4. Narrative Text
What is Narrative?
1. Definition of Narrative
Narrative is a text focusing specific participants. Its social function is to tell stories or past events and entertain the readers.
2. Generic Structure of Narrative
A narrative text consists of the following structure:
1. Orientation: Introducing the participants and informing the time and the place
2. Complication: Describing the rising crises which the participants have to do with
3. Resolution: Showing the way of participant to solve the crises, better or worse
3. Language Features of Narrative
• Using processes verbs
• Using temporal conjunction
• Using Simple Past Tense
4. Examples and structures of the text
Orientation Once upon a time there lived a little girl named Snow White. She lived with her Aunt and Uncle because her parents were dead.
Complication 1 One day she heard her Uncle and Aunt talking about leaving Snow White in the castle because they both wanted to go to America and they didn’t have enough money to take Snow White.
Resolution 1 Snow White did not want her Uncle and Aunt to do this so she decided it would be best if she ran away. The next morning she ran away from home when her Aunt and Uncle were having breakfast. She ran away into the woods.
Complication 2 Then she saw this little cottage. She knocked but no one answered so she went inside and fell asleep.
Resolution 2 Meanwhile, the seven dwarfs were coming home from work. They went inside. There they found Snow White sleeping. Then Snow White woke up. She saw the dwarfs. The dwarfs said, “what is your name?” Snow White said, “My name is Snow White.”
Doc, one of the dwarfs, said, “If you wish, you may live here with us.” Snow White said, “Oh could I? Thank you.” Then Snow White told the dwarfs the whole story and Snow White and the 7 dwarfs lived happily ever after.
Example of Narative
A. Queen of Arabia and Three Sheiks
Maura, who like to be thought of as the most beautiful and powerful queen of Arabia, had many suitors. One by one she discarded them, until her list was reduced to just three sheiks. The three sheiks were all equally young and handsome. They were also rich and strong. It was very hard to decide who would be the best of them.
One evening, Maura disguised herself and went to the camp of the three sheiks. As they were about to have dinner, Maura asked them for something to eat. The first gave her some left over food. The second Sheik gave her some unappetizing camel’s tail. The third sheik, who was called Hakim, offered her some of the most tender and tasty meat. After dinner, the disguised queen left the sheik’s camp.
The following day, the queen invited the three sheiks to dinner at her palace. She ordered her servant to give each one exactly what they had given her the evening before. Hakim, who received a plate of delicious meat, refused to eat it if the other two sheiks could not share it with him.
This Sheik Hakim’s act finally convinced Queen Maura that he was the man for her. “Without question, Hakim is the most generous of you” she announced her choice to the sheiks. “So it is Hakim I will marry”.
Narrative Complication in Generic Structure
As it is said many times that, the heart of narrative text is the existence of the complication. It will drive the plot of the story to keep amusing. The existence of conflict inside the Queen Maura is what builds the story keep running. The psychological conflict inside Maura, which she strikes against herself, is arousing the reader’s attention to continue reading the story. They want to know what next will happen, who will be chosen by Queen Maura; in what way she will decide who the best is. Keeping knowing them really entertaining as well increasing the moral value added.
Orientation: the text introduces the Queen Maura and three sheiks in Arabia once time.
Complication: Queen Maura finds out that it was very difficult to choose one as the best among them
Resolution: finally Queen Maura has a convincing way to choose one and he is Sheik Hakim
B. The Smartest Parrot
Once upon time, a man had a wonderful parrot. There was no other parrot like it. The parrot could say every word, except one word. The parrot would not say the name of the place where it was born. The name of the place was Catano.
The man felt excited having the smartest parrot but he could not understand why the parrot would not say Catano. The man tried to teach the bird to say Catano however the bird kept not saying the word.
At the first, the man was very nice to the bird but then he got very angry. “You stupid bird!” pointed the man to the parrot. “Why can’t you say the word? Say Catano! Or I will kill you” the man said angrily. Although he tried hard to teach, the parrot would not say it. Then the man got so angry and shouted to the bird over and over; “Say Catano or I’ll kill you”. The bird kept not to say the word of Catano.
One day after he had been trying so many times to make the bird say Catano, the man really got very angry. He could not bear it. He picked the parrot and threw it into the chicken house. There were four old chickens for next dinner “You are as stupid as the chickens. Just stay with them” Said the man angrily. Then he continued to humble; “You know, I will cut the chicken for my meal. Next it will be your turn, I will eat you too, stupid parrot”. After that he left the chicken house.
The next day, the man came back to the chicken house. He opened the door and was very surprised. He could not believe what he saw at the chicken house. There were three death chickens on the floor. At the moment, the parrot was standing proudly and screaming at the last old chicken; “Say Catano or I’ll kill you”.
Analysis the Generic Structure
Orientation: It sets the scene and introduces the participants/characters. In that parrot story, the first paragraph is the orientation where reader finds time and place set up and also the participant as the background of the story. A man and his parrot took place once time.
Complication: It explores the conflict in the story. It will show the crisis, rising crisis and climax of the story. In the parrot story, paragraph 2, 3, 4 are describing the complication. Readers will find that the man face a problem of why the parrot can not say Catano. To fix this problem, the man attempted to teach the bird. How hard he tried to teach the bird is the excitement element of the complication.
Resolution: It shows the situation which the problems have been resolved. It must be our note that “resolved” means accomplished whether succeed or fail. In the last paragraph of the smartest parrot story, readers see the problem is finished. The parrot could talk the word which the man wanted. The parrot said the word with higher degree than the man taught the word to it. That was the smartest parrot.
C. The Legend of Toba Lake
Once upon time, there was a handsome man. His name was Batara Guru Sahala. He liked fishing. One day, he caught a fish. He was surprised to find out that the fish could talk. The fish begged him to set it free.
Batara Guru could not bear it. He made the fish free. As soon as it was free, the fish changed into a very beautiful woman. She attracted Batara Guru so much. He felt in love with that fish-woman. The woman wanted to marry with him and said that Batara Guru had to keep the secret which she had been a fish. Batara Guru aggreed and promised that he would never tell anybody about it.
They were married happily. They had two daughters. One day Batara Guru got very angry with his daughter. He could not control his mad. He shouted angrily and got the word of fish to his daugters. The daughters were crying. They found their mother and talked her about it.
The mother was very annoyed. Batara Guru broke his promise. The mother was shouting angrily. Then the earth began to shake. Volcanoes started to erupt. The earth formed a very big hole. People believed that the big hole became a lake. Then this lake is known as Toba Lake.
D. Cinderella 1
Once upon a time, there was a young girl named Cinderella. She lived with her step mother and two step sisters.
The step mother and sisters were conceited and bad tempered. They treated Cinderella very badly. Her step mother made Cinderella do the hardest works in the house; such as scrubbing the floor, cleaning the pot and pan and preparing the food for the family. The two step sisters, on the other hand, did not work about the house. Their mother gave them many handsome dresses to wear.
One day, the two step sister received an invitation to the ball that the king’s son was going to give at the palace. They were excited about this and spent so much time choosing the dresses they would wear. At last, the day of the ball came, and away went the sisters to it. Cinderella could not help crying after they had left.
“Why are crying, Cinderella?” a voice asked. She looked up and saw her fairy godmother standing beside her, “because I want so much to go to the ball” said Cinderella. “Well” said the godmother,”you’ve been such a cheerful, hardworking, uncomplaining girl that I am going to see that you do go to the ball”.
Magically, the fairy godmother changed a pumpkin into a fine coach and mice into a coachman and two footmen. Her godmother tapped Cinderella’s raged dress with her wand, and it became a beautiful ball gown. Then she gave her a pair of pretty glass slippers. “Now, Cinderella”, she said; “You must leave before midnight”. Then away she drove in her beautiful coach.
Cinderella was having a wonderfully good time. She danced again and again with the king’s son. Suddenly the clock began to strike twelve, she ran toward the door as quickly as she could. In her hurry, one of her glass slipper was left behind.
A few days later, the king’ son proclaimed that he would marry the girl whose feet fitted the glass slipper. Her step sisters tried on the slipper but it was too small for them, no matter how hard they squeezed their toes into it. In the end, the king’s page let Cinderella try on the slipper. She stuck out her foot and the page slipped the slipper on. It fitted perfectly.
Finally, she was driven to the palace. The king’s son was overjoyed to see her again. They were married and live happily ever after.
Notes on Generic Structure
Orientation: They were Cinderella her self as the main character of the story, her step mother which treated Cinderella badly, and her steps sister which supported her mother to make Cinderella was treated very badly. Cinderella was introduced as a hero in this story. She struggled against the bad treatment from her step mother and sisters.
Complication: In this Cinderella story, we can see clearly that there are Major Complication and Minor Complication.
The second paragraph is the major complication of this Cinderella story. Cinderella got bad treatment from her stepmother. It is the bad crisis which drives into several minor complications which Cinderella has to overcome.
Resolution: Like complication, there are Major Resolution and Minor Resolution.
In the last paragraph, it is said that finally Cinderella lived happily. It is the happy resolution of the bad treatment.
E. The Smartest Animal.
Once there was a farmer from Laos. Every morning and every evening, he ploughed his field with his buffalo.
One day, a tiger saw the farmer and his buffalo working in the field. The tiger was very surprised to see a big animal listening to a small animal. The tiger wanted to know more about the big animal and the small animal.
After the man went home, the tiger spoke to the buffalo; “you are so big and strong. Why do you do everything the man tells you?” The buffalo answered; “oh, the man is very intelligent”.
The tiger asked; “can you tell me how intelligent he is?”. “No, I can’t tell you”, said the buffalo; “but you can ask him”
So the next day the tiger asked to the man; “Can I see your intelligence?”. But the man answered; “it at home”. “Can you go and get it?” asked the tiger. “Yes” said the man; “but I am afraid you will kill my buffalo when I am gone. Can I tie you to a tree?”
After the man tied the tiger to the tree, he didn’t go home to get his intelligence. He took his plough and hit the tiger. Then he said; “Now you know about my intelligence even you haven’t seen it.
Generic Structure Analysis
1. Orientation; introducing specific participants; farmer and his buffalo, once in Laos
2. Complication; revealing a series of crisis: the tiger wanted to know more about the farmer and the buffalo, the tiger wanted to know about the farmer’s intelligence.
3. Resolution; the crisis is resolve: the farmer hit the tiger
Language Feature Analysis
• Using saying verb; answered
• Using thinking verb; saw, was surprised to
• Using action verb; tie, hit
• Using time conjunction; once, one day
• Using connectives; after, the next day
• Using past tense; there was a farmer, the man tied the tiger.
A. Between Recount and Narrative
Something which happened in the past is the main resource to compose both recount and narrative text. In writer's point of view, the thing is an experience. It can be what the writer has done, hear, read, and felt. Composing recount and narrative is retelling the experiences of the past event to be a present event.
What does recount differ from narrative?
The easiest way to catch the difference is analyzing the generic structure. Recount text presents the past experiences in order of time or place; what happened on Sunday, then on Monday, the on Tuesday. In simple way, recount describes series of events in detail. It does not expose the struggle on how to make them happen. The event happened smoothly. On the other hand, narrative introduces crises and how to solve them. Narrative text always appear as a hard potrait of participant's past experience. It reveals the conflict among the participants. Cinderella's conflicts with her step mother and sister are the example. The conflict is the most important element in a narrative text. Narrative without comflicts is not narrative any more.
Purpose: To amuse/entertain the readers and to tell a story
Dominant Language Features:
1. Using Past Tense
2. Using action verb
3. Chronologically arranged