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GE1113 Visual Literacy and Cultural Thinking


Communication Model and Narrative

Narrative. The representation of one or more real or fictive events communicated by one, two, or several narrators to one, two or several narratees. Narrator. The one who narrates, as inscribed in the text. There is at least one narrator per narrative. The narrator is never the author, but can be a character in story, and can narrates in third or first person. Narratee. The one who is narrated to, as inscribed in the text. There is at least one narratee per narrative. Narratee can be a character in a story also, who listens to a story and sometimes react to the narrative.

Point of View & Focal Point

In the case of first-person narrator, s/he seems credible and reliable when s/he 1. Shares values with implied author; 2. Shares values with the reader; 3. Accurately observes and records his or her "reality; 4. Encourages reader rapport and trust.

Reliability of a Narrator
Reliability of multiple character-narrators depend on: Factors shown on the left; Level of narrative; Characters social status and moral standards; Access to information.

Point of View

Point of View. When camera wants to present what a particular character sees, it assumes the position of the characters eyes and present to us his/her vision. Such a vision is called Point of View or POV. It indicates the source of information in narrative. Point of View Shot. (a.k.a. POV shot or subjective camera) is a short film scene that shows what a character (the subject) is looking at (represented through the camera). It is usually established by being positioned between a shot of a character looking at something, and a shot showing the character's reaction. (see shot reverse shot).

A narrator seems unreliable or untrustworthy when s/he 1. Lies deliberately out of self-interest; 2. Denies role in events from a lack of self-awareness; 3. Expresses ideas or values reader may find reprehensible; 4. May be incapacitated in some way.

Lecture 10 by Dr. Louisa Wei

GE1113 Visual Literacy and Cultural Thinking


The purpose of POV is to get inside a characters mind, and thus it relates to the following cocepts. Inside View: the representation of a characters mind. Internal Action: what characters think and feel as opposed to what they say and do. Internal Monologue (a.k.a. inner voice, internal speech): presents a characters thoughts rather than impressions or perceptions; stream of consciousness would present both impressions and thoughts. Internal Plot: a plot focusing on internal feelings and movements, as in psychological novels.

Internal/Subjective Voices or Viewpoints


When a story has more than one plotline usually following different characters, the narrator needs to shift from one line to the other while telling the stories. Such a shift is called shift of focal points. In film Elephant, for instance, we are first watching character A, and at one point, A runs into B in school, and the camera follows B instead. When B meets C, the camera begin to follow C. The purpose of this shift is for views to see more sides of the story. Focalization. Meaning, focusing on the focal point. It indicates the point of interest in narrative. In film, this technique is presented by the camera from outside a characters mind, a third-person POV, not subjective but objective.

Shot + Reverse Shot: POV or Foculization

Lecture 10 by Dr. Louisa Wei