Structuralism & Narratology

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An introduction for students of literature who are looking to gain a basic understanding of the origin and principles of structurlism and narratology when applied to text.

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Structuralism & Narratology

  1. 1. Structuralism & Narratology<br />
  2. 2. Born in 1950’s FranceArrived in 1970’s Britain<br />
  3. 3. Ferdinand de SaussureLinguist<br />
  4. 4. Claude Levi-StraussAnthropologist<br />
  5. 5. Roland BarthesLiterary Critic<br />
  6. 6. Structuralism in a nutshell:Things cannot be understood in isolation – they must be seen in the context of the larger structures that they are part of.<br />
  7. 7. Unlike Liberal Humanism, a Structuralist approach takes you further and further from the text<br />
  8. 8.
  9. 9. The Liberal Humanist Approach<br />We must look closely at the egg – we need not concern ourselves with the chicken!<br />
  10. 10. The Structuralist Approach<br />Determining the precise nature of the chicken is essential if we are to say anything intelligent about eggs!<br />
  11. 11. Structuralism was a radical revisioning of literary studies and caused heated debate<br />
  12. 12. Structuralists concern themselves with how meaning is established and maintained <br />
  13. 13. And focus upon the patterns and functions of language<br />
  14. 14. The meaning of words is ARBITARY and maintained by convention only – language is a separate system <br />
  15. 15. Words are RELATIONAL and mutually defining<br />Mansion<br />Hut<br />House<br />Palace<br />Shed<br />Hovel<br />
  16. 16. Words exist in ‘differencing networks’ and this is most apparent in ‘dyads’<br />
  17. 17. Language CONSTITUTES our world rather than just labels and records itMeaning is ATTRIBUTED and is not already contained in the thing<br />Terrorist <br />or <br />freedom fighter?<br />
  18. 18. The natural cycles of the world are continuous – the division into 4 ‘seasons’ is constructed but as a consequence we see the world in these terms<br />
  19. 19. The spectrum of colours is seamless and yet we contrive to suggest that there are 7 basic colours<br />
  20. 20. Can you think of other examples of how language ‘constitutes’ reality rather than faithfully identifies something that is already in the world?<br />
  21. 21. So, we come to see that language is:ArbitraryRelationalConstitutive<br />
  22. 22. Structuralism broadens its scope to include other sign systems as well as literary texts – any of which can be ‘read’<br />
  23. 23. Roland Barthes, in his 1957 text ‘Mythologies’ applied Structuralist analysis to combative arts in popular entertainment<br />
  24. 24. The two forms of entertainment present very different codes and sets of meanings – consequently they are rarely mixed!<br />
  25. 25. By placing each in a wider context, layers of significance are revealed that might not of otherwise been noticed – this is the basic principle of a Structuralist approach<br />
  26. 26. Narratology is a branch of Structuralism that studies the nature of ‘story’ rather than individual tales in isolation<br />
  27. 27. A distinction is made between:Story – the events as they happenedPlot – the edited, ordered, packaged and presented narrative<br />
  28. 28. We look for:ParallelsEchoesReflectionsRepetitionsContrastsPatterns<br />
  29. 29. And we find them in:<br />PlotStructureSettingCharacterImageryThemesLanguage<br />
  30. 30. Looking for patterns between stories was not something new but Narratologists developed and extended the study.<br />
  31. 31. Aristotle (Poetics)<br />Hamartia (sin / Fault)<br />Peripeteia (reversal)<br />Anagnorisis (realisation of truth)<br />These are all notably ‘inner events’<br />
  32. 32. Vladimir Propp(The Morphology of the Folktale 1928)<br />31 Functions<br />Spheres of Action<br />Concerned with events, not character<br />
  33. 33. Gerard Genette(Narrative Discourse 1972)<br />6 Questions of plot<br />Concerned with the process of telling itself<br />
  34. 34. 1 – Narrative mode<br />Mimetic or Diegetic?<br />
  35. 35. 2 – Focalization<br />External<br />Internal<br />Zero focalization<br />
  36. 36. 3 – Authorial Persona<br />Covert<br />Non intrusive<br />Non dramatised<br />Overt<br />Intrusive<br />Dramatised<br />Heterodiegetic<br />Homodiegetic<br />
  37. 37. 4- Control of time<br />Analepsis<br />Prolepsis<br />Chronological<br />
  38. 38. 5 – Packaging & Frames<br />Primary / Frame narrative<br />Secondary / Embedded narrative<br />Single ended (()<br />Double ended (())<br />Intrusive ((((()...<br />
  39. 39. 6- Speech and Thought Representation<br />Direct & tagged<br />Direct & selectively tagged<br />Indirect tagged<br />Indirect free<br />
  40. 40. “Why,” John asked her. <br />“I am in love,” she replied.<br />“Why,” John asked. <br />“I am in love.”<br />John asked her to explain herself and she told him that she was in love.<br />Why had she behaved like that? Perhaps she was in love.<br />
  41. 41. So, to summarise...<br />
  42. 42. Narratology involves the study of:Recurrent structuresThe process of telling over what is toldAffinities between texts<br />
  43. 43. By combining the models of study employed by a range of Structuralists, we may uncover new meanings inherent in text<br />
  44. 44. We do not need to reject close textual analysis in order to take advantage of Structuralist practices!<br />
  45. 45. Use all the tools at your disposal to explore text<br />

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