Narrative Theory- How do stories work?
The four main narrative theories:
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative Theory- How do stories work?
Narrative theory THE WAY IN WHICH A STORY IS TOLD IN BOTH FICTIONAL AND NON FICTIONAL MEDIA TEXTS. There are FOUR main narrative theories:1 2Vladimir Propp’s Theory Levi-Strauss binary opposition theory3 4Barthes enigma codeTodorov’s Theory
1Vladimir Propp’s Theory: He proposed that it was possible to classify the characters and their actions into clearly defined roles and functions From studying Russian Fairytales, he discovered that in most stories there are always 8 types of characters present: The hero, the villain, the donor, the dispatcher, the false hero, the helper, the Princess and her father- however he didn’t state that these characters had to be different people. Once you have identified the character type it is relatively easy to guess what they will do (i.e. save the maiden, defeat the villain or marry the maiden) because each character has a sphere of action. Harry Heath
2Levi- Strauss’ binary opposition theory: He examined how stories unconsciously reflect the values, beliefs and myths of a culture. This narrative theory is the study that narrative tension is based on opposition or conflict. This could be as simple as two characters fighting, but these function more often at an ideological level. For example, in Westerns, you have: Harry Heath
3Barthes’ enigma code: This narrative establishes enigmas or mysteries as it goes along. Then it will gradually solve these inputted mysteries. He suggested that narrative works with five different codes which activate the reader to make sense of it. These five codes are: He also used the term denotation and connotation to analyse images. Harry Heath
4Todorov’s theory: He suggests that films and programmes begin with equilibrium (a calm period). Then agents of disruption cause disequilibrium- which is a period of unsettlement with lots of noise. This is then followed by a renewed state of peace and harmony for whoever the protagonists may be; this new equilibrium brings the chaos to an end. This is often referred as a ‘Classic’ or ‘Hollywood’ narrative. Equilibrium> Disequilibrium> New equilibrium Harry Heath