What is narrative?

A narrative is a constructive format (as a work of speech, writing, song, film, television, video games, photography or theatre) that describes a sequence of non-fictional or fictional events. The word "story" may be used as a synonym of "narrative". It can also be used to refer to the sequence of events described in a narrative. A narrative can also be told by a character within a larger narrative.

French semiologist Suggested that narrative works with five different codes which activate the reader to make sense of it. He also used the terms denotation and connotation to analyse images. Bathe’s Codes Action- a narrative device by which a resolution is produced through action, e.g. a shoot-out. Enigma- a narrative device that teases the audience by presenting a puzzle or riddle to be solved. Works to delay the story‟s ending pleasurably. Symbolic- (connotation) Semic- (denotation) Cultural- narrative device which the audience can recognise as being part of a culture e.g. a “made man” in a gangster film is part of the mafia culture.

Bulgarian literary theorist suggests most narratives start with a state equilibrium in which life is „normal‟ and protagonists happy. This state of normality is disrupted by an outside force, which has to be fought again in order to return to a state of equilibrium. This model can be easily be applied to a wide range of films. -Todorov stated that films and programmes begin with a calm period. Usually an innocent character in a lovely setting in horror films for example in „scream‟ the girl is home cooking popcorn in a beautifully decorated large suburban house. -Then there will be a disturbance of the calm, which is the period, which is the period of unsettlement. Usually by something evil in horror films for example in „Scream‟ the scary telephone calls and murders. -This is followed by a renewed state of peace and harmony for the main innocent character and usually involves a hero character to battle the evil and restore the calm state, for example in „Scream‟ Sydney is the hero who battles against the slasher. - With a new calmness brings the chaos to an end and in „Scream‟ this means the end of the movie when the survivors are reunited. This is the simplest form of narrative and sometimes referred to as „classic‟ or „Hollywood‟ narrative.

Russian critic and literary theorist. Analysed over 100 Russian fairytales in the 1920‟s. He proposed that it was possible to classify the characters and their actions into the clearly defined roles and functions. Films such as Star Wars fit Propp‟s model precisely, but a significant number of more recent films such as Pulp Fiction do not. The model is useful, however as it highlights the similarities between seemingly quite different stories. Propp’s Character Roles The hero (seeks something) The Villain (opposes the hero) The Donor (helps the hero by providing a magic object) The dispatcher (sends the hero on his way) The false hero (falsely assuming the role of the hero The helper (gives support to the hero) The Princess (The reward for the hero, but also needs protection from the villain) Her Father

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