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  • Vanita Pal

Features of a narrative and expository essay for Secondary 2 syllabus

Writing for the secondary 2 syllabus requires you to be organisationally sharp and meticulous in your facts.

There are 2 types of genres I would like to draw your attention to:

1. Narrative

2. Expository

Approach to a narrative topic

Most narrative topics dwell on self development where you are expected to write about a learning journey. There should be some introspective views and you will be asked to write subjectively.

If that is not really your cup of tea, opt for expository topics instead. This is where you should write in PEEL format. All you need are just 4 main points for the topic to be established. Your evidence and elaboration will be based on the point which will basically be about the key words in the question.

Actually for students who are weak in their vocabulary, expository topics will be the best bet for you. You may just get by without having to impress with a creative plot development or character synopsis.

All you need are facts.

Discussion of narrative type of writing

You will need to organise your essay into introduction followed by 3 paragraphs which relate to the question. The last paragraph should be the conclusion

Next, you will have to write sharply, with a main point for each paragraph.

How do you do this? You will need to weave your plot around the background and difficulty, this should lead to the breaking point and finally it should point in the direction of personal growth at the end.

1. Background and difficulty

This is where you need to be careful. Just stick to the elements in the protagonist’s background. Always tease the reader with just a bit of the problems which will emerge. And this should be clear.

2. Breaking point

This is the point where the difficulty is at full throttle. Everything is going the wrong way and it should look as if You or the Protagonist has no control. Ok, this may also be called the climax.

Make sure that you are not over-dramatic. That always detracts from ‘what you are trying to say.’

Be sure to write clearly and also use creative words to flesh out the protagonist’s subjective train of thought.

3. Personal growth at the end

This is where the learning curve is explained. There should be a moral or a sense of a lesson learnt.

Make sure that you link back to the question when you do this as you do not want to leave any loose ends.

Approach to an Expository Topic

Expository topics are the easiest to handle as they do not require an opposite point of view or rebuttal.

Always ensure that you have a rough idea about the demands of the question before you begin.

When you assess the question, you should:

1. Ascertain if the key words are familiar

2. Do you have any world or local events/ activities which correspond to the question?

3. Can you draw on personal observations for anecdotes?

Only choose the question if you are comfortable with all 3.

Many expository topics today are based on lifestyle choices and behaviour. For instance, a question about people who like shopping is a popular question. Question: Why do people feel the need to shop and how is this a popular past time?

Ok. This question is asking you to write on 2 factors.

Why people shop and if it is a popular past time.

All you have to do is Organise.

1. Think of 3 reasons why people feel the need to shop. Then state how this is certainly popular.

2. Make sure that each reason and your conclusion that it is popular is clearly written with examples and is separated into 3 paragraphs.

3. In the conclusion, you should write about how this is a very popular current pastime. Always bring the essay up to date at the end.

What is most important in an Expository essay?

The most important factor is to impress with your knowledge of general affairs. Always maintain a confidence in your writing. Make sure that you have the correct examples to support your point.

If a point is that:

People like shopping as a past time as it offers them an escapism from stress. The ambience at shopping malls is very inviting.

This point creates interest especially with the word ‘escapism.’ Always write your points in a well-informed and creative way. Aim to create interest. The same point could have been written like this.

People like shopping as it is a popular past time.

This has almost the same meaning as the earlier point but it is a cliché . Please reduce boredom in your writing by eliminating clichés like this.

I will be writing another blog about clichés and how to avoid it. But that is for another day.

In the meanwhile, please start using the tips I have given you. Start writing the points in the way I have mentioned earlier and you will notice how easily your essay will fall into place. Always aim for a perfectly organised essay and you will be able to maintain a high standard of writing.


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