Narrative structure components final
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative structure components final
Narrative Structure Components
Vladimir Propp analyzed plot components of folk tales identifying basic narrative
elements. He identified that there were 31 different plot elements but only 8 different
character types even though there could be a wide variety of different characters in
The first character type that there is would be the ‘main’ character,
which is the hero. This character leads the narrative. The basic
storyline that is associated with the hero would be that he/she is looking
for a specific something or trying to solve a task. In my story a hero
doesn’t appear, however as a reader we still want Goldilocks to get
away with what she is doing and carry on her journey. Goldilocks
appears to be only a little girl in the story and when she is eating the
porridge and sleeping in the alien’s beds, she doesn’t see it as doing
anything wrong as she only is doing things that will make her happy. So
Goldilocks doesn’t traditionally follow the hero role and doesn’t do
anything to fill that role to its full potential, however she isn’t a bad
character and isn’t purposely sneaky and doing bad things. But where
people would say she fits in to be the good character, she does all
these things that a little girl wouldn’t do, but as readers we like reading
about her journey and her unrealistic ways. As children they wouldn’t
go into a spaceship in space, without knowing who lives there, as there
could be anything there that could make things bad.
An example of a film with the storyline that appears to have a hero in it would be the
newly released film called Maleficent. This film is a dark version of Sleeping Beauty
that was written in the late 1950’s. Its got its own dark twist that runs throughout the
film. The hero that appears in the film involves two people. The first person would be
the daughter of the king, who is called Aurora. She doesn’t realise the bad that is
going on throughout the “Moors”, which is where she lives. However she was
relocated from the kingdom where her father lives to keep her safe, which is living
with three pixies. The heroic acts from the daughter are done without her even
realizing she is doing it. She is breaking the barrier of bad that runs throughout
Maleficent’s body and soul and also saving her own life without knowing she is in
danger. Another act that was done by the daughter was the release of Maleficent’s
wings that were stolen from her as a younger girl, stolen from the love of her life, the
king. Which is what sent her to be the way she is. The wings were returned to
Maleficent literally seconds before she was to be beaten to death by the king. So
Aurora saved the fairy’s life, which is a huge heroic act. However about half way
through the film, Maleficent would also be classed as the hero as she starts to feel
towards the girl and looks after her, while the three pixies that were meant to don’t do
a very good job. All her life Maleficent has watched over Aurora but from afar,
however when Aurora is 15 she comes forward as her fairy godmother. However the
good act that Maleficent attempts is to try revoke the curse that has been put on the
young girl, by risking her life by going into the castle and bringing her helper to kiss
the girl and break the curse. She puts her own life in danger, as she truly loves the
girl, just to make sure the girl doesn’t fall into a dark sleep and never wake up.
Maleficent however is the one to break the curse, as she kisses Auroras head then
goes onto promising no harm will come to her. That was coming from the motherly
instinct that Maleficent gets when around Aurora. But that was the true loves kiss to
break the spell, as Maleficent looks at Aurora as her own daughter.
The villain character type traditionally struggles against the hero and is shown to
morally bad with committing acts such as cheating, lying, stealing to get his/her own
way. Also the villain serves to highlight the good that is in the hero and the actions
the hero takes. I wouldn’t say there was a villain in my story, however you could say
that there is in Goldilocks as she is doing wrong. As a reader we don’t want the bad
guy/girl to get away with the morally bad things they are been seen to be doing,
which in goldilocks case is to be stealing and breaking into the aliens house. That is
seen to morally wrong in the real world and you wouldn’t get away with doing things
like that. However she is only a little girl and she is only going on an adventure when
she becomes hungry and just tries to look after herself by following the smell of food
that is around her. So I wouldn’t say she is a villain purposely. Traditionally you
would say the alien characters would be villains as they could be the ones to hurt her
as she broke into their house and stole their food, and also the reputation that aliens
have are a variety of different opinions if they were to be real. In certain films and
books aliens are written/cast to be the bad characters, so that’s what is first thought
when they appear in the book. But they are not the bad people, as they don’t take
any actions to suggest they are been bad, they just question what is going on in
there home. So I would say there isn’t a cast villain in my story, or even a villain at
The villain in the film Maleficent is played by a variety of a people in different parts of
the film. Maleficent is the villain to begin with because she is determined to get her
revenge on the king for taking her wings off her. So she breaks into the castle and
casts a curse over the daughter of the king. The curse is that on her 16th
is to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and to fall into a deep sleep, to which she
doesn’t wake up. The only way it can be broken is by a true loves kiss, which the
King and Maleficent both know isn’t real. However the king, Stefan, is also the villain
because he is the one who turned Maleficent to the horrible fairy she is now. He was
the ones to cut off her wings, even though he loved her. But his desire to become
king overshadowed the love he had for her, and he was given a task of killing
maleficent but he couldn’t bring himself to do it, so did the next worst thing he could
to her, and made her wingless. Which is what sent Maleficent to seek revenge. As
the years go on, the king gathers as many men as he can and plots to kill Maleficent,
as he believes that will break the curse. But nearing the end of the film, the king
realises that Maleficent is in the kingdom, thinking that she has come to hurt his
daughter, gathers all his men and tries to kill her. He doesn’t realise though that
Maleficent has done the right thing and awoken his daughter from the curse. He truly
reveals that he is a horrible vicious man when he beats and taunts Maleficent, which
is all driven by the paranoia that he has going on in his head. But at the end of the
film, he is the one to die, which is what you want as a viewer as he was the one to
cause all the bad. However in a way I feel sorry for the king as the paranoia of
protecting his daughter has driven him insane and all he wants is for his daughter to
be safe and happy, but the tries to make this happen in the wrong way.
The third character type is the princess/the prize. The princess can be split up into
two forms. Firstly she can be sought out by the hero, which can be finding where the
villain has taken you and rescuing you. Secondly she could be the prize, which at the
end of the story/film the hero has her hand in marriage or just simply her affections.
In my story this character type doesn’t appear in any way. However it does also
appear in Maleficent as the daughter is seen to be the princess as she is the
daughter of the king, but she is mostly the prize for the character Maleficent. At first
Maleficent sees it as if she dies, that will kill the king and send him insane, most likely
leading to him doing everything he can to wake his daughter up, which will be
impossible and most likely leading to him having an early death. That is the best
prize to Maleficent at first as all she ever wanted was to love him, but then he
betrayed her in the worst possible way which then leads her to wanting him dead and
cause him pain. But at the end of the film, the prize is for Maleficent to openly be a
fairy and for her kingdom to be protected, along with feeling love from the most
important people to her, which is her ‘daughter’ the queen of the kingdom, and her
helper. Personally from watching the film I believe the biggest prize for Maleficent
was to feel love again and to feel wanted, for whom she really is which is a powerful
fairy with her large black wings.
The next character type is The Donor, who is the person that gives the main
character, which is the hero, the special something to help him/her with the task. This
could be by giving the hero an object, a piece of information, a special power or a
clue. However the donor doesn’t always just give up this special something. The
Donor wishes the hero to complete another task before he is given the special
something. But this task always seems to help the hero more than he originally
thought. In my story, a Donor doesn’t appear, as it doesn’t fit in with the storyline.
However I don’t think is a particular character in Maleficent that is set to be the Donor
as information is revealed from Maleficent’s helper to help her find things out that are
happening at the kingdom and also from the king’s daughter who reveals things that
she doesn’t realise are helping Maleficent carry on her revenge.
The fifth character type is The Helper. This is someone that supports the hero
throughout the story and also helps highlight the hero’s characteristics such as their
intelligence, courage and determination. There isn’t a helper in my children book
however there are helpers in the film Maleficent. Maleficent rescues a raven called
Diaval, who she turns into a human, who is her only friend and helper. Diaval’s job is
to listen in at the kingdom and retrieve information to give to Maleficent about what
the king is planning. Diaval does much more for Maleficent than just giving her
information, he is her only friend and the only person she can really trust. He is the
one she listens too and the only person who really makes her open her eyes and do
the right thing instead of letting revenge overshadow the good she can do. Diaval
dedicates his life to Maleficent and thats because she saved his life and gave him his
one wish of been able to be something other than a bird who cant have the great
abilities like a human does. However he still is able to turn back into a raven, which
helps Maleficent to not be seen but still able to retrieve information, such as the king
planning to kill Maleficent and how he plans to do it. I think his character is very
dependent on Maleficent because she has done so much for him, also he wants to
help her in every way he can because he knows she is a good person deep down.
The next character type is The Princess’ Father. This character is traditionally known
for being protective over his daughter and feels like he is competing with the hero for
time with his daughter. Which is why he gives the hero a task normally to prove
himself, or to be distracted from the proper task at hand. However this character type
doesnt appear in my storybook but appears in the film Maleficent. The Princess’
father is the king of the Moor’s who is protecting her from Maleficent’s curse. He is
doing what he thinks is best by sending his daughter away for 16 years and finding
every spinning wheel in the kingdom and burning them all and burying them deep in
the dungeon. He is setting a task for the three pixies which is too look after his
daughter, but really he is setting himself a much bigger task which is to keep
Maleficent away, but he fails because she finds his daughter and watches over her
for many years, basically doing the pixies job.
The second to last character type is the False Hero. The False Hero appears to act
heroically and can be mistaken to be the real hero and stealing the thunder from the
actual hero. The false hero typically competes with the actual hero to win and finish
the task instead of him/her, often doing things to distract the hero. There isn’t a false
hero in my storybook, but in Maleficent the False Hero would be the King, the father
to Aurora. The reason for him been the false hero is because he doesn’t realise why
Maleficent has done such a horrible thing so he does the right thing by sending his
daughter away. However then he becomes obsessed with killing Maleficent when
really she is just hurt and cant believe the person she thought loved her would betray
her. But he goes insane with paranoia and stress, he just thinks about himself and
doesnt really realise that he is going to destroy his daughters happiness by killing
Maleficent. But the king is the one who has created the situation but then blames
everyone but himself for what has happened. But the way he appears to all his men
and the people of his kingdom is he is the one who can kill the evil fairy and he is the
one who is going to save everyones life and he is the one who can do the best by his
The last character type is the dispatcher. The dispatcher often appears early in the
story and sends the hero off on the mission, but also can be combined with lots of
different character roles. Goldilocks could be classed as the dispatcher as she goes
on the adventure and decides what to do herself, for example deciding to go into the
spaceship. She is the dispatcher of her own adventure. But also the dispatcher in the
film Maleficent would be Maleficent herself. Maleficent sets the task to the king to find
the person who would be the one to break the curse set on his daughter, but also to
keep his daughter away from harm especially around her 16th birthday as thats when
the curse was set to send her into a deep sleep. But also Maleficent sets herself a
task without realising, she sets herself the task of learning to love again but her mind
does it without asking for her permission. because she is looking over Aurora, she is
becoming attached and feels love towards the girl without helping it.
Tordrov is a Russian structuralist who simply believes that all narratives follow the
same simple path that is made up of 3 to 5 steps.
The Equilibrium step is where the story starts, the very beginning. It shows the
setting of the story and it shows the day to day routine of the main character and the
characters around them. I haven’t included the this in my book really, it shows the
setting of where she is and it sets up the basic storyline of what its all about.
However it doesnt entirely show how she got to space or where she came from.
The Disequilibrium is where the actual storyline begins and the events happen that
disrupts the life of the character, a big change to the characters life. It revolves
around the character reacting the certain event that has happened. This is when
Goldilocks goes into the spaceship and starts eating the porridge and snooping
around the spaceship, resulting in sleeping in the beds that belong to the owners of
the spaceship. Also this happens to be when the aliens arrive home, finding that
things aren’t how they left them when they left the spaceship, This results in them
finding Goldilocks in baby aliens bed.
The New Equilibrium is the end of story, which shows things that go back to normal
or a new version of ‘normal. In my children’s book it doesn’t show the aliens or
goldilocks after it happened, but the text page shows that Goldilocks never returns to
the moon meaning she had no interest in returning to see the aliens in their
spaceship, Also it shows the aliens confused, meaning they don’t know what was
going on as Goldilocks doesn’t explain, she just makes a mad dash.
The Binary Opposition came from Claude Levi Strauss who was a french theorist.
The idea is that there can only be a story between two opposing sides that come
together. The conflict between the two sides are what drives the story. For example:
Men vs Women, Police vs Criminals, Humans vs Animals, Good vs Evil etc.
The Binary Opposition in my story is Humans vs Aliens. Its Goldilocks vs Aliens.
However there isn’t really conflict till the end of my story when the aliens realise that
goldilocks is in their house, sleeping in babies bed and eating their food. But the
conflict isn’t solved to the extent it should be, Goldilocks just runs and never returns.
So that conflict will be forgotten and will no longer be there.
This is shown through the last pages when the aliens are showing their anger
towards who ever has broken into their home, and then when goldilocks is really
upset and running away.
Types Of Structure
There are many different types of structures that appear in narratives.
There is Open which is an open narrative that doesn’t reach a conclusion, leaving the
ending open and on a cliffhanger. These things happen with things such as soap
opera’s, comic book or films that are going to produce more than one film. My book
doesn’t have an Open structure, however the film Hunger Games Mocking Jay has
an open structure, due to it been broken up in two parts. But the ending leaves you
on a cliffhanger or Jennifer Lawrence just staring at Josh Hutchinson going crazy.
The opposite of that structure is the closed structure. The closed structure reaches a
conclusion and has an ending. My book has a closed structure as the conclusion is
that Goldilocks is never to return to the moon as she doesn’t want what had
happened earlier on in the book to happen again.
Then there is a single strand which has just one storyline throughout the book or film.
Which is exactly what my book is, as its just based on Goldilocks adventure and the
mistakes she makes along the way.
The opposite is a multi strand which is based around many different storylines. Soap
operas, crime programmes etc have many different storylines happening with
different characters throughout the programme. An example of this would be
programmes such as Coronation Street, Eastenders or Emmerdale. But then there
are programmes such as Scott and Bailey that bases a storyline around the crime
thats happening, but there are personal problems that are also involved in the
programme that creates an entirely different storyline.
Linear is another structure. This structure starts at the beginning and goes straight to
the end. This means there is a specific order and each step of the story follows the
next. This is what my story is based around as it shows events happening one after
The opposite of Linear is non Linear. Which is where the story doesn’t go in a
straight line as there are interruptions such as flashbacks or scenes that appear in
the future. This doesn’t appear in my story however it appears in shows such as CSI
or other crime shows that show specific storylines that have happened and the
problem needs to be solved. Flashbacks been involved showing the specific crime
that has been committed.
The Realist structure relates to real life situations. Events that can occur through life
every day. The more it relates to the audience, the more ‘realistic’ the storyline is. For
example Soap operas use this structure as they are trying to produce and put across
storylines that occur with families, couples etc every day. Example of these are well
known programmes such as Hollyoaks, Eastenders or Coronation street.
The opposite of the Realist structure is the Anti Realist. This structure involves
events, characteristics or locations that are highly unlikely to happen in real life.
Genres such as sci-fi and fantasy films involve this structure.However so does my
story. The reason for this is because its impossible a little girl is going to land on the
moon and come across a spaceship that belongs to aliens. Its completely unrealistic
and its the best structure for books for little children as it makes it more interesting for