by interviewer's request
That was more or less and accident. Evaluation of entire narrative
Uh, I started out in Renaissance studies, Orientation
but I didn't like any of the people I was working with, Orientation/Evaluation
and at first I thought I would just leave Y
and go to another university
Narrative (main verb "thought")
uh but a medievalist at Y university asked me
to stay or at least reconsider whether I should
leave or not,
Narrative (main verb "asked")
and um pointed out to me that I had done very
well in the medieval course that I took with
him and that I seemed to like it,
Narrative (main verb "pointed out"). Absence of
subject indicates that the verb is closely tied to
the previous verb, and may be simultaneous with it.
Also Evaluation of speaker's university career.
and he was right. Evaluation
I did. Evaluation
And he suggested that I switch fields
and stay at Y.
Narrative (main verb "suggested")
And that's how I got into medieval literature. Coda: summarizes the narrative and marks its end

This is a relatively simple and undramatic example of a narrative of personal experience, but its formal structure is quite clear and should serve to indicate what a narrative looks like, what its parts are, and how they fit together.

After Life Stories: The Creation of Coherence, by Charlotte Linde, Oxford, 1993, page 84.

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Last modified: Sun Apr 2 13:36:06 PDT 2000