Narrative theory

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Narrative theory

  1. 1. NARRATIVEMedia StudiesMedia Studies
  2. 2.  “Narrative is a way of organising spatialand temporal data into a cause and effectchain of events with a beginning, middleand end that embodies a judgement aboutthe nature of the events as well asdemonstrates how it is possible to know,and hence to narrate, the events. “Brannigan E. Narrative Comprehension and Film
  3. 3. Features of NarrativeStructure• Aristotle’s beginning, middle and end.• Todorov’s equilibrium>disequilibrium>re-equilibrium• Propp’s “functions”2. Temporal order, temporal duration,temporal frequency3. Story and Plot• Explicitly presented actions/events• Implicitly inferred actions/events• Non diegetic material (captions/titles, drama enhancing musicetc.)
  4. 4. Other Features1. Constructional Devices Cinematography Mise- en- scene Editing Sound2. Genre AssociationsGenre Codes (e.g. Iconography)Genre Conventions3. Narrative CodesLevi Straus’s Binary OppositionsCharacter PsychologySemiotic Analysis
  5. 5. Todorov Initial Situation (Equilibrium) Disruption (Non equilibrium) Restoration (Re Equilibrium)‘The Shining’
  6. 6. Propp 1928 Based upon the Russian Folktale 1928 Types of Characters, Specific Forms ofAction, function in the Narrative. Thirty One Functions identified.
  7. 7. Specific research on narrative• Vladimir Propp• Russian Formalist in the 1930s• He identified seven archetypalcharacters..
  8. 8. Propp’s character archetypes The Villain The Donor/giver of knowledge The Helper The Princess (sought after person) The Dispatcher The Hero (or victim) The False Hero
  9. 9. Propp’s character archetypes The Villain Darth Vader The Donor Obi Won Kenobe The Helper Han Solo The Princess Princess Leah The Dispatcher R2 - D2 The Hero Luke Skywalker The False Hero Darth Vader (Luke’s dad)
  10. 10. Definitions from Bordwell andThompson (1991) Plot: What we see on screen. Includes extra-narrative things. Story: all that we know about the narrativeincluding seen and unseen. Cause and effect: Cause and effect. Causescan come from a character.
  11. 11. Levi Strauss Binary Opposites• Protagonist/Antagonist• Action /Inaction• Good looking / Ugly• Witty / Humourless
  12. 12. Barthes Audience Decodes• Enigma Code (sets up a question to be answeredlater)• Action Code - understood by cross reference toother narratives in our culture• Semic Code (How characters, actions ,events,settings etc. take on meaning within a culture.• Symbolic Code - Binary Oppositions orPsychological symbols• Cultural Codes - understood through our interactionwith the wider world.

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