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Narrative Essay: Hit With A Bullet - With A Free Essay Review



PROMPT: Using either Narrative or Description and Illustration rhetorical modes write about the worst date you've ever had and what you learned. Make sure you use strong, specific language to make your point clear.

R. Barrera; ENG 52; Prof. N. Lovejoy; 2 August 2012

While driving to school as usual, I am late so I rush to class. My heart is racing like if I just ran a mile. I can hear my heartbeat in my ears. I finally get to class, sit down and do my classwork. My heart rate goes down. Class ends so I decided to head home excited to meet my brother. We had plans to see a movie after class.

Eager to see him, I drive home in the quiet night, so quiet I can hear the cars rushing on freeway close by. Soon enough I was home not imagining that the news I was about to receive would hit me like a bullet. I walked up to my door and I heard voices raised and paper rustling. As I turned my key I wondered what happened. I walked in to see my mom with swollen eyes and my father being so angry he could hit the wall! My heart rate was up to the roof, I was so eager to know but my mind was racing 100 miles an hour. I asked, “Mom, what happened?” My mom could not even speak; she was so nervous, scared, and angry at the same time. She finally calmed down and told me, “they called from your brother’s school and … he was in an accident.” My body temperature dropped and that lump in mom's throat somehow transferred to mine. The many questions I wanted to ask were the ones I couldn't because no one knew. Filled with the same emotions that my parents had to pull me out of my shock and shook me. “We have to get to the hospital!” they yelled.

I was shaking so much I could not start my car, but I got the key in and started the car. I took off! Not thinking that I could get pulled over for speeding, but who would in that situation? I keep getting more and more upset that I could not get there faster. We finally got to the hospital and I soon was overwhelmed with disgust, “I hate hospitals, reminds me of old horrible memories” of course I only said this in my head. But this wasn’t about me it was about my brother. So I focus on trying to find him. We got to reception and the nurse had an attitude that made me question why she got the job she did.

“There is no record of him in this hospital.” If my eyes could have killed she would have been dead. Needless to say I was growing inpatient, because slapping anyone was an assault, I decide to give her a piece of my mind.

“Look, if you don't like your job that’s fine, I don't care, but my brother was in an accident and was looking for him. Maybe you didn't hear me right so I'm going to spell his name out for you; his name is Kelvin K-E-L-V-I-N. Now I'm going to stand here and wait for you to look it up and I'm sure you will find something. And if you don't, I want to talk to your supervising nurse.”

That smirk and attitude soon faded.

“Let me see what I can find, Oh! Would you look at that your brother is on the 3 floor in the ICU. Here are your visitor passes, is there anything else I can help you with?” With a fake smile and forced friendliness she helped me.

I responded with my own thank you, “Thank you” with the same forced friendliness and smile. Does not it seem that when you are in a hurry to see someone certain things take forever? Well, the elevator seemed to never hit the ground, but I knew that I would soon be able to see my brother.

The elevator came and took us to the 3rd floor, the door opened slowly. Showing the nurses running back and forth working like ants. We asked for my brother’s room and the nurse took us to him. I couldn't help it, my eyes started to water, but I knew he couldn't see me like this. So I cleaned up and we walked in. He was asleep, but full of scratches and connected too many machines. My parents couldn't hold it in any longer. They busted into tears upset that they could not help him or even prevent it. I had to be the strong one so I comforted them. Soon enough the doctor walked in and explain to us what finally happened. He saw and knew how anxious and upset we were. You could cut that tension with a knife.

“Well, your son was in a car accident, his teacher was driving him home and he was side-swiped by a car. He has some broken ribs and he lost a lot of blood. But don't worry he is recovering and he will be okay.” I knew that nothing he would say would make my parents and I feel better. We just watched my brother.

The nurse came into check on us and told us the best thing to do was leave. We refused how I could leave my brother alone. But the nurse assured us that he would be asleep all night and he would not know we were not there. I thought differently, he could feel that we were not there, so I stayed in the waiting room. The room was lonely and plain, seemed like it was made to make you feel worse than better. I sat there and told my parents that everything was gonna be okay which I really did not know. When it comes to family you have to be there for one another. So when they were feeling down it was my duty to cheer them up. I told them stories of people who were in the hospital for the same reason and they recovered very fast. Who was I kidding there was an elephant in the room that no one could remove. We all went to sleep and awoke to a great surprise. The doctor called us in to tell us that he was responding to the treatment they were giving him and he would be out in about 3 to 5 day. It was a huge weight off my chest.

“Can we see him?” I asked eagerly. “You can, He just woke up, so go ahead, just don't rattle him up to much we need to keep him stable.” I walked in and he was eating, he looked so colorful and better. He greeted us, “Hey, why did you sleep outside? You should have gone home but I'm glad your here.”

It was then that I learned that even it the worst times family will always be there for each other. I saw the emotion that my parents, my brother, and even myself showed to the danger of loosing each other. The anger because I could not find my brother. My parents sadness because they could not see their son. My brothers happiness when he saw that we were there for him. One thing that I never forget about that day is that family is there for each other in the best times and the worst times.

_______________________________

ESSAY REVIEW

Narratives are usually written in the past tense. It's not unheard of to use the present tense instead, but if you are going to do that, be consistent instead of switching back and forth between tenses.

I don't really like the first paragraph because there's a good deal of excitement going on, with your heartbeat in your ears and all, with no explanation of the excitement beyond the fact that you are late for class, which seems like a rather banal occurrence. The paragraph also relates some mundane facts about your day which seem unnecessary: you get to class, you sit down, you do your work, class ends. It would be hard for the most generous reader to be interested in these details. That's true in any case unless your point is precisely that the day was ordinary, with nothing in it that would lead you to anticipate the news that you learned (but in that case, why, again, all the excitement in the first paragraph?). Generally, in the essay as a whole, you don't seem to want to distinguish between relatively meaningful and relatively uninteresting details. When you wait for the elevator, perhaps it's worthwhile to mention that it took a long time to arrive, but why bother mentioning that it did eventually arrive, since that would seem to go without saying.

The tone and some of the language seems a bit exaggerated to me; the emotions and physiological effects seems extreme. (The first sentence of the third paragraph is a good example of exaggeration gone awry; the first half of the sentence tells us you could not start the car; the second half, that you started it. "Reminds me of ... memories" is a good example of vague, non-specific language.) That kind of exaggeration can make your story seem less rather than more compelling, which is why many good writers are experts in the art of understatement. The prompt asks you to use strong, specific language, but strong language doesn't mean exaggerated language. "Swollen eyes" is a bit stronger than "my father being so angry he could hit the wall.” But on first reading those words, I taught the mom had been beaten up by the angry father; at least with the reference to the eyes, however, you are trying to indicate something about the mom by "showing" rather than "telling." An equivalent description of the father might be "I saw my father hit the wall with his fist." (Perhaps this is a true story and that didn't happen, but I don't see why anyone would worry about what's true or not in a technical exercise.) The final thing to note about "strong" language is that it typically excludes cliches. You make your title out of one cliche, and then resort to a few others along the way. Cliches tend to exaggerate meaning or be meaningless. The cliche about tension being cut by a knife seems to be an example of both at the same time.

Finally, you make quite a number of basic language errors that proofreading would help you eliminate. Your teacher may not expect you to produce an error-free document but certainly will not accept mere sloppiness! (Another "finally": The prompt refers to your worst date. I take it your teacher has agreed to your writing about this topic instead.)

Best, EJ.

P.S., We now ask students to submit no more than one essay in a given day.
Submitted by: rbarrrera_3
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