Assignment 8 : Narrative Theory


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Assignment 8 : Narrative Theory

  1. 1. Assignment 8: Narrative Theory By: Marisha Inoke
  2. 2. PART A : TODOROV
  3. 3. Todorov • Tzvetan Todorov (born March 1, 1939) is a Franco-Bulgarian philosopher. He has lived in France since 1963 and now lives there with his wife Nancy Huston and their two children, writing books and essays about literary theory, thought history and culture theory.
  4. 4. Todorovs narrative theory• Todorov suggested that stories begin with an equilibrium (or normality).• This is disrupted by an event which causes a disequilibrium which then causes other chain of events to occur.• In the end the problem is solved and everything is restored back to its equilibrium.
  5. 5. Todorov suggested that there are 5 stages of narrative (with 3 major parts). THIS ARE THE FIVE STAGES:• Equilibrium (or normality).• Disequilibrium (conflict/disruption of equilibrium by action or event).• Recognition of Disequilibrium (disruption/conflict).• Attempt to repair.- NEW equilibrium.
  6. 6. Equilibrium NEW Disequilibriumequilibrium Todorov’s narrative theory Attempt to Recognitions of repair Disequilibrium
  7. 7. These five stages are familiar to the audience as it is mainly used in mainstream films. An example of a film with these five stages is Harold & Kumar escape from Guantanamo bay.
  8. 8. Equilibrium (or normality)In the beginning of the film everything is atequilibrium and its just introducing the twocharacters (which are best-friends).
  9. 9. Disequilibrium • Then we have the dis- equilibrium/disruption caused by an event that happened on the airplane where the gests misunderstood for using a bomb instead of a bong which he brought onto his flight. • They both get imprisoned on suspicions of terrorism. Then soon after they escape from Guantanamo bay and try to outrun the authorities. Throughout the film they experience one situation after another.
  10. 10. Recognition of disequilibriumHarold & Kumar recognises the dis-equilibrium and that their both in a serioussituation.
  11. 11. Attempt to repair disequilibriumThey both in the end get caught and taken intointerrogation where they are found to becompletely innocent.
  12. 12. Equilibrium is restored (NEW equilibrium) • In the end they are free from imprisonment. Kumar ends up with the groom’s fiancé (his ex-lover) and flies to Amsterdam so that Harold can meet the girl he had previously met in the elevator. • The ending scene is at a new equilibrium and everything is back to normal as it is a happy ending for both characters.
  13. 13. TODOROV TASK 1
  15. 15. LEVI STRAUSS• He believed that our world is described in BINARY OPPOSITES.• When we look at themes within stories they consists of differences, contradictions and conflict or opposites. BINARY OPPOSITES Night day old Young Good Bad Boy Girl Male female
  16. 16. Cont.• Suggests that we are only able to understand good when evil is present. An example of this is mainly in super-hero films where you have a binary opposites like the Hero and the Villain.• Furthermore he believes that opposition offers structure to a text.
  17. 17. Hero Vs. Villain The hero is a handsome male who is muscular. He is also seen as a kind hearted character. Furthermore, The Hero is always stronger and more powerful than the Villain. The villain is the opposition to the Hero and sometimes the same gender. The villain is portrayed as a selfish greedy unattractive character. Unattractive, selfish, weak and powerless.
  18. 18. Cont. • The villain is portrayed as the character who is much more powerful and strong as opposed to the villain. • The colour black is associated with ‘mysterious’ and ‘dark’ as Batman is a mysterious individual. • He also leads a very secretive life as he lives two separate lives.
  19. 19. Problem• The problem with Strauss theory is that it creates a dominant ideology for a Hero and a villain which is incorporated in to the text.• It can create the dangerous norms like the Hero is represented as a white, male, handsome, muscular and a good citizen.• Whereas you have the ethnic minorities represented in a negative stereotype like causing a felony, breaking laws or being a bad citizen.
  20. 20. DRAMA ACTION LEVI STRAUSS TASK 1 HORROR SCI-FI THRILLER Genre: ActionFilm: Opposite 1 Opposite 2 ExplanationSpiderman (2002). (Spiderman is seen as a hero as he saves the helpless girl). Costume presents the character as a Spiderman is presented as a Hero as binary opposite to Spiderman. It is conventional to see the binary he saves the girl as Heros usually do opposites in Action (Super-hero) films in mainstream films, especially in as there has to be a hero and a villain. super-hero films as it is incorporated in them. Furthermore, he is presented Sometimes it can be between the as a kind hearted individual when hero and his sidekick. being The hero is portrayed as an unselfish character as opposed to the villain as he is selfish and just wants POWER for selfishness reasons.
  21. 21. cont.GENRE: ACTION Film: Opposite 1 Opposite 2 Explanation: The binary The Transporter opposites within an action film explicitly shows who is the hero and the villain. The transporter is sympathetic He is a hero as he protects the Portrayed as a villain as he is to the female girl from the villain. It is made dressed in dark clothing and clear which side he is on facial expression suggests that character. during the film as there is he is unwelcoming. binary opposites.
  22. 22. PART C : BARTHES
  23. 23. ROLAND BARTHES • Similar to Todorov’s theory, the audiences experience of narrative involves anticipation and expectation of resolution to disruption/conflict.
  24. 24. Barthes Codes:• Enigma code• Action code• Semantic code• Symbolic code• Cultural code
  25. 25. Barthes - Enigma• Narrative is set up as a puzzle.• Enigma = mystery/puzzle
  26. 26. Enigma code example • An example of an enigma is a trailer for a film.Example: The trailer of Slumdog millionaire the beginning of the trailer it poses a questionfor the audience. The enigma is that will he find his true love.
  27. 27. Barthes - Action Code• Codes of behaviour and actions that lead audience us to expect certain consequences.• Based on other stories/films and their convention.
  28. 28. Action code examplesThriller/Mystery Slasher/Horror RomanceAction: Action: Action: A) A)A)B) B) B)Assumption: Assumption: Assumption:a) The male character is going to get a) The female character is going to get a) Body language and facial bitten by that snake. hooked on to that hook, which kills expression suggests that they are inb) The male character is going to her. love. shoot as it is in his intension as he b) She’s going to get killed. b) Facial expression and gazing into holds in his hand a weapon. each others eyes implying that they are going to kiss.
  29. 29. Barthes Semantic code• Connotative (imply or suggest) meanings of characters, objects and locations.
  30. 30. Colour = BlackPredator Black Swan Spiderman 4Creates The colour black suggests Black can suggest evil beingenigma/mystery/bold/maje ‘modern, seductive, evil, present or taking over.stic. majestic and bold’. The reflection scene in Spiderman 4 is relevant as it connotes a change in character, old vs. new.
  31. 31. Iconography (sci-fi) • Iconographic features have clear connotations and meanings to the audience. Sci-fi = Aliens, Spaceship, Hi-tech futuristic gadgets used in the film. Furthermore, the colour black suggests ‘Modern’. Alien or unknown species. A gadget used.
  32. 32. Barthes – Symbolic code• Symbolic features often signify oppositions and anti-theses Examples of symbolic code within a film like The Mona Lisasmiles as it is set in a time where females where it wasuncommon for a female to stay in education and pursue a career.• It made it explicit that the men where privileged enough to go onto further education as opposed to females.• Females where subjected to doing house cleaning, cooking and taking care of their husbands and family.
  33. 33. Symbolic code examples from Mona Lisa smiles. (females) Cook book for stay at home housewifes that are expected to cook for their family. This is a traditional view of women from a period of time.Apron – suggests that she’s a house-wife. Facial expression suggests that they are both happy. Portray a happy stay Female professor is not a stay-at home housewife and at home house wife does not believe that women should be limited. and husband who is the breadwinner. Strongly believes in education and that it can help women become independent, self-reliance and a dominant character. Women from a certain time period are subjected to being a stay at home housewife who cleans, cook and is submissive to their husband.
  34. 34. Symbolic code examples Mona Lisa smiles (males)The males are successful as they areprivileged to go to university andget a degree, as it is acceptable.Portrayed as quiet successful andwell presented.
  35. 35. Barthes – Cultural code In the modern adaption A male dressing up as a woman Costume were not to represent the of Romeo & Juliet they (Drag queen) was not originally historical period of time that it was use guns as weapons featured in Romeo & Juliet. initially set in. instead of swords. Costume makes it explicit that this is a modern version.Initially the men usedswords to fight their Pool is a more modernenemy. adaption to the scene when Romeo & Juliet meet in the garden.
  36. 36. PART D : PROPP
  37. 37. Vladimir Propp • Studied folklore and fairy tales. • He formed 2 theories, the first one is the 7 distinctive character types called the spheres of action. • The 7 spheres of action are mainly based on historic fairy tales as they include the hero, villain, dispatcher, donor, helper, heroine and false hero.
  38. 38. Propp – 7 spheres of Action1) Hero2) Villain3) Dispatcher4) Donor5) Helper6) Heroine7) False Hero
  39. 39. HERO • An example of a Hero is Katniss from the film ‘The Hunger games’. • She is portrayed as an independent strong female character because she is like a mother to her little sister. • Furthermore, she is also portrayed as a kind hearted hero.
  40. 40. VILLAIN • Opposes the hero. • The villain who usually creates the narrative disruption. • An example of a villain is the Green goblin from the super-hero film ‘Spiderman’. • The Green goblin is portrayed as the villain as in most super-hero films there is a binary opposites.Another example of a villain fromanother film is the creator/inventor ofthe Hunger games who allows peopleslives to be taken for entertainment.
  41. 41. DISPATCHER • Starts hero on it’s way • An example of the dispatcher is the Godmother from Cinderella. • She Sends Cinderella on her quest to restore the equilibrium
  42. 42. DONOR • A Donor is someone who helps hero by giving him magic tool/gift to help him on his journey. • The tool or gift may be advice. • In the film ‘Hunger games’ her tutor gives her advice that will help her on her quest.
  43. 43. HELPER • An example of a Helper is Rue from The Hunger games. • Rue is portrayed as a Helper as she helps Katniss from dying from the bee-stings in the forest. • She also looks after Katniss when she was unconscious for days. • Rue
  44. 44. HEROINE • Often referred to as Princess. • Usually female but not always • Peeta is a Vulnerable character and just like Princess’ in fairy tales they need a Prince/Hero to rescue them. • Often in love with the Hero or ends up with the hero.
  45. 45. FALSE HERO The false hero is a stock character in fairy tales, and sometimes also in ballads. The character appears near the beginning of a story in order to claim to be the hero or heroine and is, therefore, usually of the same sex as the hero or heroine. • An example of a false hero is Scar from Lion King, The brother of Mufasa. • He appears to be a false hero as he only wants to be king but the only twoColour black = dark, mysterious or things standing in his way is Mufasaperhaps dangerous. and the future king; Simba.- Eyes are unusual colour- Scar near his eye
  46. 46. PART E: Terms
  47. 47. Diegesis• Diegesis is the world of film or programme we see on screen is known as the diegesis or the diegetic world.• The world that the characters live in TV/Film.• The things that make up the Diegesis is the diegetic elements.
  48. 48. An example of Diegesis • A TV programme or film is considered to be DIEGESIS as long as the characters do not look directly into the camera or talk to the camera, which breaks the Diegesis as it brings the diegesis and reality together. • An example of Diegesis : ?v=276mzf_Go8U&safe=active
  49. 49. Narrative range• Unrestricted narration – A narrative which has no limits to the information that is presented.• Restricted narration – Only offers a minimal information. Restricted narration = Enigma/mystery/puzzle.
  50. 50. An example of unrestricted narration This an example of a unrestricted narration as information is not restricted from the audience.
  51. 51. An example of restricted narration An example of this is a trailer for a film. Trailers give so little information so that people will go and watch it in cinema’s to see the ending. Trailer for the film The Life of Pi xY4l9kFGD0&safe=active Trailer makes the audience feel a sense of enigma as it brings up questions on whether Pi ever got to see English (Tiger) again.Shows the relationshipbetween Pi and English thetiger.
  52. 52. Narrative depth Objective character identification – The viewer is given unique access to a character’s point of view. It is seen from their perspective. POV Example: 4CCU9M4&safe=active This is from a characters perspective where we are given the unique access.
  53. 53. Cont.Subjective character identification –The view is given the unique access to what arange of characters can see and do.
  55. 55. Modular Narrative• Modular narratives articulate a sense of time divisible and subject to manipulation.
  56. 56. Modular narratives (Cameron theory)• Forking path• Episodic• Anachronic• Split Screen
  57. 57. Forking path • Narratives juxtapose alternative versions of a story, showing the possible outcomes that might result from a small change in a single event or group of events. • An example of Forking Path is Groundhog day as it revolves around a character who wakes up every day experiencing Déjà vu. When he realises he then Allan Cameron shows how this formal play reflects a persistent fascination with questions of chance and destiny, memory and history, and the representation of simultaneous events.
  58. 58. Episodic • Narratives are organised as an abstract series or narrative anthology. • Anthology consists of a series of shorter tales which are apparently disconnected but share a random similarity, like episodes. • Examples of Episodic is F.R.I.E.N.D.S and Lost.
  59. 59. Anachronic • Contains flashbacks and flash-forwards. • An example of Anachronic is Memento. • In the film Memento the main character has a condition where he has temporary memory loss, He can only have memories of his past and tends to have flashbacks of his dead wife.
  60. 60. Split Screen • The screen is divided into two or more. • Example of a split screen is used in films and YouTube videos.