Narrative Structure
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Over the top of this frame, there is narration from a radio host saying “It is a beautiful day in...
Over the top of this establishing shot, we hear a female voice call “What’s
wrong? For Christ sake, look at him, Honey!”. ...
This is the first character we see in the film, so we understand he is very
important to the film. Also, we hear diagetic ...
The low angle shot enables us to see the worried facial expression the parents
have. It shows us how gullible and ignorant...
Here, is the introduction to a new character, Jeanie. These are two examples of
Barthes’ Action Codes. The first, Jeanie i...
Jeanie represents the “Villian” character type in Propp’s theory, because she is
actively trying to block Ferris’ wish to ...
We see Ferris tormenting Jeanie, which shows and heightens the binary
opposites they have. It also exercises the “Enigma” ...
Here, Ferris talks directly to the audience. He says “They bought it”. It suggests
that he will repeatedly talk to the aud...
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Narrative Structure Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Analysis of the narrative structure in the opening sequence.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Narrative Structure Ferris Bueller's Day Off

  • 1. Narrative Structure Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • 2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Over the top of this frame, there is narration from a radio host saying “It is a beautiful day in Chicago today”. This is the first stage of Todorov’s equilibrium theory- equilibrium. It describes a normal day in Chicago. This sets some of the context in the film, because we know that it is set in Chicago, America, and we know that the location of the film will influence the narrative that takes place.
  • 3. Over the top of this establishing shot, we hear a female voice call “What’s wrong? For Christ sake, look at him, Honey!”. This suggests there is a disruption to the equilibrium, because it suggests there is an issue with Ferris. This means the film is in the second phase of Todorov’s theory. The establishing shot provides some context for the audience about the film. The mis en scene suggests that it is set in a house, where the family is fairly wealthy. So, from this we can assume the people talking are parents, and Ferris is a child. This shot is also an example of Bathes’ Referential Code. It shows the lifestyle of a typical, wealthy, American family.
  • 4. This is the first character we see in the film, so we understand he is very important to the film. Also, we hear diagetic sound from who we can assume are his parents, who call “Ferris” 4 times up to this shot. So we quickly learn that he is in fact Ferris. Because the title of the film is “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” so we can recognise him to be the protagonist. This shot exercises Barthes “Semantic” code. Ferris appears to be ill but his intentions are to fool his parents so he doesn’t have to go to school.
  • 5. The low angle shot enables us to see the worried facial expression the parents have. It shows us how gullible and ignorant they are, which is one of the reasons Ferris is allowed to take a day off of school. For this reason they could be seen as the “Helper” in Propp’s theory of characters.
  • 6. Here, is the introduction to a new character, Jeanie. These are two examples of Barthes’ Action Codes. The first, Jeanie is tapping her foot, the second, her fingers tapping her waist. These suggest she is going to interupt because she is irritated and impatient. This also suggests that her character is hot-headed. It is important for films to be able to portray the different types of characters quickly, so the audience are engaged.
  • 7. Jeanie represents the “Villian” character type in Propp’s theory, because she is actively trying to block Ferris’ wish to spend the day off. We know this because she tells their parents that Ferris is lying about being ill. “Yeah right. Dry that one out, you can fertillise the lawn”. Their relationship also exercises Levi-Strauss’ idea of binary opposites- brother vs. sister, boy vs. girl and good vs. evil. The opposites help create an interesting narrative. For example, in this film, Jeanie later tries to catch Ferris out so he gets in trouble, and we see how Ferris is able to avoid it.
  • 8. We see Ferris tormenting Jeanie, which shows and heightens the binary opposites they have. It also exercises the “Enigma” code, making the audience question why he actually wants the day off of school. This shows that his character is quite clever and cheeky, which allows the audience to believe that the rather unrealistic narrative could be real.
  • 9. Here, Ferris talks directly to the audience. He says “They bought it”. It suggests that he will repeatedly talk to the audience, telling us his thoughts and feelings, and saying things he wouldn’t necessarily say to other characters. It gives us an insight to the narrative from his perspective.