Week 5

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  • First hour slides 1-4Prepare for presentation the rest of the lessonFriday – someone to explain the sponge cake analogymore time to prepare then presentations
  • In study groups apply Todorov to Dracula, Creep and The Descent – ensure you have used clear textual examples from each film for each stageDoes the theory fit each film?To what extent is the theory useful for discussing the narrative features of the films?Is Todorov’s theory useful for considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre?Prepare a presentation You must be able to explain the narrative approach you have to the rest of the class and then explain the points you have been given aboveEveryone in the group must speak/contributeYou can use sugar paper, pens, pictures, diagrams, dramaThe theory doesn’t easily fit each film, with The Descent the narrative has different layers and so quite easily could be put into multiple 5 stagesUsing Todorov is useful, as you can compare and contrast the various stages of each film. Doing this allows ones to consider the predictable and distinctive (unique) traits of the horror genre, or even to what extent of film can be a particularly distinctive horror film – one that break with predictability
  • Try to apply these character types Dracula, Creep and The DescentProvide textual evidence from the films to explain how certain characters fit the ‘type’Does the theory each film?To what extent is the theory useful for discussing the narrative features of the films?Is Propp’s theory useful for considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre?Prepare a presentation You must be able to explain the narrative approach you have to the rest of the class and then explain the points you have been given aboveEveryone in the group must speak/contributeYou can use sugar paper, pens, pictures, diagrams, drama
  • Write down all the binary oppositions for Dracula, The Descent and Creep Provide textual evidence for the opposites you have listedTo what extent is the theory useful for discussing the narrative features of the films?It’s useful as it provides a structure that allows you to discuss the conflicts that arise in the film although the binary opposites may be numerous they usually make clear the intricacies of the conflicts that occur between the antagonist(s) and protagonist(s) Is Levi-Strauss’ theory useful for considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre?I believe that it useful for example good vs. evil is an overarching theme of the horror genre but using further binary oppositions you can find the distinctive nature of the archetypal characters used To what extent can binary opposites help us make sense of the narrative and also in some ways communicate ideology and values? (think about this for each individual film and then possibly collectively to see if there is a similarity)Prepare a presentation You must be able to explain the narrative approach you have to the rest of the class and then explain the points you have been given aboveEveryone in the group must speak/contributeYou can use sugar paper, pens, pictures, diagrams, drama
  • Week 5

    1. 1. Last lesson • You should now be able to: • Discuss how narrative structure can be used as a storytelling method • Discuss the ways in which horror films have typical narrative structures • Argue if narrative structure can be used as a device to create impact in a horror film • Consider if the narrative structures of the films we have studied are distinctive or predictable Tool/ device – used to communicate the story Textual examples – refer to 3 acts and Carroll
    2. 2. Aims of this lesson • You should now be able to: • Consider if narrative theory can be used as a tool for discussing the storytelling methods used in films • Argue if the application of narrative theory is useful when considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre • Consider the usefulness of some narrative theory to explain the ideology and values hidden within horror film narratives
    3. 3. NARRATIVE THEORY • Be warned that some of what we have already discussed can come under narrative theory e.g. Noel Carroll theorising about the typical narrative structures of horror films. Also Kristen Thompson’s 4 act structure • We are now going to consider ‘traditional’ narrative theory, and it’s applications to the horror genre. Can narrative theory be used as a tool to explain how horror stories are communicated?
    4. 4. NARRATIVE THEORY • Tzvetan Todorov • Equilibrium – disequilibrium – resolution. • Vladimir Propp • Propp suggests that there are a limited number of character types that share a function • Claude Levi-Strauss • Narratives are structured by pairs of binary oppositions.
    5. 5. Todorov’s approach to narrative • There are five stages a narrative has to pass through: 1. The state of equilibrium (state of normality – good, bad or neutral). 2. An event disrupts the equilibrium (a character or an action). 3. The main protagonist recognises that the equilibrium has been disrupted. 4. Protagonist attempts to rectify this in order to restore equilibrium. 5. Equilibrium is restored but, because causal transformations have occurred, there are differences (good, bad, or neutral) from original equilibrium, which establish it as a new equilibrium.
    6. 6. Propp’s approach to narrative • Vladimir Propp studied hundreds of Russian folk and fairytales before deciding that all narratives have a common structure. • He observed that narratives are shaped and directed by certain types of characters and specific kinds of actions
    7. 7. Propp’s approach to narrative • Propp believed that there are seven roles which any character may assume in the story: • Villain - struggles with hero • Donor - prepares and/or provides hero with magical agent • Helper - assists, rescues, solves and/or transfigures the hero • Princess - a sought-for person (and/or her father) who exists as goal and often recognises and marries hero and/or punishes villain • Dispatcher - sends hero off • Hero - departs on a search (seeker-hero), reacts to donor and weds princess at end • False Hero - claims to be the hero, often seeking and reacting like a real hero
    8. 8. Claude Levi-Strauss’ approach to narrative • After studying hundreds of myths and legends from around the world, Levi-Strauss observed that we make sense of the world, people and events by seeing and using binary opposites everywhere. • He observed that all narratives are organised around the conflict between such binary opposites.
    9. 9. 9 Examples of binary opposites • Good vs. evil • Black vs. white • Boy vs. girl • Peace vs. war • Civilised vs. savage • Democracy vs. dictatorship • Conqueror vs. conquered • First world vs. third world • Domestic vs. foreign/alien • Articulate vs. inarticulate • Young vs. old • Man vs. nature • Protagonist vs. antagonist • Action vs. inaction • Motivator vs. observer • Empowered vs. victim • Man vs. woman • Good-looking vs. ugly • Strong vs. weak • Decisive vs. indecisive • East vs. west • Humanity vs. technology • Ignorance vs. wisdom
    10. 10. Meeting Objectives of the lesson • You should now be able to: • Discuss how narrative theory can be used as a tool for discussing the storytelling methods used in films • Argue if the application of narrative theory is useful when considering the distinctive or predictable traits of the horror genre • Consider the usefulness of some narrative theory to explain the ideology and values hidden within horror film narratives

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