Get into 4 groups.
You can pick your own groups, but the only
stipulation is that you must be with people who
you haven’t worked with in the preliminary task
or the camera angle presentations.... GO!
Read what it says on your sheet. Do not share the
information with the other groups.
GET ON WITH THE TASK!
What do we know about
• The term representation refers to “the way
the media constructs aspects of real life”
• Point of view, messages and values often
underlie media representations.
• Representations often reveal the dominant
ideology of the culture which created them
• Representations change over time
When analysing television and film, it is vital to
understand how narrative is used to construct
NARRATIVE is the media terminology for story
telling. Narrative is the way different elements
are organised to create an entertaining,
NARRATIVE STRUCTURE is the way a story or
It could be open or closed
For example, a film will usually (but not always)
have a closed narrative
Whereas a soap will have an open ended
narrative- there is no final conclusion
This is very common in soaps and on-going
This means that there is more than one
narrative happening at the same time
Linear and non-linear
Linear narratives are organised in chronological
order: hours, days, months, years.
Non-linear narratives are organised out of
chronological order. Often used to simulate
human skills of memory and recall
Pulp Fiction & The Dark Knight Rises
When analysing television drama, it is often
useful to consider narrative theories. These
can give us an insight into HOW MEANING IS
CREATED (representation) and the CODES and
CONVENTIONS of the genre or sub-genre
Todorov suggests there are five stages to how the
1. The equilibrium has to be carefully shown
(otherwise the disruption may not be dramatic
enough to create a strong plot)
2. There is a disruption
3. There is a recognition that a disruption has
4. There is an attempt to repair the damage done
by the disruption.
5. A new equilibrium is achieved.
The narrative is driven by the characters’
attempts to restore the equilibrium, although
the end result is not quite the same as the
beginning. Todorov argues that a good
narrative involves transformation
When a new equilibrium is achieved, the
characters may have changed for the better
in their behaviours or their outlook on life
Watch the clip and analyse how narrative is constructed
• The correct media terminology that can be applied.
• How the characters and events drive the narrative?
• The narrative conventions of the genre?
Can you apply the theory?
What is representation?
A RE PRESENTATION
The way in which the media constructs
aspects of society, including:
•Class and status
What is the difference
between sex and gender?
Sex: Biological grouping
What makes us male and
Gender: ‘Masculinity’ and
What it means to be masculine
Created by social and cultural
Redefined over time
Why might the media utilize a ‘stereotypical’
representation of men?
Who constructs these stereotypes?
How might different groups of people interpret
Consider these two Total Film
How is Mark Wahlberg presented?
How is Angelina Jolie presented?
Who do you think this magazine is aimed
Are these representations dominant or
Would males/females interpret this text
Vladamir Propp (1895- 1970).
He studied folk tales and found fairy tales shared
basic narrative elements. He proposed ways of
grouping characters and their actions into
eight broad character types or ‘spheres of
action’. You can see how these work by their
• 1. the VILLAIN – known to scriptwriters as the
antagonist because he seeks to stop what the
HERO wants to do.
• 2. the HERO – known as the protagonist who has
to fulfil his destiny in the story. This may be a
quest for fame and fortune, or true love or the
search for a lost parent or a quest to put right a
former injustice or save the planet.
• 3. the DONOR is the character who provides a
special device so that the hero can fulfil his or her
mission. James Bond has gadgets. A donor can
give a magical device such as a sword – Excalibur
in King Arthur or be a fairy godmother providing
the means for the heroine to reach the prince.
• 4. the HELPER – the hero has to have a side-kick
who helps the hero in the quest.
• 5. the PRINCESS – remember that Propp had
studied fairy tales so he uses terms that are
familiar in traditional stories. The princess is the
reward for the hero and often the desire of the
antagonist who seeks to involve her in his
schemes to out wit the hero.
• 6. Her FATHER – the person who rewards the
hero for his achievements and also can provide a
moral safeguard for the hero to be measured
against. Think of the importance of the king in
• 7. the DISPATCHER – the character who sees that
something needs to be done and sets up the
hero’s quest and sends him out into the world to
fulfil his task.
• 8. the FALSE HERO – the character who also lays
claim to the princess but is unsuitable and causes
These character types can be shared by one or
more characters. The dispatcher may also be the
donor who gives the magical ring or sword. M
dispatches James Bond and allows him to have
the gadgets he needs to achieve the mission
With the person sitting next to you, note down
different ways camera angles/shots can be
used to represent a traditional Proppian hero
and the effects they might have on the
Use the correct media terminology.
You have 5 minutes
Watch the clip and consider how masculinity is
Does this representation confirm or challenge
traditional notions of gender?
Then, can you draw on the theory?
Now watch it again
Note down the ways in which the extract
constructs representations of masculinity using
camera shots, angles and movements.
It is 'a theory of meaning‘
In the mid-20th century Claude Levi Strauss had the
important insight that the way we understand
certain words depends not so much on any
meaning they themselves directly contain, but
much more by our understanding of the
difference between the word and its 'opposite'
or, as he called it 'binary opposite'. He realised
that words merely act as symbols for society's
ideas and that the meaning of
words, therefore, was a relationship rather than a
fixed thing: a relationship between opposing
Good vs. Evil- there can only be good when
there is evil
Hero vs. Villain
Light vs. Dark
Masculine vs. Feminine
Masculinity V Femininity
Masculinity is ALWAYS connected with,
opposed to, and in relation to femininity.
‘Crisis of masculinity’ (?)
‘The male gaze’
Laura Mulvey wrote a book called “ Visual Pleasure
and Narrative Cinema” in 1975 and coined the
phrase ‘the male gaze’
What is the gaze? The concept of gaze is one that
deals with how an audience views the people
presented. For feminists it can be thought of in 3
How men look at women
How women look at themselves
How women look at other women.
Mulvey believes that in film, audiences have to
‘view’ characters from the perspective of a
Features of the Male Gaze
The camera lingers on the curves of the female
body, and events which occur to women are
presented largely in the context of a man's
reaction to these events. Relegates women to
the status of objects. The female viewer must
experience the narrative secondarily, by
identification with the male.
Watch the following video carefully
Answer the questions
• What colour top were the male and female
• What bowling lane did they use?
• What colour belt were each of the characters
• What colour shoes?
• What colour eyes?
The male gaze and narrative
Feminist theories also suggest that narrative is
also determined by the male. They have the
power to change the direction of the plot,
save the day, and restore the equilibrium
Watch the following clip and answer the
How is gender represented in this sequence?
Apply theories where relevant.
Watch the trailer
How does this clip confirm and/or
challenge the masculine stereotype?