Unit 1: Aspects of Narrative
AO1: Articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts using appropriate
terminology and concepts and coherent accurate written expression.
A02: Demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which
structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts.
A03: Explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by
interpreotations of other readers.
A04: Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which
literary texts are written and resolved.
AQA English Literature B
Know the structure and requirements of AS Literature with a
particular focus on Unit 1 Aspects of Narrative.
Consider and define the term Narrative.
Discuss the elements that create a narrative.
AQA English Literature B
1) Term 1: The Kite Runner
The Ancient Mariner
2) Term 2: The Great Gatsby
The Importance of
WHAT IS NARRATIVE?
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A
NARRATIVE AND A STORY?
Aspects of Narrative
What is the difference between Narrative and
A story is simply the list of events that happened
“all the various events that are going to be shown”
Narrative is the way a story is told: “How the events and causes are
shown and the various methods used to do this showing. Exploring aspects
of narrative involves looking at what the writer has chosen to include or not
include, and how this choice leads the reader to certain conclusions.
Plot: the chain of causes and circumstances that connect the various
events and place them into some sort of relationship with each other.
Choose an extract/fairytale and in pairs fill in
the following table
1) TO EXPLORE WHAT ELEMENTS MAKE UP A NARRATIVE.
2) TO ANALYSE AN EXTRACT AND IDENTIFTY THE
DIFFERENT ELEMENTS OF A NARRATIVE AND HOW THIS
AFFECTS THE STORY.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE INGREDIENTS
OF A NARRATIVE?
• SETTING AND OTHER PLACES.
• TIME AND SEQUENCE
• POINT OF VIEW
• OTHER VOICES
• CHARACTERS AND CHARACTERISATION
• FORM: GENRE ELEMENTS.
HE DIED A HERO
What is the story? Summarise the story in one line.
How is the story changed into a narrative?
Comment on some or all of the following:
1) Time and Sequence/Narrative Structure.
2) Point of View and Narrative voice.
4) Form: Genre Elements
CHANGE THESE STORIES TO MAKE
THEM MORE EMOTIVE
1. Man hit by robbers
2. One hundred soldiers killed by other troops.
3. Argument closes factory.
4. Train seats cut by teenagers.
5. Supporters run onto pitch.
6. Shortage of money creates problems in schools.
7. Trouble on roads after snowfall.
8. Player hits referee
9. House prices fall in Stevenage.
10.Political meeting ends in disturbance.
ON YOUR MINI-WHITEBOARDS:
What does the word story mean?
2. Write down the meaning of narrative.
3. Write down 5 aspects of narrative and what they
IT WAS 7 MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT. THE DOG WAS LYING ON
THE GRASS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LAWN IN FRONT OF
MRS SHEARS’ HOUSE. IT’S EYES WERE CLOSED. IT LOOKED AS
IF IT WAS RUNNING ON ITS SIDE, THE WAY DOGS RUN
WHEN THEY THINK THEY ARE CHASING A CAT IN A DREAM. BUT
THE DOG WAS NOT RUNNING OR ASLEEP. THE DOG WAS DEAD.
THERE WAS A GARDEN FORK STICKING OUT OF THE DOG. THE
POINTS OF THE FORK MUST HAVE GONE ALL THE WAY
THROUGH THE DOG AND INTO THE GROUND BECAUSE THE
FORK HAD NOT FALLEN OVER.
I BECAME WHAT I AM TODAY AT THE AGE OF TWELVE, ON A
FRIGID OVERCAST DAY IN THE WINTER OF 1975. I REMEMBER
THE PRECISE MOMENT CROUCHING BEHIND A CRUMBLING
MUD WALL PEEKING INTO THE ALLEY NEAR THE FROZEN
CREEK. THAT WAS A LONG TIME AGO, BUT IT’S WRONG WHAT
THEY SAY ABOUT THE PAST, I’VE LEARNED HOW YOU CAN
BURY IT. BECAUSE THE PAST CLAWS ITS WAY OUT. LOOKING
BACK NOW, I REALIZE I HAVE BEEN PEEKING INTO THAT
DESERTED ALLEY FOR THE LAST TWENTY-SIX YEARS.
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY
THE STUDIO WAS FILLED WITH THE RICH ODOUR OF ROSES,
AND WHEN THE LIGHT SUMMER WIND STIRRED AMIDST THE
TREES OF THE GARDEN, THERE CAME THROUGH THE OPEN
DOOR THE HEAVY SCENT OF THE LILAC, OR THE MORE
DELICATE PERFUME OF THE PINK-FLOWERING THORN.
From the corner of the divan of Persian saddle-bags on which he was
lying, smoking, as was his custom, innumerable cigarettes, Lord Henry
Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honeycoloured blossoms of a laburnum, whose tremulous branches seemed
hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flamelike as theirs; and now
and then the fantastic shadows of birds in flight flitted across the long
tussore-silk curtains that were stretched in front of the huge window,
producing a kind of momentary Japanese effect, and making him think of
those pallid, jade-faced painters of Tokyo who, through the medium of an
art that is necessarily immobile, seek to convey the sense of swiftness
and motion. The sullen murmur of the bees shouldering their way through
the long unmown grass, or circling with monotonous insistence round the
dusty gilt horns of the straggling woodbine, seemed to make the stillness
more oppressive. The dim roar of London was like the bourdon note of a
The beginning is simple to mark. We were in sunlight under a turkey oak,
partly protected from a strong gusty wind. I was kneeling on the grass with
a corkscrew in my hand and Clarissa was passing me the bottle- a 1987
Daumas Gassac. This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time
map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck and the black foil
touched my palm, we heard a man’s shout. We turned to look across the
field and saw the danger. Next thing, I was running towards it. The
transformation was absolute: I don’t recall dropping the corkscrew, or
getting to my feet, or making a decision, or hearing the caution Clarissa
called after me. What idiocy, to be racing into this story and its labyrinths,
sprinting away from our happiness among the fresh spring grasses by the
oak. There was the shout again, and a child’s cry, enfeebled by the wind
that roared in the tall trees along the hedgerows. I ran faster. And there,
suddenly, from different points around the field, four other men were
converging on the scene, running like me.
I SEE US FROM THREE HUNDRED FEET UP, THROUGH
THE EYES OF THE BUZZARD WE HAD WATCHED
EARLIER, SOARING, CIRCLING AND DIPPING IN THE
TUMULT OF CURRENTS: FIVE MEN RUNNING SILENTLY
TOWARDS THE CENTRE OF A HUNDRED ACRE FIELD. I
APPROACHED FROM THE SOUTH-EAST, WITH THE
WIND AT MY BACK.
On either side the river lie
Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Long fields of barley and of rye,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
Thro' the wave that runs for ever
And thro' the field the road runs by
By the island in the river
To many-tower'd Camelot;
Flowing down to Camelot.
And up and down the people go,
Four gray walls, and four gray towers,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Overlook a space of flowers,
round an island there below,
And the silent isle imbowers
The island of Shalott.
The Lady of Shalott.
HOW DO DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF
NARRATIVE TELL THE STORY?
CHOOSE YOUR OWN EXTRACT AND
ANNOTATE THE EXTRACT FOR THE
DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF NARRATIVE.
TIME AND SEQUENCE: KEY QUESTIONS
1. When do the key events occur?
2. Is there anything significant about the time in
which the story is set?
3. Is the story told in any particular/significant
ASPECTS OF NARRATIVE: TIME AND SEQUENCE
CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER: THE ACTUAL SEQUENCE OF EVENTS AS THEY HAPPEN.
1) A MURDER IS PLANNED AND CARRIED OUT.
2) A BODY IS FOUND THAT YIELDS EVIDENCE.
3) THE DETECTIVE PURSUES A NUMBER OF CLUES AND IDENTIFIES THE KILLER.
4) A VIOLENT SHOOT-OUT LEADS TO THE DEATH OF THE VILLAIN.
5) THIS LEADS TO ANOTHER REVENGE KILLING.
REFERS TO HOW TEXTS BEGIN, THE WORK THE AUTHOR DOES FOR
THE READER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TEXT. ESTABLISHMENT CAN
INVOLVE INTRODUCING PEOPLE, PLACES, TIME AND SO ON.
___________Narrative: A story that starts at the end. Books may
construct the whole narrative around one flashback and then return to
where they began.
____________Narrative: Events usually unfold chronologically. The
structure is comparable to how fictional books use chapters to break up a
story. These usually follow on sequentially.
___________Narrative: This structure is the most simple and commonly
used narrative structure; it refers to a structure that is told in the order in
which events happen from beginning to end. These are sometimes known
as cause’ and ‘effect’ narratives.
Linear, Episodic, Circular.
1. May also be a dual narrative.
E.g. One Day.
3. Fragmented Narrative.
1. Starts at the start and ends at the end.
2. E.g. Harry Potter.
EMBEDDED NARRATIVE / FRAMING DEVICE
• A STORY WITHIN A STORY.
• FRAMING DEVICE: INTRODUCES THE STORY AND JUSTIFIES WHY IT’S
TOLD. GIVES BACKGROUND INFO.
HOW TO SPOT IT: IF A CHARACTER IS SUDDENLY REMINDED OF
SOMETHING, SO HAS A FLASHBACK OR TELLS A SECONDARY STORY
THAT INFORMS THE MAIN PLOT, THE THING THAT REMINDED THEM IS
THE FRAMING DEVICE. THE STORY ITSELF IS THE EMBEDDED
WHY? GIVE BACKGROUND INFO/RELEVANT INFORMATION ALLOW THE
WRITER TO EXPLORE A CHARACTER FURTHER, OR GIVE CERTAIN
ACTIONS CONTEXT OR JUSTIFICATION.
REORDER THE MURDER SEQUENCE AND/OR
REORDER YOUR FAIRYTALE.
KEY TERMS: NARRATIVE STRUCTURE
2. Rising Action
Choose any book that you have read
and identify these key points.
Does more than one event fit these
OTHER STRUCTURAL FEATURES
CRISIS (SIGNIFICANT MOMENT)
CHARACTERS AND CHARACTERISATION
1. To explore how writers present characters?
2. To explore how characters can be used to influence a
What are the significant character traits?
How are these traits revealed?
How are the character traits revealed through the
form/structure and language.
DRAW ONE OF THE FOLLOWING CHARACTERS.
CAN YOU NAME YOUR CHARACTER?
Label the features.
•FRENCHMAN Why have you chosen these
Stereotypes, Archetypes and Generic Types
________ ___________An instantly recognisable representation of a character
that has been in use for a very long time.
______________________ A certain personality or type of person seen
repeatedly in a particular genre.
____________________Simple characters that are only very superficial and
depend on our knowledge of clichés to recognise them
Narrative Persona: the unnamed “I” who sometimes narrates a story.
The false hero
The father of the princess
AN EXTRACT FROM MARINER
•LIST THE FEATURES OF THE MARINER.
•WHAT ARCHETYPE DOES HE FIT?
•HOW IS THE MARINER DESCRIBED?
•CONSIDER THE LANGUAGE USED.
How does the Mariner challenge stereotypes?
How do characters go beyond stereotypes?
THE ANCIENT MARINER
It is an ancient mariner,
And he stoppeth one of three
‘By thy long grey beard and glittering eye,
Now wherefore stop’st thou me?
The bridegroom’s doors are opened wide,
And I am next of kin
The guests are met, the feast is set:
May’st hear the merry din’,
He holds him with his skinny hand,
‘There was a ship’ quoth he.
“Hold off! Unhand me grey-beard loon’.
Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
He Holds him with his glittering eyeThe wedding guest stood still,
And listens like a three years’ child:
The Mariner hath his will.
The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed mariner.
AN EXTRACT FROM KITE RUNNER
HOW IS HASAN PRESENTED?
THE KITE RUNNER I used to climb the poplar trees in the driveway of
When we were children, Hassan and
my father’s house and annoy the neighbours by reflecting sunlight into their homes
with a shard of mirror. We would sit across from each other on a pair of high branches.
We took turns with the mirror as we ate the mulberries, pelted each other with
them, giggling. Laughing. I can still see Hassan up on that tree, sunlight flickering
through the leaves on his almost perfectly round face, a face like a Chinese doll
chiselled from hardwood: his flat, broad nose and slanting, narrow eyes like bamboo
leaves, eyes that looked, depending on the light, gold, green even sapphire. I can still
see his tiny low-set ears and that pointed snub of a chin, a meaty appendage that
looked like it was added as a mere afterthought. And the cleft lip, just left of midline, where the Chinese doll maker’s instrument may have slipped or perhaps he had
simply grown tired and careless.
Sometimes up in those trees, I talked to Hassan into firing walnuts with his slingshot at
the neighbour’s one-eyed German Shepherd. Hassan never wanted to, but if I asked
really asked, he wouldn’t deny me. Hassan never denied me anything.
That in the mortar---you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,---is that poison too?
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!
Soon, at the King's, a mere lozenge to give,
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!
THE LOVELY BONES
My name was Salmon, like the fish: first name Susie. I was fourteen when I was
murdered on December 6 1973. In newspaper photos of missing girls from the
seventies, most looked like me: white girls with mousy brown hair. This was
before kids of all races and genders started appearing on milk cartons or in the
daily mail. It was still back when people believed things like that didn’t happen.
In my junior high yearbook I had a quote from a Spanish poet my sister had
turned me on to, Juan Ramon Jimenez. It went like this: If they give you ruled
paper, write the other way. I chose it both because it expressed my contempt
for my structured surroundings a la the classroom and beause not being some
dopey quote from a rock group. I thought it marked me as literary. I was a
member of the chess club and chem club and burned everything I tried to make
in Mrs Delminico’s home ec class.