Narrative codes blog
The codes Roland Barthes devised, their meanings and how i will use them in my thriller opening.
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative codes blog
Roland Barthes devised these 5
different narrative codes to analyse
The audience will recognise an action code in media texts as
it is used to indicate what is the next logical step. It advances
the narrative e.g. the buckling of a gun belt in a Western film
signifies the start of a gun fight.
In my opening for example one of the characters will go over
and grab his jacket, this signifies he is going somewhere.
This code is used to explain the narrative by
controlling what and how much information is
given to the audience. It grabs the audience’s
interest and attention by setting up an enigma or
problem that is resolved during the course of the
In my opening for example it will show the
murderers hand over someone's face and the
audience is left questioning who it belongs to?
The Semic Code
The Cultural Code
This code is basically about the signs and
meanings in a text that tell the audience about its
narrative and characters e.g. in a horror film, the
supernatural would be signified by the fear of
light/garlic, an increase in body hair etc.
This code is used in order for the narrative to make
sense to a culturally and socially aware audience. It
makes reference to the elements from the real world
that the audience will recognise e.g. Aston Martins in
James Bond films.
Code of Opposition
• Women VS Men
• Young VS Old
• Black VS White
• Hot VS Cold
• Nature VS Civalisation
• War VS Peace
• Weak VS Strong
This code refers to a narrative that relies on binary opposites. If you don’t know what
binary opposites are I will briefly explain… they are a pair of related terms or concepts
that are opposite in meaning. For example:
In my thriller opening these aren’t made obvious. Weak VS strong is vaguely used in my
thriller as the group of teenagers who go out by themselves into the woods and into a
log cabin are the vulnerable characters and basically the ‘weak’ ones whereas the killer
in the film is obviously the ‘strong’ character as they have all the power.