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Topic: Analyze The Narrative Structure Of One Television Programme Or Episode. How Do General Theories Of Narrative Applied To Literature And Film Help In This Analysis?

3219 words - 13 pages

Narratives, according to Bordwell, can be considered as 'a chain of events in cause-effect relationship occurring in time and space'. (Bordwell, 1993:65) A narrative is thus what we usually mean by the term 'story'. The events, actors, time and location constitute the material of a story. Apparently, we are surrounded by stories, collections of narratives ranging from fairy tales to scientific doctrines accompany us since childhood, films, plays, and television shows, even newspaper articles, all tell stories. Thus, the prevalence and importance of narratives are the reasons for us to take a close look at the narrative structures and the process of producing narratives.Television is a ...view middle of the document...

Follow the discussions of narrative structure in film by the Russian Formalists in the late 1920s; the two most important influences on the development of film narrative structure analysis in the 1970s were the folklore studies of Vladimir Propp and the structuralist theory of Claude Levi-Strassure. The work of Vladimir Propp was influential primarily for its usefulness in analyzing the plot structure of individual films and he mainly focuses on the structure of plot composition, exploring the underlying dynamic principles manipulating the movement of narrative, the cause and effect logic linking one narrative event to another. By examining hundreds kind of folk tales, he argued that whatever the surface differences, it was possible to divide its characters and actions into eight character roles and thirty-one functions. The eight roles are: the villain; the hero; the donor, who provides an object with some magic property; the princess, reward for the hero and object of the villain's schemes; her father, who rewards the hero; the dispatcher, who sends the hero on his way and the false hero. Propp suggests that these eight roles can be applied to different kinds of the narratives.(Branston and Stafford, 2003:33). Seeking to define the characteristic of structure of story, he discovered that the seemingly innumerable actions or events of the tales could be distilled into a table of thirty-one functions, which were constant and recurred throughout the story. (Stam, Burgoyne, Filtterman-Lewis, 1992:80) The notions of function and roles have wide applications on different medium narratives. Another notion he proposed is the sphere of action, which is constituted by functions and the roles, this sphere of action make sense of the ways in which many very different figures could be reduced to those eight characters and functions differently. (Stam, Burgoyne, Filtterman-Lewis, 1992:81)I would like to analise the functions and personae of the episode of "American girl in Paris" of "Sex and City" according to Propp's theory. In analyzing the narrative structure of this episode, I would like to apply some of his functions to one of the story line: Carrie and Alex's love affair. In the story line of Carrie departing for Paris to join Aleks, the joy was afterward displaced by loneliness and sadness; she was slapped by Aleks but finally 'rescued' by Mr Big. Here I simply apply the 'hero' to Mr Big and the villain to Aleks, and the victim Carrie. I should match the functions Propp's listed with this episode. The matches are as follow:Function 6: The villain attempts to deceive his victim in order to take possession of him or of his belongs :Petrovsky surprises Carrie by replacing her missing nameplate with a stunning diamond necklace.Function 7: The victim submits to deception and thereby unwittingly helps his enemy: Petrovsky invited Carrie to go to Paris with him in last episode.Function 8: The villain harms a member of the family: The couple argues, and...

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