Personal Narratives Have Deep Origins In Ancient History.

Decent Essays
Personal narratives have deep origins in ancient history. Narratives and personal essays were used by ancient writers and philosophers like Cicero, Seneca, and Plutarch to reflect on their individual experiences. The actual idea of the personal essay was named and perfected by late 16th century writer Michel de Montaigne, who attempted, or essayed, to describe his experiences in the context of the world around him. He claimed that “the subject of my work is me.” In other words, the purpose of the personal essay or narrative is to incorporate self-experiences in informal reflections about the world. In the modern age, the focus of art, literature, and philosophy shifted towards the individual and the importance of self, the emotions, and…show more content…
In the account, Dillard recalls a memory from her youth of the events of one winter day. Young Dillard and her friends were throwing snowballs at passing cars. One car owner actually got out of his car and chased Dillard and her friends through their neighborhood, before finally catching and then letting them go. Dillard uses a personal experience from her youth to impart the lesson that one must “fling themselves” at something in order to get it. While Annie Dillard’s “The Chase” recalls a childhood memory, George Orwell’s “Shooting an Elephant” refers to Orwell’s experience from his adult life. At the time of the narrative, Orwell was a sub-divisional police officer in Burma. He is faced with the choice of shooting an elephant that had gone rogue to gain the respect of the natives or letting the elephant be and returning it to its holder. Orwell chooses to shoot the elephant in order to appease the natives. In his narrative, Orwell explores the idea of power through his own experience as an adult. In personal narratives, authors typically use description to make the story more relatable and engaging to the audience. This is done, in part, by sensory details. Sensory details enable the author to recreate their personal experience for the reader. In addition, the descriptions help the reader better relate to the author. Sensory details also enable understanding, as understanding can be a
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