Digital Narrative – Week 2

The Narrative

There are many ways to put a narrative together including logically and chronologically. The reader needs to identify with the narrative. Cinema uses narrative models, which have been around for a long time. Celtic myths, Nordic myths, Greek and Roman epics all share similar models.

All stories have the same formula but do not have to follow the same structure.

  • Beginning- Starts the story
  • Middle- Action takes place
  • End- Resolution takes place (but not always)

S Todorov felt the 3 act formula was limiting. He used equilibrium and disequilibrium. He believed there were 5 transformations.

1) State of equilibrium

2) Disruption occurs

3) Audience recognises something has changed to the narrative. Eg. Text on screen, dialogue or a disruption has taken place.

4) Lead character tries to repair the damage.

5) Return to equilibrium but not necessarily the same balance.

Levi Strauss and binary oppositions

Strauss was a French anthropologist. He said narratives had a repetition called binary opposition where things are in opposition to each other. For example good and bad, male and female or hero/villain. Film noir in the 50s had binary oppositions.

Vladimir Propp- Morphology of the folk writer. He looked at folk tales, which used traditional methods. Folk tales are driven by character so different characters have different functions.

  • The hero
  • The villain
  • The donor- gives the hero something to help him.
  • The dispatcher-Sends the hero on his way with a message
  • False hero- Might be working for the villain.
  • The helper- helps the hero
  • The princess- object of the hero’s affection and reward
  • The father- rewards the hero for his actions

These characters can also be defined today. Propp also talks about the action in the folk tale.

  • Preparation- Hero gets ready to go on his quest
  • Complication- eg Member of the family is harmed
  • Transference- Major change takes place
  • Struggle- between hero and villain
  • Return- Hero returns and resolution has taken place.

Classical Hollywood Narrative

Began in the 1940sand the model is still used today.

  • Action- Character driven with a desire for something to take place and therefore actions occur.
  • Desire-The character is driven by desire eg love, wealth
  • Conflict- These occur to keep the audience interested. The desire meets conflict.
  • Change-All expect change to occur from cause and effect.
  • Time- Can be used to compress time or fill in time gaps. Ellipses means compressing time eg, 1 year later
  • Chronology- Flashbacks
  • Closure- Everything is resolved







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