Narrative structures

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Narrative structures

  1. 1. Narrative Structure <br />Narrative Structure Theories<br /> and<br />
  2. 2. Vladimir Propp<br />Propp (1975), analysed Russian folk-tales, he found that they all shared certain structural properties mainly based around character functions and actions. He reduced characters to eight roles, they are:<br />The Villain<br />The Donor<br />The Helper<br />The Princess and her father<br />The Dispatcher<br />The Hero or Victim<br />The False Hero<br />Characters can occupy a number of roles or “spheres of action”.<br />Propp also had a theory on how the character functions created the structure of every fairy-tale. He outlined a list of thirty-one functions illustrating the development of the plot.<br />
  3. 3. Vladimir Propp and “The Shining”<br />
  4. 4. TzvetanTodorov<br />Todorov’s main ideas focus on how the basic plot is formed and resolved. He suggested that at the beginning of narratives there is an equilibrium in place (opposing forces are in balance). This is then disrupted by an event (disequilibrium), which leads to a chain of events to occur afterwards (path to resolution). This is eventually resolved when a new equilibrium is formed.<br />There are twos ways to represent this “classic realist” narrative structure:<br />Hero<br />The protagonist meets an agent of change which obstructs his usual path and sends him on a quest, which in the end leads to closure.<br />Quest<br />Closure<br />Agent of change<br />Pathway to resolution<br />Enigma<br />Normality is set out at the beginning, then <br />Something happens to change this normality.<br />There are then ups and downs along the way<br />to closure at the end.<br />Normality<br />Closure<br />
  5. 5. TzvetanTodorov and “The Shining”<br />
  6. 6. ClaudeLevi-Strauss<br />Levi-Strauss considers narrative structure in terms of vertical binary oppositions rather than the horizontal structure. Binary oppositions work on the idea of the audience understanding that there is an opposite idea to every theme e.g. innocence is opposite to corruption. This idea is often played with in horror as innocent children’s toys such as clowns are often portrayed as corrupt; the binary opposition. <br />
  7. 7. Claude Levi-Strauss and “The Shining”<br />
  8. 8. Bordwell and Thompson<br />Bordwell and Thompson define structure in terms of time and space. They suggest that the audience has an innate tendency to link events in terms of time and space to make them coherent. Film makers can play with this idea via flash backs and cutting devises to allow the audience to make these links for themselves.<br />
  9. 9. Bordwell and Thompson and “The Shining”<br />

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