Tuesday, 3 December 2013

19. Narrative Theorists

Vladmir Propp
Analysed over 100 Russsian fairytales in 1920's.
He proposed that it was possible to classify the characters and their actions into clearly defines roles and their function in the story.

Propps Character Roles:
  • The Hero (usually seeking something)
  • The Villain (Opposes the hero)
  • The Donor (Helps the hero)
  • The Dispatcher (Sends the hero on his way)
  • The False hero (Falsely assumes the role of hero)
  • The Helper
  • The Princess
  • Her Father

Tzvetan Todorov

Suggesed that most narratives start with a normal state of equilibrium where the protagonist is happy. Then the state of normality is disrupted by an outside force which has to be fought against in order to return to the state of equilibrium.
Equilibrium - Disequilibrium - New Equilibrium

Roland Barthes

His theory suggests that narrative works with five different codes that activate the reader and allow them to make sense of the story.

Barthes' Codes:
  • Action- a narrative device by which a resolution is produced: E.g. a shoot-out.
  • Enigma- a narrative device that teases the audience by presenting a puzzle or riddle to be solved. Works to delay the story ending.
  • Symbolic- Connotation.
  • Semic- Denotation.
  • Cultural- a narrative devuce which the audience can recognise as being part of a culture.

Claude Levi- Strauss

Studies myths and tribals cultures. He examined how stories unconcsiously reflect the values, beliefs and myths of a culture.
These are usually expressed in the form of binary oppositions.

Binary Oppositions:
  • Rich/Poor
  • North/ South
  • Black/White
  • Light/Dark
  • Man/ Machine
  • Male/ Female

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