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