Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Narrative Theory


All texts have a narrative. Narratives are either explicit or implicitImplicit narratives are shown within adverts, and explicit are within many television programs. 
There are many different theories regarding narrative, such as Propp's, Claude Levi-Strauss', Rolande Barthes' and Todorov's. 

- Propp's Narrative Theory 

Propp wrote and published a 'Morphology of the Folk-tale' in 1928. During writing this, he found that there were 32 different actions (which he refered to as functions), and 8 different character types within any Russian Folk-tales. 
The 8 character types are as follows (with examples from Harry Potter); 
  • The Villain - The villain is someone who may want to prevent the hero achieving his goal - Such as Lord Voldemort 
  • The Helper - The helper provides support for the hero - Such as Ron Weasley
  • The Princess or Prize - The princess or prize is what the hero is searching for - Such as Ginny Weasley
  • Her Father - Her father normally gives the task to the hero - Such as Dumbledore
  • The Donor - The donor usually gives the hero something to aid him in his quest - Such as Fawkes the Phoneix
  • The Hero - The hero normally leads the narrative, and seeks to achieve something - Such as Harry Potter
  • The Dispatcher - The dispatcher usually sends the hero to where he has to go - Such as Moaning Myrtle
  • The False Hero - The false hero tries to steal the glory of the real hero - Such as Professor Lockhart

- Claude Levi-Strauss's Narrative Theory 

Levi-Strauss's narrative theory is based on the idea of binary oppositions. These binary oppositions are things such as good and bad, happy and sad etc. The classic example for this would be Star Wars, where good versus evil.

- Rolande Barthes

 Barthes believed that 5 codes were part of any narrative. The two most important of his codes are the Hermeneutic Code (which refers to any element of a narrative being unexplained, hence becoming a mystery) and the Proairetic code (which refers to any other action, helping to build tension, keeping the reader guessing as to what is going to happen).

- Todorov

Todorov's narrative theory suggests that there are 5 stages to any narrative. These are equilibrium, distruption, realisation, repairing the damage and the eventuality of a new equilibrium.