Narrative structure ..
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative structure ..
⦿Narrative can be describe as layers of codes,
conventions, signs and symbols built together
in a text.
⦿It shows how the story progress and any
developments in the plot or with the
⦿Different audiences read into the narrative in
different ways and gain different
⦿The producer of the text has built these
layers purposely in order for the audience to
interpret it in a certain way.
⦿ Each text has a unlimited and wide range of signifiers that are
made to be interpreted in different ways.
⦿ A text is built up of several closed meaning, that are obvious, and
open meanings that can suggest several things to the audience.
⦿ Narrative Codes
⦿ The Proairetic Code
⦿ This allows the audience to interpret what is coming in the media
⦿ Anyone who watches a series of the same media text will be able
to recognise the action code.
⦿ Like in the Harry Potter series, when the three main characters
are on the Hogwarts Express, the audience they know there will
be a new adventure in the new school year.
⦿ However, this action code could easily be lost on a audience who
has never watches any of the series and does not understand the
⦿ The Hermeneutic Code
⦿ The code is a build up of questions that the audience
create when they are reading into the text.
⦿ The text producer has done this purposely with the
Proairetic Code to create tension for the audience
and keep the interest in the text. It also keeps the
narrative moving forward.
⦿ If these questions are not addressed by the end of
the narrative, this can leave the audience frustrated,
desiring a sequel or left to create their own ideas.
⦿ This can be clearly seen in an mystery thriller such
the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock’s conclusion
leave the audience desperately wanting to how he
found that out. However at the end of the film,
Sherlock explains and the audience leave satisfied.
⦿The Semantic Code
⦿ This is the connotations the audience create
whilst watching the immediate denotation.
Whilst one scene is structured to have an
immediate singular meaning, including an
extended meaning, it can develop the
message of a very limited text.
⦿This a singular level of meaning is called a
seme, and has a function in the media text
to create a meaning.
⦿The Symbolic Code
⦿This code adds another depth of meaning to
the Semantic Code.
⦿By using antithesis, two conflicting ideas that
help create a new meaning, the code is
⦿Like in the 2010 film Alice in Wonderland,
the White Queen and Red Queen are two
conflicting characters symbolsing the
contrast evil harshness or gentle kindness of
⦿The Cultural Code
⦿This code focuses on the audiences already
established cultural knowledge, ideologies
and morality that has been built up by past
experiences and what others have taught
them. The audience then use this to create a
connotation from the text.
CLAUDE LEVI STRAUSSE
⦿ Binary Oppositions Theory
⦿ He believed that the human mind works in the
justification of complete opposites. The contrast of
these opposites makes the action within media texts
⦿ Opposites include:
⦿ Man vs Machine – Transformers
⦿ Male vs Female – Mr & Mrs Smith
⦿ Good vs Evil – Disney Films
⦿ Humanity vs Technology – Iron Man Trilogy
⦿ Nature vs Industrialisation – Over the Hedge
⦿ East vs West – East is East
⦿ Dark vs Light – Lord of the Rings Trilogy
⦿ Dirt vs Clean – Hancock
⦿Jacques Derrida developed this theory by
saying that some binary oppositions can
never be equal. An example of this is ‘Good
vs Evil’. The “evil” character must either be
destroyed, defeat the “good” character or
become a “good” character himself. It would
be impossible for both character to exist
equally as this would disrupted cultural
ideology. Depending on what character wins,
generally defines the film genre. If the good
character wins it is more than likely to be
action, if the evil character wins, it could be
⦿ Propp studied Russian folk stories and found that there was a consistent structure
⦿ It followed these 31 functions
⦿He also identified the 8 Spheres of Action (or
the 8 key characters).
⦿Examples of these can be seen in Shrek.
⦿The Villain – Fairy Godmother
⦿The Hero – Shrek
⦿The Donor – Puss in Boots
⦿The Helper – Donkey
⦿The Princess – Princess Fiona
⦿Her Father – King Harold
⦿The Dispatcher – Queen Lillian
⦿The False Hero – Prince Charming
⦿Todorov also observed narrative structures
and found that every narrative consisted of 5
⦿Equilibrium – the normality
⦿Disequilibrium – Where an event disrupts the
⦿Recognition – where the main character
realise the disruption.
⦿Repair – When the characters attempt to
restore peace or find a new peace.
⦿Resolution – the disruption is overcome and a
new peace is made.
⦿ Set up – The first third of a film, used to capture
the audience’s attention and establish setting,
characters and genre. Within the first 10 minutes
there should be a major plot event.
⦿ Confrontation – Where most of the action takes
place as the hero struggles to overcome certain
problems. Two thirds within the confrontation
should be where the climax of the film is.
⦿ Resolution – This is where questions are
answered and peace is restored. It must be a
strong ending so the audience remember the
⦿Based on the Theatre when the curtain falls.
⦿Only allows for three major plot points,
where as successful films like Star Wars has
up to 15.
⦿It is very rigid and doesn’t allow for complex