Narrative Theory
Tzvetan Todorov
One of the biggest names in narrative theory is Tzvetan Todorov. He
proposed the theory of narrative equil...
Pam Cook
According to Pam Cook(1985), the standard
Hollywood narrative structure should have:
- Linearity of cause and eff...
Kate Domaille
According to Kate Domaille(2001) every story
ever told can be fitted into one of eight
narrative types. Each...
1. Achilles: The fatal flaw that leads to the
destruction of the previously flawless or
almost flawless person for
example...
5. Faust: This narrative story is more about 'selling your
soul to the devil' and becoming better off but
will ultimately ...
Vladimir Propp
The Russian theorist Vladimir Propp studied the
narrative structure of Russian Folk Tales. Propp
concluded ...
1.
2.

3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

The Hero – The victim or seeker hero, reacts to the donor and
then weds the princess for example, A...
Applying Propp’s character types - In
our production:
•
•
•
•
•
•

The hero: Katie – Our main character
The donor: The cou...
Joseph Campbell
• Joseph Campbell created the influential work 'The Hero
with a Thousand Faces' and with this he developed...
Ordinary World – The ordered world that the hero will choose (or be forced) to abandon.
Call To Adventure – A problem or c...
Claude Levi-Strauss
Levi-Strauss(1958) his ideas about narrative amount to the
fact that he believed all stories operated ...
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Narrative theory

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Narrative theory

  1. 1. Narrative Theory
  2. 2. Tzvetan Todorov One of the biggest names in narrative theory is Tzvetan Todorov. He proposed the theory of narrative equilibrium. Stage One - A point of stable equilibrium, where everything is satisfied, calm and normal. The beginning of the story. Stage Two - The stability is disrupted by some kind of force, which creates a state of disequilibrium. Stage Three - Recognition that the disequilibrium/disruption has taken place. Stage Four - It is only possible to re-create or restore the equilibrium through action directed against the disruption. Stage Five - Restoration of a new state of equilibrium. The consequences of the reaction is to change the world of the narrative and/or the characters so that the final state of equilibrium in not the same as the initial state.
  3. 3. Pam Cook According to Pam Cook(1985), the standard Hollywood narrative structure should have: - Linearity of cause and effect within an overall trajectory of enigma resolution. - A high degree of narrative closure. (Audiences like narrative closure!) - A fictional world that contains verisimilitude especially governed by spatial and temporal coherence.
  4. 4. Kate Domaille According to Kate Domaille(2001) every story ever told can be fitted into one of eight narrative types. Each of these narrative types has a source, an original story upon which the others are based. The eight types are as follows:
  5. 5. 1. Achilles: The fatal flaw that leads to the destruction of the previously flawless or almost flawless person for example, Superman, Fatal Attraction ect. 2. Candide: The indomitable hero cannot be put down, for example, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Rocky ect. 3. Cinderella: The dream comes true, and has a happy ending, for example, Pretty Women. 4. Circe: The Chase. This is about hero versus villain, good against bad ect. For example Iron Man.
  6. 6. 5. Faust: This narrative story is more about 'selling your soul to the devil' and becoming better off but will ultimately fail and your soul will belong to the devil. For example, Devil’s Advocate, The Devil Inside ect. 6. Orpheus: In this narrative, something personal or loved becomes lost or taken and therefore the narrative follows the journey in order to retrieve what has been lost. An example would be Taken or The Sixth Sense. 7. Romeo and Juliet: The love story. A romance between two characters. An good example is Titanic and How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days. 8. Tristan and Iseult: Yet again more often seen in romantic genres, a love triangle. When a character loves another however they are already spoken for or a third party becomes involved. For example, The Hunger Games or The Vow or even Bridget Jones Diary.
  7. 7. Vladimir Propp The Russian theorist Vladimir Propp studied the narrative structure of Russian Folk Tales. Propp concluded that regardless of the individual differences in terms of plot, characters and settings, such narratives would share common structural features. He also concluded that all the characters could be resolved into only seven character types in the 100 tales he analysed(with Lord of the Rings examples):
  8. 8. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. The Hero – The victim or seeker hero, reacts to the donor and then weds the princess for example, Aragorn, Frodo and Sam. The Donor – Prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object, for example, Galadriel. The Villain – Struggles against the hero. For example, Sauron or Saruman. The Dispatcher - This character makes the lack known and that there is something wrong and therefore sends the hero off. For example, Gandalf. False Hero - This character takes credit for all the work the real hero has done and therefore tries to marry the princess. For example, Gollum. The Helper - The character that assists the hero throughout his journey. For example, Sam, Legolas, Boromir, Aragorn, Gimli. The Princess and Her Father - This character gives the task to the hero and identifies the false hero. The princess often marries the hero and is sought for throughout the narrative. Propp noted that functionally, the princess and father cannot always be clearly distinguished. In Lord of the rings, this would be Arwen (Aragorn’s princess) and Elrond.
  9. 9. Applying Propp’s character types - In our production: • • • • • • The hero: Katie – Our main character The donor: The counsellor The villain: The bullies/her father The dispatcher: N/A False hero: Girls in her class The helper: Her blog – helps release her feelings • The princess: Charlotte
  10. 10. Joseph Campbell • Joseph Campbell created the influential work 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' and with this he developed the idea of 'Universal Hero Monomyth.' This idea suggests there is an underlying structure of iconography, themes, concepts and narrative structure that is common to the religions, myths and legends of almost every culture in the world. Great success such as George Lucas was influenced by this in order to create 'Star Wars' as in conforms to the Universal Hero Monomyth is every way.
  11. 11. Ordinary World – The ordered world that the hero will choose (or be forced) to abandon. Call To Adventure – A problem or challenge arises. Refusal Of The Call – Fear or reluctance may strike the hero. Meeting With The Mentor – The mentor is a key character. Crossing The First Threshold – The hero commits to the adventure. Test, Allies, Enemies – The hero must learn the rules that will govern his quest. Approach To The Innermost Cave – The most dangerous confrontation yet, perhaps the location of the treasure, or the object of the quest. Ordeal – The hero must face his fear or mortal enemy who will seem more powerful. Mental or physical torture may occur. Reward (Seizing The Sword) – The hero can celebrate the victory. The Road Back – Vengeful forces controlled by the villain are unleashed. Resurrection – Perhaps a final confrontation with death. Return With The Elixir – Return to the ordinary world with some wisdom, knowledge or something else gained from the adventure.
  12. 12. Claude Levi-Strauss Levi-Strauss(1958) his ideas about narrative amount to the fact that he believed all stories operated to certain clear Binary Opposites. For example, good vs. evil, rich vs. poor. In our production, our binary opposites are good vs evil, abuse vs compassion. Levi-Strauss also looked deeper into the way that narratives were ultimately always systematic oppositions. The order of events can be called the syntagmatic structure of a narrative, but Levi-Strauss was more concerned with the deeper of paradigmatic arrangement of themes. The is a choice of elements (paradigams) and they are arranged/dealt with in a particular way (syntagms).

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