Narrative Structures


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Narrative Structures

  1. 1. • This is a narrative which doesn’t answer the questions at the end and leaves some questions unanswered for example. For example Supersize me doesn’t answer the question as to what will happen to McDonalds in the future
  2. 2. • This is a narrative which answers most questions. Again Supersize me can be used as an example here as although it doesn’t answer the questions regarding the future of Mcdonalds it does provide us with answers regarding the results of his ‘30 day McDonald binge’ as we see the results at the end. So it could be said his personal journey within the documentary is left closed but the rest is left unanswered and open.
  3. 3. • Has one main plot line for example in films.
  4. 4. • Has more than one plot line a good example of this is Soaps such as Eastenders and Emmerdale.
  5. 5. • Has several follow up episodes not just one for example documentary programmes such as Panorama are seen as a series as they have more than one episode.
  6. 6. • This is where the event’s in the film/documentary appear in the same chronological order as they would in real life
  7. 7. • This is where they are not in the order of real life events and in this case things such as flashbacks and flash forwards would be used.
  8. 8. • This is a director who wants to convince you that you are watching real life events, just like in Supersize Me.
  9. 9. • This is where the director wants you to know that this is a documentary. Non realists will tend to use the reflexive mode, in order to convey the fake set up. (Show use of camera etc)
  10. 10. • Beginning, Middle, End• Problem, Quest, Solution Above are the usual (basic) components in which make up a narrative structure as you can see we start with a problem at the beginning a quest in order to solve the problem is then under taken in order to resolve the problem during the middle and usually a solution to the problem as a result of the quest is found at the end.
  11. 11. Tzvetan Todorov is a Bulgarian philosopher. He outlined a simple theory on how the fictional world is made up.• It starts off with the Equilibrium(Normality)• The Equilibrium then suffers from disruption (Disequilibrium) from an opposing force• Unifying force – This is where a quest is usually undertaken to restore the equilibrium.• Resolution – This is where Restoration of the equilibrium is returned.
  12. 12. • The equilibrium is the generation he grew up in, When eating out much was rare and home cooking was more popular.• The opposing force is McDonalds• The Unifying Force is Himself and his team he has hired to help (dieticians, girlfriend etc) as they try to defeat McDonalds.• Resolution- Unfortunately for Spurlock the restoration of the Equilibrium doesn’t happen as McDonalds remain
  13. 13. • It starts off with a group of friends taking a trip for a stag do to Las Vegas as one of them is due to get married. (Equilibrium)• This is then disrupted as they loose one of their friends while in Las Vegas• The quest is then taken on as they try to find their friend so they can return home in time for the wedding• Resolution/Restoration – The Equilibrium is restored when they find their friend and are able to make it back home in time for the wedding.
  14. 14. Vladimir Propp, was essentially interested in the narrative of folk tales and noticed they were similar in many areas. He felt they had the same basic struggles and they appeared to have stock characters. He identified a theory about characters and actions as narrative functions. As according to Propp they have a narrative function which provide a structure for text• The Villain – who opposes or actively blocks the hero’s quest• The Donor – who provides an object with magical properties• The Dispatcher – who sends the hero on his/her quest via a message• The False Hero – who disrupts the hero’s success by making false claims• The Helper – who aids the hero• The Princess – acts as the reward for the hero and the object of the villain’s plots• Her Father – who acts to reward the hero for his effort
  15. 15. • Hero – Morgan Spurlock• Villain – Mcdonalds• Helper – Dietician and Doctors• Princess – His Girlfriend• Princess’s Father – initially it would be seen as his Girlfriends father as she is the princess although he is not shown in the documentary so this one doesn’t apply.• Dispatcher – Girlfriend• False Hero – Certain food industries within the documentary. For example the man who states ‘we are part of the problem’ (who we think possibly lost his job after stating that)• Donor – Dietcian and Doctors
  16. 16. • Villain – The Agents• Donor – Morpheus• Helper – Trinity• Princess – Trinity• Dispatcher – Morpheus• Hero – Neo• False hero - Cypher
  17. 17. • Claude Levi Strauss Came up with the following theory on narrative:-• Binary oppositions- This is where characters/themes within a film are in direct opposition from one another i.e. Hero vs. Villain and Good Vs Evil for example as seen in films such as ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘Hostage’. He believed that the human brain is programmed to see the world in terms of such oppositions and this is reflected in narrative.
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