Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narative Theories
Section A: Theoretical
You will be asked 2 questions about your
Question 1(a) will ask you to describe and
evaluate the development of your coursework
from your AS Production to your A2 Production.
You will be asked to do this in relation to one or
two of the following areas:
Research and Planning
Use of media conventions
Question 1(b) will ask you to choose one
coursework product (either AS or A2) and
evaluate it in relation to a theoretical concept.
The exam will specify one concept from the
Narrative theory analyses the way in which media
texts communicate meaning about events.
Narrative theory can be applied to range of
different media including film, TV. Photographs,
Narrative analysis of internet based media is more
problematic, though may still be relevant. For
example, you could consider how someone’s
Facebook profile creates a narrative about their
Key Narrative Theorists
Branigan argues that narrative is ‘ a way of
organising spatial and temporal data into a
cause-effect chain of events with a beginning,
a middle and end that embodies a judgement
about the nature of events.’
What is Branigan saying? Can you think of an
Branigan’s key point is that the narrative will
embody a judgement – ideology and narrative.
Propp suggests that there are a limited
number of character types that share a
When an audience reads a media text it
deploys its knowledge of these character
types in order to decode the meaning of the
Can you relate any of the character types to
the characters in your coursework products?
Equilibrium – disequilibrium – resolution.
How might this be used to analyse the
ideology of a media text?
Barthes identifies 5 narrative codes which readers
use to decode texts.
He emphasises the active role of readers in
creating meaning, and their ‘culturally formed
The narrative codes are:
Narratives are structured by pairs of binary
How can this be used to analyse media texts?
Theorist Why does this theory
apply to my film?
Apply one of the narrative theories to the
analysis of the music video.
Narrative analysis involves considering how a
range of elements (including mise-en-scene,
editing, camerawork, sound, as well as
events) create meaning for the audience.
Narrative analysis focuses on how the
meanings made by the audience are
How useful is this approach?
Equilibrium – the geeky girl is in love with the
boy next door who only sees her as a friend.
Disequilibrium – the boy’s girlfriend cheats on
Resolution – the geeky girl is transformed into
a beautiful girl and gets together with the boy.
What sort of values are reinforced by this
Propp – character types
Hero – character who seeks something – Taylor
Villain – character who the hero must overcome –
Princess – the boy – he is the reward for the hero.
What effect does the use of these character types
Why might the hero and villain be female?
What values are reinforced by this?
Levi-strauss – binary oppositions
The video involves a number of pairs of
opposites reflecting (and resolving) the
There are different sets of oppositions
between the jock/the geek, and the
These oppositions identify the central
ideological messages of the video.
What are the key conflicts?
Which values are dominant in the pairs?
How are the conflicts resolved?
What messages are conveyed through this
Barthes – Narrative Codes
Action – Viewers are expected to connect
different pieces of narrative (e.g. The boy is
shown arguing on his phone – viewer assumes it
is with his girlfriend).
Enigma – Will the jock and the geek get together?
Semic – glasses, book, notepads, red car,
uniforms, white dress/red dress
Symbolic – conflicts between male/female,
popular/unpopular, different types of femininity
Cultural – the video draws on stereotypes/cliches
of teen movies – jock, cheerleader, geek, girl next
door, prom, etc.
Remember to go into the exam with key points
on theories relevant to your film: