Completing a narrative essay can be a challenge for both experienced writers and beginners. Writers often fall into the trap of tying the story too neatly and telling readers what to get out of their story, rather than letting the reader draw his or her own conclusions. Study a few essays by some great writers and see how they finish their stories. Often the end of their story is ambiguous; the reader is not sure how it will turn out. The reader should have a sense of closure without being told how or what to feel.
In this article we will explain how to end a narrative essay including how to end a short narrative essay with a different conclusions.
Have you ever heard the expression "pointing, not saying"? Pointing out an image gives the reader a graph, an effective way to draw a conclusion without saying too much. You can find the best essay writers here EssayWritingService. Showing a picture prevents you from expressing your feelings, which is what you want to avoid in most cases. In the essay "Buckeye" Scott Russell Sanders uses the image of a grazing deer to complete his story:
...a few feet from a grazing deer, close enough to see the soft lips, the opening nostrils, the clear, unfathomable eyes.
This lyrical conclusion comes from the "bath", as writer Kathryn Winograd shows in the last moments of her bath:
The wind sings like a siren through the window and the steam floats on my skin like milk.
Show yourself in action. Move it. Do something, anything, so you don't tell the reader how happy, sad or hopeful you are in the end. Look at something and go like Edward Hoagland in The Courage of the Turtle:
But since all I could do was chase him, I left.
Or I look at something and I'm like hypnotized. A chapter from Frank Conroy's classic memoir "Stop Time", "Yo-Yo Going Down, a Mad Squirrel Coming Up", shows a young Conroy looking at a girl through a window:
That same night, hidden in the green under the window, he looked at a naked girl whose long red hair had fallen out.
It can be difficult to conclude a dialogue, but it can work if you avoid a message or a morality. You will only want to use this closing technique if it is maintained in the story; you probably won't want to insert a spoken word if you haven't heard anyone speak until then.
David Sedaris ends his "Cyclops" essay with the voice of his father, who is the protagonist of this essay:
"I don't know where you got this from, but it will kill you eventually."
The next short answer, from "The Fourth State of Matter" by Jo Ann Beard, shows a photo, followed by an uncited dialogue. Beard used in italics instead:
Around my neck is the stone he brought me from Poland. I make him wait. Just like that? I'm asking you. Chips of fly wings, hung in amber. Exactly, that's what it says.
Another example of Scott Russell Sanders, this one from Cloud Crossing, how his grandson talks:
"Moon," he whistles in the back seat, "Moon, moon!"
Well used, reflection is an excellent way to convey feelings without telling the reader how you feel - or how you should feel. Reflection allows the author to reflect on what is happening or has happened. Reflection can include thoughts about the moment or thoughts returning to the experience. Reflection can provide clarity because we see how the author reflects through the experience. This last moment is taken from James Baldwin's "Notes from a Native Son":
...I wish he had been by my side, so I could have looked into his face for the answers the future would give me now.
In his short essay "Brothers," Bret Lott reflects on his family's childhood memories and brings them with his two children to the present:
This is what I believe: That peg was the entrance to our childhood; my arm around it, our smile, is proof that we both came out of it alive, but not unharmed. And these are my own two boys who have already embarked.
When writing your own conclusion, think about what you want your readers to take away from your story. Then think about the best way to show it. You can rarely go wrong with the images. Dialogue is a good way to let a character have the last word. Ending with reflection, sharing thoughts or feelings, works if you have to say more. Think about the feeling, the emotion or the question you want to leave your readers, and then choose the type of conclusion that best fits the story. It's not unusual to write the conclusion first, and it often serves as a roadmap to get the story where it needs to go. If you take the time to carefully develop a conclusion, it can affect or destroy your story.