Narratives construct a pattern of events with a problematic and/or unexpected outcome that entertains and instructs the reader or listener. Narratives entertain because they deal with the unusual and unexpected development of events. They instruct because they teach readers and listeners that problems should be confronted, and attempts made to resolve them. Narratives incorporate patterns of behaviour that are generally highly valued.
Narratives are usually organised to include:
- Orientation — this stage ‘alerts’ the listener and/or reader to what is to follow, usually by introducing the main character/s in a setting of time and place.
- Complication — in this stage a sequence of events, which may begin in a usual pattern, is disrupted or changed in some way so that the pattern of events becomes a problem for one or more of the characters, eg a visit to a deserted house becomes a serious problem for the narrator when he finds himself locked in a house where there is no handle to the door. The events are evaluated by the character/s, thus making it clear to the reader/listener that a crisis has developed, eg ‘I was terrified when the door slammed shut. How was I going to get out? There was no handle on the inside and nobody knew where I was. My heart was racing and I felt sick with fear as I banged on the door’.
- Resolution — the problems of the complication are resolved or attempted to be resolved in the resolution. A pattern of normalcy is restored to the events, but the main character/s has changed as a consequence of the experience.
- Coda — this stage is optional. It makes explicit how the character/s has changed and what has been learned from the experience.
Common grammatical features of narrative texts include:
- use of particular nouns to refer to or describe the particular people, animals and things that the story is about;
- use of adjectives to build noun groups to describe the people, animals or things in the story;
- use of time connectives and conjunctions to sequence events through time;
- use of adverbs and adverbial phrases to locate the particular incidents or events;
- use of past tense action verbs to indicate the actions in a narrative;
- use of saying and thinking verbs to indicate what characters are feeling, thinking or saying.
- Use direct and indirect speech
- Use pronoun to track subject
- Use complex verbal groups, for example started to live, started making
THE EXAMPLE OF NARRATIVE TEXT
Orientation includes setting and introduces main character
Once upon a time there were an old man and old woman lived in a small village in Russia. They didn’t have any children and they were very sad about that.
One New Year’s Eve they decided to make a daughter from snow. The girl was beautiful and she looked alive. The old man and the old woman dressed her in a dress and then they returned home to sleep. The next morning they heard a knock at the door. The old man opened the door and saw a girl. ’Who are you?’ asked the old man. “I’m your daughter Snow Maiden’, answered the girl.
The old man and the old woman were very happy and they all started to live together. Snow Maiden helped her parents do everything but she couldn’t go near the stove or she would melt. All the other children in the village loved Snow Maiden because she was very kind.
The spring came. All the children wee happy and they sang, danced and played. They made a fire and began to jump over it. But only Snow Maiden didn’t jump. She was afraid of fire, but the children shouted to her, ”Jump! Jump!” and as she jumped she became a cloud. The other children started to cry but the old woman said to them, ”Don’t cry when winter comes, Snow Maiden will return.”
From that moment every winter children started making girls from snow and waiting for them to come alive.
So if you want something very much, just wish for it. Perhaps your wish will come true.
Read the text carefully to answer the questions.
THE WEIRD HAUNTED HOUSE
A long time ago, in 1955 in Canada, there was a haunted house. In it lived a fat ghost. The ghost would scare away whoever went into the huge, haunted house.
Down the road live two boys. The oldest boy’s name was Jim. He was a tall, thin, serious boy aged 15, with hairy arms and legs. He loved going on outings. The other boy’s name was Arnold. He was a small, fat, funny boy aged 13. When I say funny I mean this person laughs a lot and tells jokes.
One day Jim asked Arnold if he wanted to go to the haunted house. Arnold said, ’You’re joking.’ But Jim wasn’t because he was a serious boy. Arnold said, ’All right.’ So they went up to the road. It was weird because where the boys lived it was sunny, but when they were in the front yard of the haunted house it was raining and dark.
Jim and Arnold heard a woman’s scream. Arnold was terrified and ran to the gate but the gate didn’t open. Arnold said, ”There is someone trying to scare us off but she or he wants us to get out of the hard way.” Jim said, ”Let’s go, we can’t stand here all day dong nothing.” Jim knocked on the door. It opened by itself. Arnold thought it was a ghost that opened the door so he pretended he had a machine gun, but Jim said it was already open.
They went in and heard an organ playing in the music room. The boys knew that it was playing by itself so they didn’t go into the music rooms. They went upstairs instead. They went into a bedroom. In the bedroom they found a dead body moving around, ”It was a ghost moving the woman around, ’said Jim.
Arnold and Jim were so frightened that they went quickly down the stairs, out of the haunted house and climbed over the gate and ran home. Jim said, ’Do you want to go back to the haunted house?” Arnold said, ”You mean it?” and Jim said, ”Only kidding.” Arnold was happy because Jim for once didn’t mean what he said.
Today the boys wonder if the ghost still kills people.
- The passage is about …
(A) why the house is called haunted house
(B) how the haunted house built
(C) how Jim and Arnold built the house
(D) Jim and Arnold’s adventure to the haunted house
(E) the ghost in the haunted house
2. The word “haunted house” means …
(A) The house that is visited by ghosts regularly
(B) The house that produces ghosts
(C) A beautiful house
(D) The house that is visited by many people
(E) The house that is none there
3. What is the type of the text?
4. What is the communicative purpose of the text?
(A) to describe the house
(B) to tell the factual information of the house
(C) to share an amusing story to the reader
(D) to present the history of haunted house
(E) to tell the reader about the haunted house
5. Who are the main characters?
(A) Jim and the dead body
(B) Arnold and Jim
(C) Arnold and the ghosts
(D) Jim and the woman
(E) The ghosts and the woman
6. Where and when did the story happen?
(A) in Canada in 1995
(B) in Canada in 1855
(C) in Canada in 1755
(D) in Canada in 1985
(E) in Canada in 1955
7. A long time ago in 1955 in Canada there was a haunted house …(par.1). This paragraph is called …
8. How does the complication start?
(A) The days is getting dark and rainy
(B) Jim asked Arnold to go to the haunted house
(C) Jim and Arnold heard the woman’s scream
(D) Jim and Arnold heard an organ playing in the music room
(E) Jim and Arnold were frightened and went down stairs
9. Arnold and Jim were so frightened that they went quickly down the stairs … (par.6). This part of the text is called …
10. Today the boys wonder if the ghost still kills people (last paragraph). This paragraph is called …
11. Which of the following chain words which build the topic information?
(A) joke, funny, haunted
(B) haunted, ghost, scare
(C) small, huge, haunted
(D) house, funny, fat
(E) happy, frightened, house
12. The word ‘weird’ can be replaced by …
13. The following statements make Jim and Arnold feel scary except …
(A) a woman’s scream
(B) the door opened by itself
(C) dead body moving around
(D) the organ was played by itself
(E) it was raining and dark
14. Which of the following sentences use reported speech?
(A) There was a haunted house in Canada in 1955
(B) One day Jim asked Arnold if he wanted to go to the haunted house.
(C) The boys knew that it was playing by itself.
(D) Jim knocked on the door.
(E) Arnold was terrified and ran into the gate.
15. Which of the following sentences use passive voice?
(A) The organ was played by someone.
(B) Jim said it was already open.
(C) Arnold and Jim were so frightened that they went quickly.
(D) Jim knocked on the door.
(E) Arnold thought it was a ghost that opened the door