What is a Narrative Thesis?

A narrative thesis is a thesis statement for a narrative essay or a narrative section of a larger written work or speech. This can be a clearly stated thesis statement or a thesis statement that is implied or unstated. However, it is usually the driving force behind a narrative work and the ultimate lesson learned or purpose of the narrative in either case. A narrative thesis can be linked to the thesis of a larger work, or it can be the thesis statement for the entire essay or speech.

Narrative essays, or narrative sections of other types of essays, are made up of events that are connected in a meaningful way to create a dramatic story. This is similar to storytelling, but the main difference is that a narrative essay has a narrative thesis that serves as the story’s driving purpose. For example, someone could simply recount a time when he or she enjoyed playing baseball during the summer. When told as a narrative essay, this story would have an underlying narrative thesis, such as how baseball taught me the value of practice and hard work for personal development.

The narrative thesis can be stated explicitly or inferred from the rest of the story. Many narrative essays use the latter type of thesis statement because a lengthy explanation of a thesis can make a narrative appear heavy-handed or as if it’s “talking down” to the audience. A narrative can also be a part of a larger work, such as an argumentative essay that includes a brief narrative section. In this case, the narrative thesis will most likely be the same as the thesis for the argumentative essay, and it may not be necessary to state it within the narrative.

For example, in the preceding example, the writer may be arguing that hard work and practice are effective ways to improve one’s self-esteem. The writer can then tell a personal story about how he or she spent the summer playing baseball and seeing firsthand how much they improved through practice. A narrative thesis would not be required in this case because the narrative section serves to reinforce the overall paper’s thesis. This would be an implied narrative thesis because it would not need to be stated and could be deduced the reader based on the paper’s overall message and the narrative’s purpose.