31 functions of Narrative structure

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31 functions of Narrative structure

  1. 1. 1 Vladimir Propp was born on April 17th 1895 in St. Petersburg to a German family. He attended St. Petersburg University (1913–1918) majoring in Russian and German philosophy.[1] Upon graduation he taught Russian and German at a secondary school and then became a college teacher of German. His Morphology of the Folktale was published in Russian in 1928. Although it represented a breakthrough in both folkloristics andmorphology and influenced Claude Levi Strauss and Roland Barthes, it was generally unnoticed in the West until it was translated in the 1950s. His character types are used in media education and can be applied to almost any story, be it in literature, theatre, film, television series, games, etc. In 1932, Propp became a member of Leningrad University (formerly St. Petersburg University) faculty. After 1938, he shifted the focus of his research from linguistics to folklore. He chaired the Department of Folklore until it became part of the Department of Russian Literature. Propp remained a faculty member until his death in 1970. Vladimir Propp extended the Russian Formalist approach to the study of narrative structure. In the Formalist approach, sentence structures were broken down into analyzable elements, or morphemes, and Propp used this method by analogy to analyze Russian fairy tales. By breaking down a large number of Russian folk tales into their smallest narrative units, or narratemes, Propp was able to arrive at a typology of narrative structures. Vladimir Propp book_2.indd 1 4/7/2011 8:03:26 PM
  2. 2. 32 An interdiction is addressed to the hero (‘don’t go there’, ‘don’t do this’). The hero is warned against some action (given an ‘interdiction’). Example “Aamir” movie is full of interdiction. The hero is always warned against given interdictions. The warnings addressed by phone. INTERDICTION ASSENTATION A member of a family leaves the security of the home environment. This may be the hero or some other member of the family that the hero will later need to rescue. This division of the cohesive family injects initial tension into the story line. The hero may also be introduced here, often being shown as an ordinary person. Example In Ramayana, Ram, Sita and Lakshman left the royal palace and stayed in forest for fourteen years. book_2.indd 2-3 4/7/2011 8:03:32 PM
  3. 3. 54 Example ‘Saving Private Ryan’ is a film which shows that a group of US soldiers go behind enemy to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. RECONNAISSANCE The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance (either villain tries to find the children/jewels etc. Or intended victim questions the villain). The villain (often in disguise) makes an active attempt at seeking information, for example searching for something valuable or trying to actively capture someone. They may speak with a member of the family who innocently divulges information. They may also seek to meet the hero, perhaps knowing already the hero is special in some way. Example A documentary film, ‘The fight for the sky’ shows the violation of interdiction activities of American fighter escort pilots during bombing raids over Germany. The interdiction is violated (villain enters the tale). This generally proves to be a bad move and the villain enters the story, although not necessarily confronting the hero. Perhaps they are just a lurking presence or perhaps they attack the family whilst the hero is away. VIOLATION Of INTERDICTION book_2.indd 4-5 4/7/2011 8:03:36 PM
  4. 4. 76 DELIVERY Example ‘Oldboy’ is a Korean film narrating delivery. The film shows that after being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days. The villain attempts to deceive the victim to take possession of victim or victim’s belongings (trickery; villain disguised, tries to win confidence of victim). The villain now presses further, often using the information gained in seeking to deceive the hero or victim in some way, perhaps appearing in disguise. This may include capture of the victim or persuading them that the villain is actually a friend and thereby gaining collaboration. The villain gains information about the victim. The villain’s seeking now pays off and he or she now acquires some form of information, often about the hero or victim. Other information can be gained, for example about a map or treasure location. TRICKERY Example ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is a mysterious narration of fascist Spain, in which the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world. book_2.indd 6-7 4/7/2011 8:03:41 PM
  5. 5. 98 Example The famous American Mafia story in ‘Godfather’ series has great narrations. Especially, ‘God father 2’ is the early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba. Villain causes harm/injury to family member (by abduction, theft of magical agent, spoiling crops, plunders in other forms, causes a disappearance, expels someone, casts spell on someone, substitutes child etc., commits murder, imprisons/detains someone, threatens forced marriage, provides nightly torments); Alternatively, a member of family lacks something or desires something (magical potion etc.). There are two options for this function, either or both of which may appear in the story. VILLAINY or LACK Victim taken in by deception, unwittingly helping the enemy. The trickery of the villain now works and the hero or victim naively acts in a way that helps the villain. This may range from providing the villain with something (perhaps a map or magical weapon) to actively working against good people (perhaps the villain has persuaded the hero that these other people are actually bad). COMPLICITY Example An actress, a writer, a student, and a government worker band together in an effort to escape Paris as the Nazis move into the city, ‘Bon Voyage’ is a film about complicity. book_2.indd 8-9 4/7/2011 8:03:45 PM
  6. 6. 1110 Example An account of the bloodiest revolution in modern history, ‘The Battle of Algiers’, portraits mediation. Misfortune or lack is made known, (hero is dispatched, hears call for help etc./ alternative is that victimized hero is sent away, freed from imprisonment). The hero now discovers the act of villainy or lack, perhaps finding their family or community devastated or caught up in a state of anguish and woe. Seeker agrees to, or decides upon counter-action. The hero now decides to act in a way that will resolve the lack, for example finding a needed magical item, rescuing those who are captured or otherwise defeating the villain. This is a defining moment for the hero as this is the decision that sets the course of future actions and by which a previously ordinary person takes on the mantle of heroism. BEGINNING COUNTER-ACTION Example The film ‘Zodiac’ shows a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer. MEDIATION book_2.indd 10-11 4/7/2011 8:03:49 PM
  7. 7. 1312 FIRST FUNCTION OF THE DONOR Hero is tested, interrogated, attacked etc., Preparing the way for his/her receiving magical agent or helper (donor); Example Hero is tested, interrogated, attacked etc., preparing the way for his/her receiving magical agent or helper (donor); 13 DEPARTURE Hero leaves home. It may hero’s goal as an action or to seek out, to liberate or to rescue something. 12 Example The adventure story of ‘Lord of the ring- Return of the king’ is the former Fellowship of the Ring prepare for the final battle for Middle Earth, while Frodo & Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring. book_2.indd 12-13 4/7/2011 8:03:53 PM
  8. 8. 1514 Hero acquires use of a magical agent (directly transferred, located, purchased, prepared, spontaneously appears, eaten/drunk, help offered by other characters) Example In “Mr India” the hero acquires a magic of being invisible to help other characters. 15 HERO'S REACTION Hero reacts to actions of future donor (withstands/ fails the test, frees captive, reconciles disputants, uses adversary’s powers against him) Example Marathi film ‘Dombivali Fast’ portray hero who reacts to bad systems. The film is all about hero’s reaction. 14 RECEIPT OF A MAGICAL AGENT book_2.indd 14-15 4/7/2011 8:03:55 PM
  9. 9. 1716 STRUGGLE Hero and villain join in direct combat. In this villain can be system or group of people also. The combat shows the struggle. Example A wonderful experience of the film ‘Metropolis’ indicate the struggle. In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a saviour to mediate their differences. 17 GUIDANCE Hero is transferred, delivered or led to whereabouts of an object of the search. Example The film ‘Priest’ tries to reconcile his love for another man with his love for God, but when a girl steps into the confessional and reveals that her father sexually abuses her, he’s frustrated by the laws of the church and questions his faith in a God who would allow this to happen. 16 book_2.indd 16-17 4/7/2011 8:03:58 PM
  10. 10. 1918 VICTORY Villain is defeated (killed in combat, defeated in contest, killed while asleep, banished) Example Adventure drama of ‘Ben hur’ shows when a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. 19 BRANDING Hero is branded (wounded/marked, receives ring. Example An adaptation of Homer’s great epic, the film follows the assault on Troy by the united Greek forces and chronicles the fates of the men involved. 18 book_2.indd 18-19 4/7/2011 8:04:02 PM
  11. 11. 2120 RETURN Hero returns. He is back where he has started his journey or his search. Example ‘The Return’ is a story in which the remote Russian wilderness, two brothers face a range of new, conflicting emotions when their father--a man they only know through a single photograph. 21 LIQUIDATION Initial misfortune or lack is resolved (object of search distributed, spell broken, slain person revived, captive freed); Example ‘The Baader Meinhof Complex’ is a look at Germany’s terrorist group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnapping and assassinations in the late 1960th and ‘70th. 20 book_2.indd 20-21 4/7/2011 8:04:06 PM
  12. 12. 2322 RESCUE Hero is rescued from pursuit (obstacles delay pursuer, hero hides or is hidden, hero transforms unrecognizably, hero saved from attempt on his/her life). Example The character Batman is famous for rescue. The film called ‘The Dark Night’ is about Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent are forced to deal with the chaos unleashed by an anarchist mastermind known only as the Joker, as he drives each of them to their limits. 23 PURSUIT Hero is pursued (pursuer tries to kill, eat, undermine the hero). The pursuer can be situation also. Example In a world where technology exists to enter the human mind through dream invasion, a highly skilled thief is given a final chance at redemption which involves executing his toughest job to date: Inception. 22 book_2.indd 22-23 4/7/2011 8:04:10 PM
  13. 13. 2524 UNFOUNDED CLAIMS False hero presents unfounded claims. Example The film ‘Provocked’ the true story of a Punjabi woman named Kiranjit Ahluwalia who leaves India to marry a London-based guy, only to be badly abused. She ends up in prison for murdering her abusive husband. 25 UNRECOGNIZED ARRIVAL Hero unrecognized, arrives home or in another space. Example ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift. Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Liliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens. 24 book_2.indd 24-25 4/7/2011 8:04:13 PM
  14. 14. 2726 SOLUTION Task is resolved. The given job is done. Example ‘Conspiracy is a film presents a dramatic recreation of the Wannsee Conference where the Nazi Final Solution phase of the Holocaust was devised. 27 DIFFICULT TASK Difficult task proposed to the hero (trial by ordeal, riddles, test of strength/endurance, other tasks). Example ‘The Ghost In The Darkness’ movie is based on the true story of two lions in Africa that killed 130 people over a nine month period, while a bridge engineer and an experienced old hunter tried to kill them. 26 book_2.indd 26-27 4/7/2011 8:04:18 PM
  15. 15. 2928 EXPOSURE False hero or villain is exposed. Example Tragedy strikes a married couple on vacation in the Moroccan desert, 'Babel'’is touching off an interlocking story exposing four different families. 29 RECOGNITION Hero is recognized (by mark, brand, or thing given to him/her). Example The film ‘Black Book’ about the Nazi-occupied Netherlands during World War II, a Jewish singer infiltrates the regional Gestapo headquarters for the Dutch resistance. 28 book_2.indd 28-29 4/7/2011 8:04:21 PM
  16. 16. 3130 PUNISHMENT An Important person becomes Villiain or get punished for something. Villain is punished. Example ‘The green mile’ is The story about the lives of guards on death row leading up to the execution of black man accused of child murder & rape, who has the power of faith healing. 31 TRANSFIGURATION Hero is given a new appearance (is made whole, handsome, new garments etc.). Example The story of Cinderella is about a transformation to normal girl which results to a beautiful princess. 30 book_2.indd 30-31 4/7/2011 8:04:23 PM
  17. 17. 32 Hero marries and ascends the throne (is rewarded/ promoted). WEDDING Example Jane Austen’s classic novel ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is about prejudice that occurred between the 19th century classes and the pride which would keep lovers apart. But in end hero marries and rewarded with love. 32 book_2.indd 32 4/7/2011 8:04:25 PM

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