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Narrative structure consists of the traditional parts
of a story and the order in which the reader encounters
them; these provide a framework for the unfolding of
the story. Often represented visually as a triangle,
these parts consist of exposition or beginning, rising
action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
 Narrative structure can take a variety of forms, often
depending on the genre of the story. For example, a
writer who wishes to build tension may begin with a
dramatic flashback before visiting the initial events of a
story. Further, with the development of digital
narrative, a writer may provide links to other parts of a
story so that the reader determines the order of events
and the revelation of details.

The falling action is the
part of a literary plot
that occurs after the
climax has been reached
and the conflict has been

The rising action is the
part of the plot where the
‘hero’ fights any obstacles
and conflicts that stand
in the way of reaching his
goal. These are all the
events that lead up to the

The introduction of
the film, you will see
the main character(s)
in their settings and
going about their
‘daily lives’.

The lives of the main characters
will, in some way, be disrupted.
However the character(s) may
not be aware of this but the
audience will. The climax refers
to the turning point in the
action (also known as the crisis)
and/or the highest point of
interest or excitement.

Resolution is the part
of the story's plot line
in which the problem
of the story is
resolved or worked
out. This occurs
where the story ends.


The narrative is considered as the most
essential element of a film helping to create flow
and tell a story to the desired audience. Studies
suggest that people accept ideas more rapidly
when their minds are in story mode as opposed to
when they are in an analytical mind set. A
narrative to a film enables the ability to connect
with our audiences and can sometimes help to
motivate audiences to act. There are many
narrative theories such as Todorov’s, Propp’s
and Strauss’s.


Todorov suggested that stories begin with an
equilibrium or status quo where any potentially
opposing forces are in balance.
This is disrupted by some event, setting in chain
a series of events.
Problems are solved so that order can be restored
to the world of fiction.

Propp looked at 100s of folk tales and identified 8
character roles and 31 narrative functions.
 The 8 character roles are
 The villain(s)
 The hero
 The donor- who provides an object with some magic
 The helper who aids the hero
 The princess (the sought for person) - reward for the hero
and object of the villain's schemes
 Her father- who rewards the hero
 The dispatcher- who sends the hero on his way
 The false hero


Strauss’s theory includes the study of hundreds
of myths and legends all around the world, from
that Strauss found out that we as humans make
sense of the world, people and events by seeing
and using binary opposites.
 He found out that narratives are arranged
around the conflict of binary opposites.


This is a crime thriller film which focuses on the
abduction of two girls in Pennsylvania and the
subsequent search for them. It is a very intense
graphic thriller which engages the audience and
takes them on a suspenseful journey.


The narrative structure of the film 'Prisoner's' relates to a coporate sense of
humanity and it's relationship with the law system building from low levels
of fear and uneasines to incredible suspense and an intense ending. In
relation to Todorov's theory, the equilibrium normally will display a happy
start, where the majority of characters are content and everything is as it
should be. The equilibrium of the film Prisoners begins with a family
attending a Thanksgiving dinner at the home of their friends. The next part
fo Todorov's theory is the disruption which will normally feature a problem
or something which disrupts the happiness. In the film, the two girls that
were at the dinner went for a walk and end up going missing. The
realisation part of Todorov's theory is where everyone realises the problem.
The film Prisoner's is much more complicated as it involes an investigation to
find out who had abducted the two young girls and the dad is constantly
finding answers and being proven wrong. The next part of the theory is the
restored order which is where the characters attempt to repair the damage
and restore the problem. In the film, the dad goes to the house of Alex Jones
in order to find his daughter and the old woman pulls a gun towards him and
imprisons him. The last part of the theory is teh quilibrium again where the
problem is resolved. In the film, the police goes to the house, kills the woman
and saves the child.


In terms of the 8 character roles in Propp's Theory,
some are identified in the film 'Prisoner's' as:

The Villain- Holly Jones (who abducted the two
 The hero- the policeman (Loki) who had saved the two
 The helper who aids the hero- This is the father of one
of the girls who, although conducted his own
investigation separate from the police, initially guided
Loki into treating the Jone's household as a suspect
 The princess- In this case it would be the two little
girls that went missing