Todorov’s Narrative Theory
By Georgia St Louis
AS Media
• Izetan Todorov was a Bulgarian structuralist
linguist publishing influential work on narrative
from the 1960s onwards) T...
Todorov suggested that conventional narratives are
structured in five stages:
1) A state of equilibrium at the outset.
2) ...
Equilibrium
• The state of equilibrium is the point in the film
mainly at the beginning where there is a calm
ambience tha...
The disruption
• This is when the equilibrium becomes destroyed,
becoming the disequilibrium through a problem
the protago...
The recognition
• For there to be a solution to the disequilibrium
that has occurred the protagonist has to
recognise the ...
The attempt to repair the
situation
• Before the central protagonist ‘saves the day’
there has to be a unsuccessful attemp...
Reinstatement of the Equilibrium
• This is when the equilibrium at the beginning is
restored to its original calm and tran...
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Todorovs Narrative Theory

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Todorovs Narrative Theory

  1. 1. Todorov’s Narrative Theory By Georgia St Louis AS Media
  2. 2. • Izetan Todorov was a Bulgarian structuralist linguist publishing influential work on narrative from the 1960s onwards) Todorov suggested that stories begin with an equilibrium or status quo where any potentially opposing forces are in balance. • This is disrupted by some event, setting in chain a series of events. Problems are solved so that order can be restored to the world of the fiction.
  3. 3. Todorov suggested that conventional narratives are structured in five stages: 1) A state of equilibrium at the outset. 2) A disruption of the equilibrium by some action. 3) A recognition that there has been a disruption. 4) An attempt to repair the disruption. 5) A reinstatement of the equilibrium. This type of narrative structure is very familiar to us and can be applied to many ‘mainstream’ film narratives.
  4. 4. Equilibrium • The state of equilibrium is the point in the film mainly at the beginning where there is a calm ambience that is eventually destroyed towards the middle of the film. • It is where the happiness is shown in a family, or a group of friends.
  5. 5. The disruption • This is when the equilibrium becomes destroyed, becoming the disequilibrium through a problem the protagonist comes across, such as an argument or something that would abolish the happiness created at the beginning. • It is used to show the rising action and it helps to build up tension within the film.
  6. 6. The recognition • For there to be a solution to the disequilibrium that has occurred the protagonist has to recognise the problem or the destruction of joy. • Moreover, there has to be some glimmer of hope for the protagonist, so an epiphany must become apparent.
  7. 7. The attempt to repair the situation • Before the central protagonist ‘saves the day’ there has to be a unsuccessful attempt at the same situation to give the determined attitude typical of the archetypal protagonist. • This also helps to build the tension, as the audience begins to doubt the indomitability of the protagonist.
  8. 8. Reinstatement of the Equilibrium • This is when the equilibrium at the beginning is restored to its original calm and tranquil ambience that occurred before its destruction. • This stops the audience’s doubt of the protagonist’s invincibility as they have finally completed the ‘impossible’ task.

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