In this assignment, I am going to explain what Narrative is, as well as Linear (sequential) and Non-Linear (non-sequential). Also, I will discuss realist/non-realist as well as open and closed endings; this terminology will be referenced to several examples, and comparisons will be made.
According to Encarta Dictionary, Narrative is a story or an account of a sequence of events in the order in which they happened. However, narrative is one thing, and the process of narrative is something entirely different. The process of narrative is the art or process of telling a story or giving an account of something. In moving image production, narrative structures need to be considered when creating a narrative for a particular production, whether it may be TV or Film. Narrative structures are common in TV, film, music videos and many other moving image productions. Both Non-fiction and Fiction can be encountered in a narrative. E.g. News stories and advertisements also have a constructed narrative which must be ‘played out’.
Every scene, in every film sequence (whether linear or non-linear, realist or non-realist) has a beginning, middle and end. Essentially, a set of codes are followed in narratives, for every element of the beginning, middle and end. It can be broken up and viewed like this:
Beginning – Establish setting, characters.
Middle – Action, drama needs to take place here.
End – Conclusion to drama; Climax/Resolve.
Basic elements of a narrative, according to Aristotle:
"...the most important is the plot, the ordering of the incidents; for tragedy is a representation, not of men, but of action and life, of happiness and unhappiness - and happiness and unhappiness are bound up with action. ...it is their characters indeed, that make men what they are, but it is by reason of their actions that they are happy or the reverse." (Poetics - Aristotle (Penguin Edition) p39-40 4th century BC)
Linear and Non- Linear Narrative Structures
A linear narrative structure is a story line that shows a series of scenes right from the beginning (e.g. start of show) to end in a chronological order (with no flashbacks, flash-forwards or black-out scenes) they have a sense of continuity, and are not shown as fragments in any way. The most common linear story lines are incorporated in well-known soaps such as Eastenders and Hollyoaks. They aim to look as real-life as possible.
Non-linear narratives is portrayed in a non-chronological way, it can be created in any way possible – in terms of series and events. It has no order, though, the scenes can be in a unusual order and the director is free to use flashbacks or flash-forwards. There are many films made to have this type of narrative structure, and it can be very effective as it can increase the enigma by revealing the end of the plot before the beginning is shown. Tarantino has directed many films that are non-linear, and he is well-known for this. Non-linear...