Narrative And Plot


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Narrative And Plot

  1. 1. Fictions Narrative & Plot
  2. 2. What we know… <ul><li>Fictions are essentially stories that enable culture to reproduce itself; stories that allow us to enact our culture </li></ul><ul><li>Stories contain mythical elements that stand in for or represent ideas within culture </li></ul><ul><li>Fictions can be written or visual, factual or made up… </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is narrative? <ul><li>Ordering of structure – time, events, people, places </li></ul><ul><li>Making sense of what is seen and what is assumed through past experience </li></ul><ul><li>People naturally seek structure: beginning, middle, end. </li></ul><ul><li>Narratives have been used to make sense of things – creation stories, fairy tales… </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Successful stories require actions which change the lives of the characters in the story. </li></ul><ul><li>They also contain some sort of resolution, where that change is registered, and which creates a new equilibrium for the characters involved </li></ul><ul><li>Remember that narratives are not just those we encounter in fiction. Even news stories, advertisements and documentaries also have a constructed narrative which must be interpreted </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ Narrative is a chain of events in a cause-effect relationship occurring space and time” Bordwell & Thompson </li></ul><ul><li>Causality – why things happen </li></ul><ul><li>Time – when things happen </li></ul><ul><li>Space – where things happen </li></ul><ul><li>These elements can be assembled in different ways; thus a distinction between story itself and narrative discourse </li></ul><ul><li>Cause and event </li></ul>
  6. 6. Quest Narrative <ul><li>A type of story in which a hero sets off on a mission to find something, help someone or solve a mystery. The mission is difficult and the hero must overcome obstacles and battle a villain. At the end of the mission the hero gets a reward… </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking about myth in fictions why might this sort of story evolved? Can you name some examples of? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Vladimar Propp’s character types <ul><li>The Villain </li></ul><ul><li>The Hero </li></ul><ul><li>The Donor (provides hero with magical property) </li></ul><ul><li>The Helper (aids the hero) </li></ul><ul><li>The Princess (reward for hero and object of villains schemes) </li></ul><ul><li>Princess’s father (rewards the hero) </li></ul><ul><li>The Dispatcher (who sends hero on his way) </li></ul><ul><li>The False Hero </li></ul>
  8. 8. Vladimar Propp applied to Star Wars <ul><li>The Villain – Lord Vader </li></ul><ul><li>The Hero – Luke Skywalker </li></ul><ul><li>The Donor - Obe Kenobe </li></ul><ul><li>The Helper – Hans Solo </li></ul><ul><li>The Princess – Princess Lea </li></ul><ul><li>Princess’s father – Lord Vader </li></ul><ul><li>The Dispatcher - R2D2 </li></ul><ul><li>The False Hero – Lord Vader/ Lando Carrilion </li></ul>Each come up with another example of a quest narrative; list the character types and make a comment on what you think the narrative may symbolically stand for (how it helps us enact or represents our culture)?
  9. 9. Criticism of Propp <ul><li>Cant apply to all narratives </li></ul><ul><li>Narratives can be sophisticated - deliberately defy the conventions of traditional folk tales. </li></ul><ul><li>What if the hero is female? </li></ul><ul><li>Are all narratives about struggles between heroes and villains? </li></ul><ul><li>Where do postmodern narratives fit in this? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Plots & Master Plots <ul><li>Plots involve the planning of narrative discourse and structuring of story events </li></ul><ul><li>Master plots are stories that reoccur in numerous forms connecting to our deepest cultural values, hopes and fears </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ Recurent skeletal stories, belonging to culture and individuals that play a powerful role in questions of identity, values and the understanding of life. Master plots can also exert influence on the way we take in new information causing us to over or underread life's narratives in an often unconscious effort to bring them in line with master plots”. H Abbott </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Quest </li></ul><ul><li>Adventure </li></ul><ul><li>Pursuit </li></ul><ul><li>Rescue </li></ul><ul><li>Escape </li></ul><ul><li>The Riddle </li></ul><ul><li>Rivalry </li></ul><ul><li>Underdog </li></ul><ul><li>Temptation </li></ul><ul><li>Ascension </li></ul><ul><li>Metamorphosis </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation </li></ul><ul><li>Maturation </li></ul><ul><li>Love </li></ul><ul><li>Forbidden Love </li></ul><ul><li>Sacrifice </li></ul><ul><li>Discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Wretched Excess </li></ul><ul><li>Vengeance </li></ul><ul><li>Descension </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Master plots then are like myths </li></ul><ul><li>They are common and known and we apply preconceived ideas, values etc to them </li></ul><ul><li>Think about our previous Christmas stories. What were the master plots at work there? </li></ul><ul><li>Identify master plots in animated films like Shrek or Wall-E </li></ul><ul><li>Think of examples of narratives that draw upon the rags to riches master plot. What cultural purpose does this play? </li></ul><ul><li>Identify and discuss narrative structure in creation myths </li></ul>