Lecture 4 Narrative

Practice: Plot segmentation of film narrative

equilibrium) changes to (disequilibrium) Situation B (restoration of equilibrium) PLOT the driving force of a narrative (movement from A to B) ./ /vs./ PLOT (narrative.ELEMENTS OF NARRATIVE CONSTRUCTION Viktor Shklowsky (Russian formalist) STORY (story. what happened) /vs. how it is told) Situation A (lack.

same time plot .Film narrative Shots  scenes  sequences Distinct events that occur within same place.

• Vladimir Propp’s analysis applied to film narrative structure (especially in linear narratives) . . • Regardless of differences in point of plot / characters / settings most narrative share common structural features: • a) seven character functions: – – – – – – – – the villain the donor  OFFERS GIFTS with magic properties the helper the princess the father the dispatcher  send hero on mission the hero the false hero • b) thirty-one narrative units (see below).

.) 26. 25. often by a mark or an object. 6. magic. A difficult task is proposed to the hero. The hero and villain join in direct combat. The villain receives information about his victim. Recognition. The seeker (hero) agrees to or decides upon counteractions. (Trial by drink. End of Lack and Return: 16. Wedding: 23. The villain is punished. 28. One member of a family either lacks something or desires to have something. The victim submits to deception and thereby unwittingly helps his enemy. Path B: Unrecognized Arrival. 21. 12.) Villainy / Lack (Plot set in motion): 8. 29. attacked. 31. 9. The villain makes an attempt at reconnaissance. 22. The hero is recognized. The villain causes harm or injury to a member of a family. 11. unrecognized. interrogated. 7. 24. etc. The hero acquires the use of a magical agent. The hero is married and ascends the throne. The false hero or villain is exposed. The initial misfortune or lack is liquidated. 18. he is allowed to go or he is dispatched. Misfortune or lack is made known: the hero is approached with a request or command. The hero is transferred. The hero is given a new appearance. The hero reacts to the actions of the future donor. (The donor usually enters the story here. 8a. The villain is defeated. The interdiction is violated. The hero is branded. 10. arrives home or in another country. An interdiction (ban) is addressed to the hero. which prepares the way for his receiving either a magical agent or helper. The hero leaves home. Task. Path A: Struggle and Victory over Villain. 15. 5. 19. or led to the whereabouts of an object of search. riddle. The task is resolved or accomplished. fire. The hero returns. The hero is pursued. test of strength. 30. 17. A false hero presents unfounded claims.Preparation: l. 3. 2. or deception. Punishment. One of the members of a family absents himself from home. The hero. delivered. 14. 20. (Hero sleeps. 4.) 13. The hero is tested. The hero is rescued from pursuit. The villain attempts to deceive his victim by using persuasion. 27.

Mode of address • = the voice who addresses the audience in a written piece of fiction. in a film. advertisement. etc • Modes: -voice-over -the enigma code (Roland Barthes): ‘who did what’ -the action code: a narative device –resolution is effected by means of action .

• Identify intertextual elements in the narrative. the donor. character.youtube. false hero. event. the helper.com/watch?v=EnUKurl7Fog • What is the structure of the narrative. http://www. stages of the plot? conflict. Why do you think these are used? What is the effect? . the dispatcher)? • Notice and comment upon narrative devices like ‘the enigma code’ and ‘the action code’.Class task Watch Hard Times –Coca Cola commercial. the princess. narrator? • Which are the character types that become distinguishable in the advertisement (the hero. the father.

the donor. 1. Identify types of characters. provide the plot segmentation of the film’s narrative [organize the plot into sequences. How many flashbacks does the film include? What is their function? 4. identify the flaskbacks] 2. climax. Analyze how the plot is set into motion: which is the disruptive element that triggers the crisis? beginning  middle  end initial balance balance broken balance restored 6. the princess 5.Watch Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino.55]: the hero. the helper. the action code [a denoument is achieved through action] Task . Media Studies.Does the film have an ‘enigma code’? What about an ‘action code’? [Roland Barthes  narrative functions through a series of codes that are used to control the way in which information if given to the audience: a) enigma code [a riddle. 3. Wall. crisis. Following the pattern given in P. according to Vladimir Propp’s division [p. p. a puzzle the audience has to decipher]. resolution.Rayner & P. 1994).53. the dispatcher. the false hero. Identify stages of the plot: exhibition. the villain.

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