A retrospective narrative is when the story being told is not happening at the time the narrator is describing it. The events happened in the past. Retrospective narratives highlight changes in the narrator because of and since the events of the story transpired.
Retrospective Narration in "The Black Cat"
In Edgar Allen Poe's short story "The Black Cat," a retrospective narrator explains why he committed murder. The reader is reliant on the narrator's perspective as he rationalizes his actions and tries to shirk responsibility.
Retrospective Narration in A Separate Peace
In A Separate Peace by John Knowles, an adult narrator tells the story of his time in boarding school. The narrator tells the story with an adult's perspective and knowledge, shaping the retrospective narration.