The main difference between recount and narrative lies in their structure. The structure of a recount contains the orientation, series of events and reorientation whereas the structure of a narrative contains the orientation, complication, resolution, and coda.
Recount and narrative are two types of writings that describe a past happening or an event. If the stages or a structure of a narrative text and a recount text are graphed, a narrative text has a pointed surface and a recount text has a flat surface.
Key Areas Covered
What is a Recount
A recount is a text that retells events or experience in the past. It is a record of events. The purpose of a recount can be to inform, entertain, or reflect. Moreover, a recount text can be categorized into three sections as
Orientation – Orientation describes the background of the event that you are retelling. It introduces the setting, characters and time period.
Events – The series of events that happened in the past, in chronological order. This is the core of a recount.
Reorientation – The text ends in reorientation; this can be a summary, evaluative comment or a return to the starting point. This part is actually optional.
A recount can be personal, factual or imaginative.
Personal Recount is a retelling of events that you were personally involved in.
Ex: diary entry, autobiography
Factual recount is reporting the factual information about an incident.
Ex: newspaper article, police report, historical recount
Imaginative recount is combining factual information and an imaginary role.
What is a Narrative
A narrative, as its name suggests, tell us a story. The purpose of a narrative is to entertain readers or listeners. Narratives often contain a moral or a message; thus, it also educates the readers. Furthermore, a narrative can be studied under four main stages.
Orientation gives the background of the story. We introduce the characters, place, and time in the orientation.
Complication is also known as conflict. In this part, the main characters are confronted with a problem. This is where suspense is introduced to the story.
Resolution describes how the characters resolve the problem.
Coda summarizes the narrative and marks the end. However, a coda is not an essential part of a narrative; it is optional.
Difference Between Recount and Narrative
A recount retells an event while a narrative narrates a story.
The purpose of a recount is to inform and entertain while the purpose of a narrative is mainly to entertain.
A recount has a flat surface while a narrative has a pointed surface.
Moreover, a recount does not have any suspense as it is mainly a description while a narrative has elements like suspense and mystery.
A recount does not have a complication or a resolution while a narrative has a complication and a resolution.
The central part of a recount is the sequence of events while the central part of a narrative is the conflict faced by its characters.
A recount describes the events in chronological order while a narrative does not use a specific order.
Recount and narrative are two types of writings that describe a past happening or an event. However, the main difference between recount and narrative lies in their structure. In brief, if we graph the stages or a structure of a narrative text and a recount text, a narrative text has a pointed surface and a recount text has a flat surface.
1. “Genre: Narrative.” Salisbury High School: Writing Resource, Available here.