Writing a narrative essay

Created by Besma Allagui

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My Mother's China CupsA. Read the narrative essay. Then answer the questions


My Mother's China CupsWhen I think about my mother, one thing I remember is her collection of china cups and saucers. She had collected them throughout her life, and they were very important to her. They were displayed on shelves in our kitchen. Some of them were quite old; some she had gotten from faraway places. And each one had a special memory for her.
From a very young age, I always wanted to take down those beautiful cups and wash them. It was my chance to see them up close. My mother never really wanted to let me do it. She knew the cups were fragile and I could easily break them. But sometimes I begged until she let me take them down and clean them.


My earliest memory of this was when I was five. I pulled a chair near the kitchen table and took down the small cups. I started with my favorites: the very old blue and white one that had belonged to my great-grandmother and the one from Japan with exotic buildings on it. I moved them all, one by one, to the kitchen counter. After I had put them on the counter, I moved my chair to the sink, filled the sink with soapy water, and began to wash the tiny cups. I had only washed a few when the beautiful blue and white cup slipped from my small hands and fell back into the sink. The handle broke off. My mother's special cup was ruined, and I was sure she would be angry. I cried and waited for quite a while before I could find the courage to tell her. My mother, who was probably upset, only smiled and said we would glue it back together. I happily finished washing the precious cups. When I had cleaned and dried them all, we carefully placed them back on the shelves. Then, my mother glued the handle back on the broken cup before we set it back in its place, too.


I washed those cups many times as a child, and almost every time, I broke one. By the time I was grown, several showed the signs of my efforts. I am an adult now and my mother is gone, but I will always remember that she cared more about encouraging me than about her valuable cups. Now, as a mother myself, I understand the patience it took to allow me to handle her precious things. I try to demonstrate that same level of caring to my own children.


Answer the following questions:1. Who are the people in the narrative?
2. Where does the action take place?
3. When does the action take place?
4. What did the writer learn from the experience?


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