Sunday, 7 July 2013

Narrative vs. Recount Text

I once asked my students, "What is the difference between narrative text and recount text?" The answer they gave implied that recount is from personal experience, while narrative is a fiction. Then, I conclude that such answer of theirs must be based on their learning experience where in studying language, especially about narrative writing, they are often exposed with some narrative titles like Malin Kundang, Cinderella, Snow White, and so on which tend to be fiction; or titles like My Vacation, or My Holiday when on recount text. However, the conclusion they made is rather missed.

That both are story and telling the past event are true, but what make them differ is not on the basis of the truth of the event. For example, if a detective has a true story or real experience in solving a case and then the story is developed into a writing, then, it can be a narrative story although it comes from a personal experience.

The basic principle related to genres of narrative writing (whether it is narrative, recount, spoof, or anecdote) is all about style, parts of writing, and plot, not be based on the truth of event.

Flat and Pointed Surfaces
'Flat' and 'pointed' surfaces are used to illustrate the plot of story between recount and narrative text. Recount is a flat story which tells series of events and closed with summarizing. Narrative text also contains of some series of events, but each series has its degree which can be increasing or calming down. What I mean by 'degrees' in narrative text is mentioned as some parts in the text (orientation, complication, resolution, and code). If such parts are then described in a curve, then orientation is illustrated by a flat line, compilation by ascending line, resolution by descending line, and coda by flat line. Recount text, however, does not have such kind of curve. It may contain with, for example, "On Sunday, I went hiking with my friends", "We went by a 4x4 vehicle", "Then, we did this, we did that", and so on.  It is just flat.

Writing Styles
It is about the intelligence of writer which can compose a text into narrative or recount. A detective story which  should be alarming can be flat and may tend to be recount text if it is delivered in a flat way. On the other hand, a personal experience can be a great narrative text if it is arranged and touched with languages which can lead or drive readers' emotion.

Read Narrative vs. Recount Text in Bahasa Indonesia, or see identical article Descriptive Text vs. Report Text.


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