Introducing ‘narrative’
What does narrative mean?
 The way that stories are told, how meaning is constructed
to achieve the understanding of th...
Why is narrative important to us?
We use narratives or stories to make sense of our lives and the
world around us. There...
Approaches to studying narrative
 There are many ways of looking at and
thinking about narratives.
 For nearly 2300 y...
Aristotle
Over 2000 years ago the Greek philosopher
Aristotle observed that all narratives have:
 a beginning
 a mid...
Five-stage narrative structure
 Exposition – setting scene and introducing characters:-
Little Red Riding Hood has to t...
Todorov’s approach to narrative
 Todorov suggests that all narratives begin with
equilibrium or an initial situation (w...
Todorov’s approach to narrative
There are five stages a narrative has to pass
Through:
1. The state of equilibrium (sta...
Todorov’s approach to narrative
 In these stages, narrative is not seen as a linear
structure but a circular one. The n...
Propp’s approach to narrative
 Vladimir Propp studied hundreds of Russian folk and
fairytales before deciding that all ...
Propp’s approach to narrative
Propp believed that there are eight roles which any character may assume
in the story:
 ...
Propp’s 31 narrative functions
Path B: Unrecognised arrival, task,
recognition, punishment, wedding
23. Hero, unrecogni...
An example: Star Wars
The hero
is dispatched on a search,
struggles with and defeats
the villain, marries the
Princes...
An example: Star Wars
The dispatcher
directs the hero to depart on the
search. The dispatcher is usually
introduced in...
An example: Star Wars
The villain
Near the beginning of the
tale the villain performs an
act of villainy. Later the
v...
An example: Star Wars
The helper
helps the hero search out
and struggle with the Villain
and generally provides
assis...
An example: Star Wars
The donor
provides the hero with a
magical agent that will help in
the pursuit of, and struggle ...
An example: Star Wars
The false hero
Who disrupts the hero’s
success by making false claims.
See Point 28 above - The ...
An example: Star Wars The Princess (and/or her
Father) assign the hero tasks to
perform, recognise the Hero
when he ret...
An example: Star Wars
The Princess’ Father
(= The Rebellion)
who acts to reward the Hero for
his efforts
Claude Lévi-Strauss
Binary Oppositions
 After studying hundreds of myths and legends
from around the world, Levi-Strau...
Claude Levi-Strauss’s approach
to narrative
 As well as Aristotle deciding that 'all drama is
conflict' in the 4th cen...
Examples of binary opposites
 Good vs evil
 Black vs white
 Boy vs girl
 Peace vs war
 Civilised vs savage
 De...
Summary of Structuralism
A Structuralist approach to film narrative
argues:
 That there is an underlying structure,
w...
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Narrative theories brief version

Over view of these structuralist ideas about narrative including Propp, Todoorv and Levi-Strauss.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Education      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Narrative theories brief version

  • 1. Introducing ‘narrative’
  • 2. What does narrative mean?  The way that stories are told, how meaning is constructed to achieve the understanding of the audience.  Groups events into cause and effect – action and inaction.  Organises time and space in very compressed form.  The voice of the narrative can vary; whose story is being told and from whose perspective?  Narrative plot refers to everything audibly or visibly present, i.e. selective.  Narrative story refers to all the events, explicitly presented or referred.  In film, narrative is constructed through elements like camerawork, lighting, sound, mise-en-scene and editing.
  • 3. Why is narrative important to us? We use narratives or stories to make sense of our lives and the world around us. There are different ways in which we use the narrative form:  As children we listen to fairytales and myths/legends. As we grow older, we read short stories, novels, history and biographies.  Religion is often presented through a collection of stories/moral tales e.g. the Koran, the Bible, the Ramayana, etc.  Scientific breakthrough is often presented as stories of an experimenter/scientist’s trials.  Cultural phenomena such as plays, films, dance and paintings tell stories.  News events are told as stories.  Dreams are retold as stories.
  • 4. Approaches to studying narrative  There are many ways of looking at and thinking about narratives.  For nearly 2300 years various ‘thinkers’, philosophers and theorists have tried to explain how narratives work.
  • 5. Aristotle Over 2000 years ago the Greek philosopher Aristotle observed that all narratives have:  a beginning  a middle  an end
  • 6. Five-stage narrative structure  Exposition – setting scene and introducing characters:- Little Red Riding Hood has to take food to grandmother who is ill  Development – situation develops, more characters introduced:- She sets out through woods where wolf is lurking  Complication – something happens to complicate lives of characters:-She meets wolf, he delays her and rushes ahead and ties up grandmother  Climax – decisive moment reached; matters come to head; suspense high:-She arrives, comments on size of grandmother’s ears, etc., Wolf eats her up  Resolution – matters are resolved and satisfactory end is reached :- Wolf falls asleep, passing forester investigates noise, rescues grandmother from cupboard and Red Riding Hood by cutting Wolf’s stomach open
  • 7. Todorov’s approach to narrative  Todorov suggests that all narratives begin with equilibrium or an initial situation (where everything is balanced).  This is followed by some form of disruption, which is later resolved.  With the resolution at the end of the narrative a new equilibrium is usually established.
  • 8. Todorov’s approach to narrative There are five stages a narrative has to pass Through: 1. The state of equilibrium (state of normality – good, bad or neutral). 2. An event disrupts the equilibrium (a character or an action). 3. The main protagonist recognises that the equilibrium has been disrupted. 4. Protagonist attempts to rectify this in order to restore equilibrium. 5. Equilibrium is restored but, because causal transformations have occurred, there are differences (good, bad, or neutral) from original equilibrium, which establish it as a new equilibrium.
  • 9. Todorov’s approach to narrative  In these stages, narrative is not seen as a linear structure but a circular one. The narrative is driven by attempts to restore the equilibrium. However, the equilibrium attained at the end of the story is not identical to the initial equilibrium.  Todorov argues that narrative involves a transformation. The characters or the situations are transformed through the progress of the disruption. The disruption itself usually takes place outside the normal social framework, outside the ‘normal’ social events (e.g., a murder happens and people are terrified or someone vanishes and the characters have to solve the mystery).
  • 10. Propp’s approach to narrative  Vladimir Propp studied hundreds of Russian folk and fairytales before deciding that all narratives have a common structure.  He observed that narratives are shaped and directed by certain types of characters and specific kinds of actions  He believed that there are 31 possible stages or functions in any narrative.  These may not all appear in a single story, but nevertheless always appear in the same sequence.  A function is a plot motif or event in the story.  A tale may skip functions but it cannot shuffle their unvarying order.
  • 11. Propp’s approach to narrative Propp believed that there are eight roles which any character may assume in the story:  Villain - struggles with hero  Donor - prepares and/or provides hero with magical agent  Helper - assists, rescues, solves and/or transfigures the hero  Princess - a sought-for person (and/or her father) who exists as goal and often recognises and marries hero and/or punishes villain  Dispatcher - sends hero off  Hero - departs on a search (seeker-hero), reacts to donor and weds at end  False Hero - claims to be the hero, often seeking and reacting like a real hero  Princess’ father – rewards the hero
  • 12. Propp’s 31 narrative functions Path B: Unrecognised arrival, task, recognition, punishment, wedding 23. Hero, unrecognised, arrived home or in another country. 24. False hero presents unfounded claims. 25. Difficult task is proposed to hero (trial by drink, riddle, test of strength). 26. Task is resolved or accomplished. 27. Hero is recognised, often by mark or object. 28. False hero or villain is exposed and/or punished. 29. Hero is given new appearance (is made whole, handsome, etc.). 30. Villain is pursued. 31. Hero is married and ascends throne.
  • 13. An example: Star Wars The hero is dispatched on a search, struggles with and defeats the villain, marries the Princess. The Hero is introduced in the initial situation. Example: Luke Skywalker
  • 14. An example: Star Wars The dispatcher directs the hero to depart on the search. The dispatcher is usually introduced in the initial situation. Example: Luke’s Uncle Owen, in Star Wars IV:A New Hope. (The uncle directs Luke to take care of the droids, which is why he goes out into the desert on that fateful night)
  • 15. An example: Star Wars The villain Near the beginning of the tale the villain performs an act of villainy. Later the villain struggles with and is defeated by the hero. The villain appears twice in the story, first as a surprise, the second as a result of the hero’s search. Example: Darth Vader
  • 16. An example: Star Wars The helper helps the hero search out and struggle with the Villain and generally provides assistance in difficult situations. The Helper is provided to the Hero by the Donor. Example: Ben Kenobi in Star Wars (or Han Solo?)
  • 17. An example: Star Wars The donor provides the hero with a magical agent that will help in the pursuit of, and struggle with, the Villain. The Hero usually encounters the Donor by accident once the tale is under way. Examples of Donors include: Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, the magical agent given is ‘the Force’
  • 18. An example: Star Wars The false hero Who disrupts the hero’s success by making false claims. See Point 28 above - The False Hero is at last seen to be what they are. They often expose themselves through the display of non-heroic actions, including cowardice, cheating and other false actions. Or Lando Calrissian http://changingminds.org/disciplines/storytelling/
  • 19. An example: Star Wars The Princess (and/or her Father) assign the hero tasks to perform, recognise the Hero when he returns, and expose False Heroes and Villains. The Princess usually marries the Hero. The Princess and/or her Father are usually introduced in the initial situation Example: Princess Leia, in Star Wars
  • 20. An example: Star Wars The Princess’ Father (= The Rebellion) who acts to reward the Hero for his efforts
  • 21. Claude Lévi-Strauss Binary Oppositions  After studying hundreds of myths and legends from around the world, Levi-Strauss observed that we make sense of the world, people and events by seeing and using binary opposites everywhere.  He observed that all narratives are organised around the conflict between such binary opposites, or narratives progress through the threat of conflict arising from binary opposites
  • 22. Claude Levi-Strauss’s approach to narrative  As well as Aristotle deciding that 'all drama is conflict' in the 4th century BC, 20th century theorist Claude Levi-Strauss suggested that all narratives had to be driven forward by conflict that was cause by a series of opposing forces. he called this the theory of Binary Opposition, and it is used to describe how each main force in a narrative has its equal and opposite. Analysing a narrative means identifying these opposing forces
  • 23. Examples of binary opposites  Good vs evil  Black vs white  Boy vs girl  Peace vs war  Civilised vs savage  Democracy vs dictatorship  Conqueror vs conquered  First world vs third world  Domestic vs foreign/alien  Articulate vs inarticulate  Young vs old  Man vs nature  Protagonist vs antagonist  Action vs inaction  Motivator vs observer  Empowered vs victim  Man vs woman  Good-looking vs ugly  Strong vs weak  Decisive vs indecisive  East vs west  Humanity vs technology  Ignorance vs wisdom
  • 24. Summary of Structuralism A Structuralist approach to film narrative argues:  That there is an underlying structure, which can be uncovered, and that elements of this structure are common to all narratives.  In short narratives share a common structure