Conclusion/Resolution: Providing Closure for the Narrative, a Conclusion to the Argument
Consider the following questions as you develop the conclusion to your narrative.
How was the conflict resolved, or to what extent?
How can you illustrate relief from or resolution of the tension caused by the conflict?
Why might the reader believe this conflict will or will not pose a problem in the future?
What story-telling tools will I need to tell my story?
The questions above have helped you to generate the content of your essay and focus its
meaning. Now it is time to tell the story. Two important story-telling tools are (1) concrete and
figurative word choice and (2) verb tense.
Concrete and Figurative Word Choice
By including sensory details and figurative language, you can help your reader appreciate your
experience and understand your thoughts and actions. Sometimes stories are so detailed that
readers are carried along to the conclusion without any explicit statement of the main argument:
in such cases the details have been powerful enough to imply the main argument. Please refer to
our “Concrete Language” Homegrown Handout for more information (available at
Verb Tenses in a Narrative Essay
Storytelling engages readers in reading actions as they develop through time. Telling time is
critical in reading a story. To discern which verb tense or tenses to use in your narrative, please
reference our “Verb Tenses: Telling Time” Homegrown Handout (available at
Activity: Analyzing a Personal Narrative Essay
Read the introduction, climax, and conclusion of Langston Hughes’ “Salvation”—a chapter from
his autobiography, The Big Sea—and answer the questions that correspond to each excerpt.
I was saved from sin when I was going on thirteen. But not really saved. It happened like this.
There was a big revival at my Auntie Reed's church. Every night for weeks there had been
much preaching, singing, praying, and shouting, and some very hardened sinners had been
brought to Christ, and the membership of the church had grown by leaps and bounds. Then just
before the revival ended, they held a special meeting for children, "to bring the young lambs to
the fold." My aunt spoke of it for days ahead. That night I was escorted to the front row and
placed on the mourners' bench with all the other young sinners, who had not yet been brought
What is the event Hughes shares?
Where did this event take place?
When did this event occur?
Personal Narrative Essays, Spring 2015.
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