A Well-Told Story

A Well-Told Story

To construct an action sequence in writing, Dillard combines two narrating strate- gies: specific narrative actions and prepositional phrases. Specific narrative actions show people moving and gesturing through the use of

action verbs (for example, “He ran after us, and we ran away from him. . . . we were running for our lives” in paragraph 10), and

modifying phrases that use the -ing form of the verb as a modifier (for example, “Every time I glanced back, choking for breath” in paragraph 13).

Prepositional phrases tell us where the action is taking place. When combined with specific narrative actions, prepositional phrases enable Dillard to create continu- ing movement through space. To see how she does this, look at the first sentence in paragraph 12 with the prepositional phrases highlighted:

He chased Mikey and me around the yellow house and up a backyard path we knew by heart: under a low tree, up a bank, through a hedge, down some snowy steps, and across the grocery store’s delivery driveway.

To analyze how Dillard uses specific narrative actions with prepositional phrases, do the following:

Reread paragraphs 11–13, and find three other examples of specific narrative actions combined with prepositional phrases.

Write a sentence about how well you think these narrating strategies work in the essay. What effect do they have?

Vivid Description of People and Places

Describing — naming objects and detailing their colors, shape, size, textures, and other qualities — is an important writing strategy in remembered event essays. To see




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