Narrative theorists


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4x narrative theorists identified with an explanation of their theory.

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Narrative theorists

  2. 2. INTRODUCTION TO NARRATIVENarrative explores the conventions of:• Genre• Character Includes information not shown• Form The key events• Time Narrative = how is the story told? (as events unfold)
  3. 3. NARRATIVE STRUCTURELinear Structure:Beginning Middle End(Audience introduced to (Events –story builds) (Closure)characters and story)Circular Structure: The narrative begins at the end (or middle of events ) often beginning with the climax. The audience are taking on ajourney arriving back where they started. (e.g. Pulp fiction)Open Structure:The audience are left to wonder what happens next and make sense of itthemselves (e.g. “Inception”) ?Closed Structure:Definite ending – clear conclusion for the audience !
  4. 4. COMPLEX NARRATIVE STRUCTUREToday‟s narratives have become increasingly complex as producers know thataudiences have a greater sense of media literacy when it comes to makingmeaning of the text and reading the signs. There are often numerous plot twistsand surprises that keep the audience intrigued with carefully spun storylines.Films such as “Memento” (Nolan,2000) which weaves the story in reverse gives theaudience a similar experience to the protagonist who has short term memoryloss, as they try and fit the clues together through the use of restricted narrative.Unrestricted Narrative: What the audience are assumed to knowe.g. In a thriller there will be a crime so they will be expecting itRestricted Narrative: The information that is withheld from the audienceNow test your knowledge:
  5. 5. An EllipsisAn ellipsis is a break in time –it would be difficult to show everythingthat happens in a film in real-time‟.Cutting out intervening time between shots:Man gets out of bed, seen shaving, next scene eats breakfast, leaveshouse. We understand time has been cut out of a morning routine.-consider how narratives have been played with in recent years –e.g. Pulp Fiction, (episodic scenes in a seemingly random order) Memento (film that plays in reverse –reflecting the confusions of the main character who has short-term loss)
  7. 7. “LIFE” QUESTIONSHow are we introduced to the main character?What information do we learn about him?How do we learn this information?How many storylines are there (is there a subplot)?What is the overall storyline or narrative?Put the sequence of events into a chronological timelineDoes it follow Todorov‟s theory of narrative?Is the structure linear or circular, open or closed?
  8. 8. There are many theorists who use theory to explain narrative structure.We shall be studying four of them:• Vladimir Propp• Roland Barthes• Tzvetan Todorov• Claude Levi-Strauss NARRATIVE THEORISTS * You will only need to know two for your exam*
  9. 9. TODOROVTodorov describes narrative as going from equilibrium to disequilibrium back to an altered equilibrium
  10. 10. TODOROVEquilibrium: (sets the scene)Everyday LifeDisruption: (complication)Something happens to alter the equilibriumConflict: (climax)Trying to solve the problem (seek resolution)Resolution:Problem is sortedNew Equilibrium: (satisfactory end)Back to normal (but never the same)- a new normal
  11. 11. LEVI-STRAUSSLevi-Strauss describes narrative as created by constant conflict of binary opposites Love – Hate Black – White Man – Nature Light – Darkness Peace – War Protagonist – Antagonist Movement – Stillness Civilized – Savage Young – Old Control – Panic Strong – Weak Man – Woman Wealth – Poverty Mankind – Aliens Humans – Technology “Sat Wars” “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” “Avatar” “District 9” Ignorance - Wisdom “The Searchers” “Slumdog Millionaire” Can you match them?
  12. 12. BARTHESBarthes describes narrative as a series of codes that are read and interpreted by the audience
  13. 13. BARTHES CODESAction Code: (proairetic code)something the audience knows and doesnt need explaining e.g. someone beingwheeled out on a stretcher tells us they are going to hospitalEnigma Code: (hermeneutic code)something hidden from the audience (creates intrigue)Semic Code:something that the audience recognize through connotationsSymbolic Code:Something that symbolizes a more abstract concept e.g. a darker than usual room ofa murder scene could symbolize the depth of darkness and depravityCultural Code: (referential code)Something that is read with understanding due to cultural awareness (e.g. youthculture use certain words that are understood by that culture)
  14. 14. PROPPPropp‟s theory of narrative is driven by the characters using a set of narrative functions Background: 1895 —1970 Vladimir Propp was a Russian scholar who analysed Russian folk tales (fairy tales) by their narrative structure. Often used in Hollywood or Disney Films (with a happy ever after) He identifies 8 „types‟ of characters: • Hero (protagonist) has a mission of quest to complete (e.g.Luke Skywalker) • Villain (antagonist) tries to stop the hero (Darth Vader) • Princess love interest and/or object of the quest (Princess Leia) • Father person with knowledge (Leia) • Dispatcher sends the hero off (Obi Wan) • Donor gives the hero something to help him (Obi Wan) • Sidekick the helper (not as handsome as hero) –poss. comic relief (C3P0+) • False hero villain that pretends to be good in order to trick the hero
  15. 15. Propps 31 narrative functionsIn addition to the characters Propp he says that it is narratemes (i.e.narrative functions)-events that drive the narrative forward:1. Family member leaves home -Hero introduced2. Hero given a warning (e.g. not to do something)3. Hero ignores the warning4. Villain appears (e.g. trying to find jewels / children etc.)5. Villain gains information about the victim6. Villain attempts to trick the victim (guise / trickery)7. Victim/ Hero is fooled by the villain8. Villain causes harm or injury9. Misfortune or lack is made known to Hero10. Hero decides on counter-action11. Hero leaves home12. Hero is tested by the Donor13. Hero responds to the test14. Hero acquires a magical agent15. Location / hero change to the place of lack16. Hero and Villain in direct combat17. Hero is branded (wounded / scarred)18. Villain is defeated (killed)19. Lack is met -resolution20. Hero goes back home21. Hero is pursued22. Hero is rescued23. Unrecognised Hero arrives home / another country24. False hero claims Hero‟s success25. Difficult task is set26. Hero resolves the task27. True Hero now recognised28. False hero exposed29. Hero given transformation (new appearance e.g. new clothes)30. Villain is punished31. Hero marries and ascends the throne
  16. 16. THE EXAMYou will need to include media terminology1. Give an introduction to what narrative is2. Identify the types of narrative used in your Teaser Trailer (don’t forget to include the TITLE)3. Identify a theorist and explain their theory of narrative4. Explain how your product supports or challenges the theory.5. Now do the same again (2-4) with the real media text you researched.6. Compare it to what you wrote about your product in relation to narrative
  17. 17. COMPARISON & CONTRAST WORDSSimilarly different to unlike comparedtoIn contrast whereas on the one hand on the otherhandAlthough however