Monday, 5 December 2011


A narrative is a constructed format which creates a sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. Narrative is needed for the human mind to make sense of a occurring situation; this is done by connecting events together creating a beginning, middle & an end. People seem to get story and narrative mixed together, story is the irreducible substance of a story while narrative is the way a story is related.

Narrative conventions - While processing a narrative in order to find the meaning there are a series of codes and conventions that need to be considered. When we look at a narrative we look at the conventions of


We put these conventions together to work out the media text within a narrative. There are many narrative theories, these theories give us a rough idea on a film is plotted as each section is categorized; for example

Todorov's theory :

The equilibrium - All is set as should be, everyone is living happily as they would in their mundane life. At this stage there's no occurring problems, it's normally used to build emotion & a deeper understanding towards certain characters.

The disruption - A disruption occurs, normally from an antagonist of some sort. Todorov believes this is when transformation within the characters occur most.

Recognition - The disruption is recognized, normally by the protagonist. This recognition builds tension & can be left with an enigma code; as the audience question how the protagonist is going to act according to the recognition of the disruption.

Attempts to repair the disruption - The protagonist attempts to repair the situation, normally by confronting evil. This is the stage where peace can be determined depending if the protagonist manages to repair the disruption.

New equilibrium - A new equilibrium is formed, despite the losses made during the journey. The characters normally become stronger through experience of the disruption though there's normally a huge sacrifice along the journey.

Many movies go by this five point breakdown, such as 'American Psycho' & 'The Outsiders'.

Roland Barthes:

Enigma Code - This controls how much the audience should know about the narrative in a movie. Directors create enigma codes to make the audience question things within a film. For example if a murder has taken place without the audience seeing who the killer is, the first enigma code would be 'Who killed this man?' or 'Did this man deserve to die?'. This gives the director full control on how he wants the audience to feel.

Action Code - This is when a action takes place within a movie, which then leads to another action taking place. For example, if a man gets put into prison, this action may lead to him trying to brake out. Action codes help direct the narrative in the way the director chooses.

Vladimir Propp

Vladimir broke up fairy tails by putting them into sections that he felt are most important to build a narrative, he made a character list and felt that all narratives will need at least a few of the characters on this list:

-Heroalso known as the protagonist, normally repairs the disruption
-Villain - also known as the antagonist, normally starts the disruption
-The donor -  Prepares the hero to confront the disturbance
-The princessThe reward for repairing the disturbance, normally marries the hero
-The helper - Normally helps the hero repair the disruption, can also be looked at as the sidekick.
-The Dispatcher - Warns the villain about the Hero's existence
-False Hero - Tries to take the Hero's credit and tries to take his reward by marrying the princess.

He also feels that without at least a few of these characters, a narrative will not be able to run as these character roles carry the narrative forward.

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