Narrative

     All Media texts have narratives – fictional texts are concerned with story while in non-fiction texts the narrative can be analysed in terms of order, construction and genre conventions.

     All types of media have narratives – a structure that is recognisable to audiences.

Todorov's Theory of the Classic Hollywood Narrative

     Russian theorist, Tzvetan Todorov, suggests that most narratives follow a recognisable basic structure:

 

  1. They begin with equilibrium, where everything is balanced.
     

  2. Something happens to disrupt that equilibrium.
     

  3. There is a recognition that the disruption has taken place.
     

  4. There is an attempt to restore the equilibrium.
     

  5. A new equilibrium is achieved.

Propp's Archetypes

     In Propp's theory, there are 7 archetypal character:

 

  1. The Hero - Restores the narrative.
     

  2. The Villain - Disrupts the narrative.
     

  3. The Donor - Gives the Hero something to help restore the narrative.
     

  4. The Helper - Aids the Hero in restoration.
     

  5. The Princess - The victim most threatened by the Villain.
     

  6. The Dispatcher - Sends the Hero on the mission.
     

  7. The False Hero - Appears to be good, but is not.

Non-Linear Narratives

Not all narratives will follow conventional structures.  You must also be aware of other types of narrative.

 

Multi-stranded narratives are sometimes used.

 

Non-linear or circular narratives are also becoming more commonplace.

 

Watch the following extract for an example of a non-linear narrative.