Narrative Theory

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  • 1. Narrative Theory

2. Narrative Theory Narrative can be described as: The wayin which the plot is told to the audience Narrative is strongly linked to the audienceand purpose of a text. Within film the condensing of time isimportant to narrativeThis may be donethrough techniques such as camera fades. 3. Roland BarthesRoland Barthes was a French philosopherwho tried to bring meaning to text. Accordingto Roland Barthes all narratives sharestructural features that each narrative weavestogether in different ways.Despite the differences between individualnarratives, all narratives employ a number oforganisational structures (specifically, five ofthem) that affect our reading of texts.Barthes argues that we should view thesetheories as an invitation to take multiplereadings from texts. 4. Narrative theoryRoland Barthes narrative theory claims that a narrative can be broken down into five codes or sets of rules. These are: Action codeApplies to any action that impliesa further narrative action. Forexample, a cowboy draws his gunon an enemy and we wonder whatthe resolution of this will be. Cultural codeAny element in a narrative that is dependant on peoples knowledgeabout how the world works because of where they have lived. 5. Enigma codeRefers to any element in a storythat is not explained and thereforeexists as an enigma for theaudience, raising questions thatdemand an explanation. Semantic codeAny element in a text thatsuggests an additional meaningby connotations. For example askull has connotations of death. Symbolic codeSimilar to the semantic code, butacts at a wider level where newmeaning arises out of conflictingideas. 6. Applying Barthes Narrative theory to our film Enigma codeWeOur film posters contain enigma code in them. Theposter pictured left has an unexplained figure in thebackground. He is dark and blurred to highlight thesubjects domineering presence. In this image lightingand proxemics have been used to determine theprotagonist and antagonist to the viewer. Our film alsouses the enigma code through a series of unansweredquestions which the audience are left to conclude Semantic codeHere is an example of enigma code withinour film 7. Applying Barthes Narrative theory to our film Action codeThe action code that can beapplied to our film, is when ourprotagonist is going into thewoods the audience wonderswhat she is doing there in the firstplace.Semantic codeBoth posters use semantic code through colour. Wechose to dress our actress in red to intentionallyconnote danger. The red jacket could also signifyblood.