Narrative research task
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative research task
Chosen Film: Divergent
In this task, I am researching the narrative of my
chosen thriller film ‘Divergent’. I will focus on
three particular theorists and how their theories
could apply to my chosen film. The theorists I
will be looking at are:
In the 1960’s Todorov developed his theory on narrative. In this
theory, Todorov stated that there were five stages to a narrative. These
1. The Equilibrium – A happy start to the media
2. A disruption by an event – A problem occurs.
3. The realisation that a disruption has
4. Repairing the disruption – fixing the problem.
5. A new Equilibrium occurs – A happy ending.
Todorov’s theory only slightly fits the film Divergent. In
divergent there is no equilibrium, the film starts off quite sad as
Tris has to chose between her family and where she wants to be,
as well as finding out something dangerous about her self.
However, starting her new life in Dauntless could class as the
equilibrium. Finding out that Dauntless was not as good as she
thought it would be and her having to hide that she is Divergent
could class as the problem. Partly though the film when she is
talking to Tori, it occurs to her there is actually a problem, fitting
with the third stage in Todorov’s theory. However, the film seems
to stray away from a happy ending as Tris is forced to kill her
friend and watch her parents die, as well as almost being killed
by her own boyfriend. You could say that her on the train,
heading for a new life could class as the new equilibrium but the
actual problem is never really solved.
Todorov’s Theory in
Propp’s theory is that in all stories there are 7 main character
types typically used. These are:
The villain (struggles against the hero)
The donor (prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical
The (magical) helper (helps the hero in the quest)
The princess (person the hero marries, often sought for during
The false hero (perceived as good character in beginning but
emerges as evil)
The dispatcher (character who makes the lack known and
sends the hero off)
The hero (AKA victim/seeker/paladin/winner, reacts to the
donor, weds the princess. Usually fixes the main problem of
The villain – Jeanine, the head of Erudite
The donor – There is no donor present in this film.
The (magical) helper – Tris’ friend Christina could
count as the helper as she often aids Tris throughout
The princess – In this film the ‘princess’ is a male,
Four/Tobias as he is the person Tris strives to be with at
the end of her ‘quest’.
The false hero – There is no false hero present in this
The dispatcher – This could be Tori, the tattoo artist
who reveals who Tris really is.
The hero – This is Tris, while this is typically a male
role, in this film it is a female.
Propp’s Theory in
Claude Levi-Strauss' theory is named binary
opposition. It says that each main theme or force
in a narrative has an equal and an opposite. For
example; Good/Evil, Light/Dark, Wrong/Right.
Binary Oppositions in Divergent:
Strength/Weakness - The film focuses on Tris
ability to be strong and not weak, like they
think she is.
Right/Wrong - Tris must battle with whether
what she is doing is wrong or right.
Levi-Strauss in Divergent