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Narrative powerpoint

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A power-point on Narrative theories

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Narrative powerpoint

  1. 1. G325: Critical Perspectives in Media<br />Theoretical Evaluation of Production - Question 1(b)<br />Narrative<br />
  2. 2. Narrative<br />• Tim O’Sullivan (1998) argues that all<br />media texts tell us some kind of story.<br />•Media texts offer a way of telling stories about ourselves – not usually our own personal stories, but the story of us as a culture or set of cultures.<br />• Narrative theory sets out to show that what<br />we experience when we ‘read’ a story is to<br />understand a particular set of constructions,<br />or conventions, and that it is important to<br />be aware of how these constructions are put<br />together.<br />
  3. 3. 3 important words…<br />Narrative: The structure of a story.<br />Diegesis: The fictional space and time implied by the narrative – the world in which the story takes place.<br />Verisimilitude: Literally – the quality of<br />appearing to be real or true. For a story to<br />engage us it must appear to be real to us as<br />we watch it (the diegetic effect). The story<br />must therefore have verisimilitude –<br />following the rules of continuity, temporal<br />and spacial coherence.<br />
  4. 4. The Structure Of The Classic Narrative<br />According to Pam Cook (1985), the<br />standard Hollywood narrative structure<br />should have:<br />Linearity of cause and effect within an overall trajectory of enigma resolution.<br />A high degree of narrative closure.<br />A fictional world that contains verisimilitude especially governed by spatial and temporal coherence.<br />
  5. 5. Tzvetan Todorov (1977)<br />Bulgarian structural linguist.<br />He was interested in the way language is<br />ordered to infer particular meanings and has<br />been very influential in the field of narrative<br />theory.<br />
  6. 6. Tzvetan Todorov<br />Stage 1: A point of stable equilibrium, where everything is satisfied, calm and normal.<br />Stage 2: This stability is disrupted by some kind of force, which creates a state of disequilibrium.<br />Stage 3: Recognition that a disruption has taken place.<br />Stage 4: It is only possible to re-create equilibrium through action directed against the disruption.<br />Stage 5: 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.<br />
  7. 7. Roland Barthes (1977)<br />Establishmentof plot or theme. This is then followed by the developmentof the problem, an enigma, an increase in tension.<br />Finally comes the resolution of the plot.<br />Such narratives can be unambiguous and<br />linear.<br />
  8. 8. According to Kate Domaille (2001) every story<br />ever told can be fitted into one of eight<br />narrative types. Each of these narrative types<br />has a source, an original story upon which the<br />others are based. These stories are as follows:<br />Achilles: The fatal flawthat leads to the destruction of the previously flawless, or almost flawless, person, e.g. Superman, Fatal Attraction.<br />Candide: The indomitable herowho cannot be put down, e.g. Indiana Jones, James Bond, Rocky etc.<br />Cinderella: The dream comes true, e.g. Pretty Woman.<br />
  9. 9. Circe: The Chase, the spider and the fly, the innocent and the victim e.g. The Terminator. <br />Faust: Selling your soul to the devil may bring riches but eventually your soul belongs to him, e.g. Devil’s Advocate, Wall Street.<br />Orpheus: The loss of something personal, the gift that is taken away, the tragedy of loss or the journey which follows the loss, e.g. The Sixth Sense, Born On the Fourth Of July.<br />Romeo And Juliet: The love story, e.g. Titanic.<br />Tristan and Iseult: The love triangle. Man loves woman…unfortunately one or both of them are already spoken for, or a third party intervenes, e.g. Casablanca.<br />
  10. 10. The Russian theorist Vladimir Propp (1928)<br />studied the narrative structure of Russian<br />Folk Tales.<br />Propp concluded that regardless of the individual differences in terms of plot, characters and settings, such narratives would share common structural features.<br />
  11. 11. He also concluded that all the characters could be<br />resolved into only seven character typesin the 100 tales<br />he analyzed:<br />The villain — struggles against the hero.<br />The donor — prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object.<br />The (magical) helper — helps the hero in the quest.<br />The princess and her father — gives the task to the hero,identifies the false hero, marries the hero, often sought for during the narrative. Propp noted that functionally, the princess and the father can not be clearly distinguished.<br />The dispatcher — character who makes the lack known and sends the hero off.<br />The hero or victim/seeker hero — reacts to the donor, weds the princess.<br />[False hero] — takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess.<br />
  12. 12. When brought together and broken down into their constitute parts these myths can be used to formulate a universal monomyththat is essentially the condensed, basic hero narrative that forms the basis for every myth and legend in the world and is, therefore, common to all<br />cultures.<br />Both George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg<br />were heavily influenced by Campbell’s<br />theories and Star Wars conforms to<br />Campbell’s model of the Monomyth almost<br />exactly.<br />
  13. 13. Ordinary World – the ordered world that the hero will choose (or be forced) to abandon.<br />Call To Adventure – a problem or challenge arises.<br />Refusal Of The Call – fear or reluctance may strike the hero.<br />Meeting With The Mentor – the mentor is a key character.<br />Crossing The First Threshold – the hero commits to the adventure.<br />Test, Allies, Enemies – the hero must learn the rules that will govern his quest.<br />Approach To The Innermost Cave – the most dangerous confrontation yet, perhaps the location of the treasure, or the object of the quest.<br />Ordeal – the hero must face his fear or mortal enemy who will seem more powerful. Mental or physical torture may occur.<br />Reward (Seizing The Sword) – the hero can celebrate the victory.<br />The Road Back – vengeful forces controlled by the villain are unleashed.<br />Resurrection – perhaps a final confrontation with death.<br />Return With The Elixir – return to the ordinary world with some wisdom, knowledge or something else gained from the adventure.<br />
  14. 14. These structures are not unique to film but also advertising and news stories.<br />In fact the structures presented are an integral part of the majority of both western and eastern cultures - details how narrative works in society to inform the audience of events, people, places through mediated ideologies within them.<br />Narratives have a common structure<br />
  15. 15. Jonathan Culler (2001) describes<br />narratology as comprising many strands<br />“implicitly united in the recognition that<br />narrative theory requires a distinction<br />between story, a sequence of actions or<br />events conceived as independent of their<br />manifestation in discourse, and<br />discourse, the discursive presentation or<br />narration of events.”<br />Structure is different to theme – narrative presents the form in which the theme is mediated/discussed.<br />
  16. 16. Claude Lèvi-Strauss(1958) his ideas about<br />narrative amount to the fact that he believed all stories operated to certain clear Binary Opposites e.g. good vs. evil, black vs. white, rich vs. poor etc.<br />The importance of these ideas is that essentially a complicated world is reduced to a simple either/or structure. Things are either right or wrong, good or bad. There is no in between.<br />This structure has ideological implications, if, for example, you want to show that the hero was not wholly correct in what they did, and the villains weren’t always bad. (Postmodernism?)<br />
  17. 17. Levi-Strauss also looked deeper into the<br />way that narrative were arranged in terms<br />of themes within that were ultimately<br />always systematic oppositions.<br />The order of events can be called the<br />syntagmatic structure of a narrative, but<br />Levi-Strauss was more concerned with the<br />deeper of paradigmatic arrangement of<br />themes.<br />There is a choice of elements (paradigms)<br />and they are arranged/dealt with in a<br />particular way (syntagms).<br />
  18. 18. Think of this question as the first part of your revision...<br />“Media texts rely on cultural experiences in<br />order for audiences to easily make sense of<br />narratives”. Explain how you used conventional and / or experimental narrative approaches in one of your production pieces.<br />

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