Todorov Narrative Theory- Todorov suggested that stories begin with an equilibrium (or normality).- This is disrupted by an event which causes a disequilibrium which then causes other chain of events to occur.- In the end the problem is solved and everything is restored back to its equilibrium.
Task 1 This is the first task for Todorovs theory. I had to analyse disruption/conflicts and then the resolutions in each of these genres.
Todorov suggests that there are 5 stagesof narrative: Equilibrium (or normality). Disequilibrium (conflict/disruption of equilibrium by action or event). Recognition of Disequilibrium (disruption/conflict). Attempt to repair. New Equilibrium.
Task 2 An example of a film with these five stages is ‘The Hunger Games’.
EquilibriumIn the beginning of the film everything is at equilibrium and its just introducingthe main protagonist. The main protagonist - Teenage girl Katniss has gone beyond her district to hunt in the forest. Her hunting in the woods represents her practice for the Hunger Games if she was ever to be chosen.
DisequilibriumThen we have the disequilibrium/disruption caused by the event when Katniss’ sistergets chosen to be tribute. Katniss then volunteers as tribute. This is a sign of self-sacrifice. Her relationship with her sister is very strong. Katniss was willing to sacrifice her own life to save her sister.
Recognition of disequilibriumKatniss then recognises what she has gotten herself into. Katniss knows that she probably might not be able to see her family again. The tragic part of this is that she doesn’t have much time to say goodbye. She promises her sister that will try and win the game for her.
Attempt to repair disequilibriumKatniss attempts to live throughout the film.She is surrounded by difficulties.Examples:The game makers create a huge fire to The death of little Rue, makes Katniss’kill or lure Katniss to the centre of the character seem to become more strongergame where the other district are. and more determined to win the game.
New equilibriumIn the end, Katniss and her companion Peeta win the game together. Katniss thenreturns back home to her family and friends. This is the scene where Katniss and Peeta win the Hunger Games.
Levi-Strauss exampleThis is an example of what Levi-Strauss meant by the oppositions in film:
He believed that our world is described in BINARY OPPOSITES. When we look at themes within stories they consists of differences, contradictions and conflict or opposites. BINARY OPPOSITES night day Young old Good Bad light dark male female
Genre: DramaFilm: Opposite 1 Opposite 2 ExplanationPS: I Love You Husband who has Wife is alive, healthy. The husband had a brain tumour. died. He dies. The wife discovers many letters that the husband wrote to her before his death.
Genre: ActionFilm: Opposite 1 Opposite 2 ExplanationSpiderman Spiderman is seen as a Costumes presents the character as a It is conventional to see binary hero. He saves the victim. binary opposite to Spiderman. The opposites in Action films because there costumes mask shows that the green is always a hero and a villain. goblin is rebellious and evil. Sometimes it can be between the hero and his sidekick.
Genre: HorrorFilm: Opposite 1 Opposite 2 ExplanationThe Ring The girl (creature) The woman and the child It is conventional to see climbing out of the TV is are both victims. binary opposites in Horror the villain. films because there is always a victim(s) and a villain.
Barthes theoryBarthes theory is similar to Todorov’s theory. The audiences experience ofthe narrative involves anticipation and expectation of a resolution todisruption/conflict
Barthes theory continued…Barthes theory of codes encourage the audience to seek answers and clues to makethem anticipate the outcomes.These codes are identified as the:- Enigma code- Action code- Semantic code- Symbolic code- Cultural code
Barthes – Enigma codeKey word: EnigmaEnigma means a question that is not immediately answered and thus draws anaudience into a text. An example of an enigma code would be from the film: SAW 3 Who is behind this? Who is responsible? Why is there chains attached to this characters body?
Barthes – Action codeCodes of behaviour and actions that lead audiences to expect certain consequences.Romance Thriller/Mystery ActionAction: Action: Action:They are on the edge of the boat Killer/ villain tries to find victim. Hero (spiderman) and villain(greenimagining they are flying above the water. Girl is shown hiding from the killer. goblin)battle.Assumption: Assumption: Assumption:They gaze into each others eyes and kiss Villain will find the victim. One character always dies.passionately. Then fall in love. Villain will kill the victim. The villain is always destroyed by the hero.
Barthes – Semantic code Connotative meanings of characters, objects, locations. Example: COLOUR Red dress Blue lighting The colour red represents The colour blue in this sexuality, passion and scene connotes that it is love. sterile.Romance film (Pretty Woman) Horror/Mystery/Thriller film (The Ring)
Barthes – Symbolic code Symbolic features often signify oppositions and antithesis. An example of the symbolic code would be the film ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’. FEMALE VICTIMS MALE VILLAINSFemale victims connote vulnerability.
Barthes – Cultural codeOutside of text and knowledge we commonly share to bring understanding of themeaning in the text.It is often referred to things in popular culture or historical events.Example of a film that uses the cultural code is ‘Romeo & Juliet’.In the film ‘Romeo & Juliet’ there are a wide range of modern interpretations we knows as modern.Examples: the petrol stations, multicultural environment, locations, drugs, guns etc.
Propp’s theoryPropp studied folklore, fairy tales and legends in many countries.Propp noticed many similarities in them such as:- Similar character types and same problems.Propp formed 2 theories.1st – 7 distinctive character types called ‘Spheres of Action’.2nd – 31 functionsREMEMBER:These stories are often children’s tales which need to be simplistic.
Propp – 7 ‘Spheres of Action’ These are the following 7 distinctive character types:1. Hero2. Villain3. Dispatcher4. Donor5. Helper6. Heroine7. False hero
Propp – HeroThe hero is on a quest.A hero is traditionally a male (not always) because they are the more dominantgender role.The heroes role is to repair the disequilibrium by defeating the villain(s). In the film ‘The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen is represented as the hero
Propp - Villain The villain(s) opposes the hero. The villain(s) is the cause of disruption/conflict. The villain(s) is commonly known as a threat to the heroines safety.These characters are portrayed as the villains. I believe this character is the main villain.They look more stronger and dominant. This character invented the game.They look at the fellow competitors as if they were a This character allows the people to die and doesn’tmeal(weaklings). show any sympathy.
Propp - DispatcherThe dispatcher starts the hero on its way to restore the disequlibrium.Usually the dispatcher is the father of the hero or the heroine.The dispatcher sends the hero off to show and prove their worth. In the film ‘The Hunger Games ‘ Cinna is Katniss’ impressionist designer. Cinna is represented as paternalistic (father figure). Cinna sends Katniss on her way to prove her strength and her might throughout the games.
Propp – DonorThe donor helps the hero by giving them some sort of gift to help them on their journey.This gift can be either advice, a skill or an object (like a weapon). In this scene, Haymitch is giving Katniss advice before she enters the game. Haymitch tells Katniss what she must do and what she must not do when the game begins.
Propp - HelperThe helper assists the hero in repairing the normality/ equilibrium.The helper is somewhat a sidekick to the hero.The helper is either with the hero all the time or someone the hero meets along the way.An example of a helper is the little girl ‘Rue’in the film ‘The Hunger Games’. In this scene, Katniss is stuck in a tree. The villains from the other districts are down below waiting for Kanitss to come down so they can kill her. Rue is in the tree next to Katniss and points Katniss to the bee nest and tells her to chop the branch down so the nest will fall on the ones below.
Propp - HeroineThe heroine is commonly known as the reference to princess.The heroine is usually a female in the traditional narratives (but not always).The heroine is usually the vulnerable character who is under threat by the villain andseeks the rescuing from the hero.The heroine is known for being in love with the hero and ends up with the hero.
Propp – False heroThe false is initially on the same side as the hero but them deceives and betrays thehero.The false hero usually tempts the hero away from his/her quest.There is no false hero in the film ‘The Hunger Games’.Here is an example of a false hero from another film: Cinderella’s stepsisters are the false heroes. At the time of the ball, Cinderella is ready to go. The stepsisters prevent Cinderella from arriving at the ball by destroying her dress into shreds. This drags Cinderella away from her quest to meet the Prince.
Propp – 31 functionsThis is Propp’s 2nd theory.Propp identified31 functions whichmotivate the storyand structure ofthe narrative.
DiegesisThe internal world created by the story that the characters themselves experience andencounter.To sum up, it means the world the characters live in, which is shown through TV or film. Avatar is a film that includes diegesis.
Narrative range – UnrestrictedUnrestricted narration is a narrative which has nolimits to the information that is presented. It doesnot hide any pieces of information from theaudience. This documentary film is a look at the annual journey of Emperor penguins as they march -- single file -- to their traditional breeding ground.
Narrative range - RestrictedRestricted narration only offers minimal information regarding thenarrative. It does hide some information from the audience.Restricted narration hide some information to create an enigma ormystery.This is usually seen from thriller films. The Ring is a restricted film because it hides the information of who this girl is.
Modular narratives (in contemporarycinema)Modular narratives express a sense of time which can be detachable and mayhave manipulation.The different types of modular narratives are:- Forking path- Episodic- Anachronic- Split screen
Modular narrative – ForkingpathThe forking path narrative introduces a number of plotlines that usuallycontradict one another. A film that has the modular narrative of a forking path is ‘Sliding Doors’.
Modular narrative – AnachronicModular narratives involve the use of flashbacks and/or flash-forwards.There is no clear dominance between any of the narrative threads.These narratives often repeat the scene directly or through a different perspective.A great film example would be 4321 Person B Person C Person A Person D