What Are The Basic Features And Elements Of A Narrative?


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Alex Nelson Profile
Alex Nelson answered
Being an idea of such high concept, rather than a physical 'thing' it can be hard to define the features and elements of a narrative, as they vary wildly and there are so many.

Narrative basically means 'story', although it is more specifically used to describe the way the events in a story are portrayed. Narrative appears in many forms of modern art and entertainment, including works of speech, writing, song, film, television, video games, photography, and theatre.

Obvious elements and features that immediately spring to mind may include: Characters (the people that occupy your story), setting (where the majority of your story takes places), as well as the main events that take place in the story, driving the narrative forward. In visual medias such as film and television, narrative is conveyed to the audience through the considered use of camera angles and movement, lighting, sound, props. Shot framing and composition, design and layout and editing.

Many people have theorized on narrative, and one of the most famous examples is Todorov who, basing his findings on Russian folk tales, theorized that all narratives follow a basic three part structure, in which an equilibrium (state of peace) is shattered by an event, throwing the narrative into disequilibrium, which must be resolved back into an equilibrium by the characters of the story.

Vladamir Propp similarly theorized on Russian folk tales, and came to the conclusion that there are only a certain amount of character types that appear in any narratives. They can be identified in the following manner:

Protagonist (or Hero): Leads the narrative, is usually looking for something (a quest) or trying to solve something (a mystery).
Antagonist (or Villain): Gets in the protagonist's way.
Heroine: Usually some sort of prize or reward for the hero - if your hero is female, your heroine can be male.
Father: An authority figure who offers a reward to the hero for completing their quest. That reward might be a prince or a princess for example.
Helper: Helps the hero - often acts as a sidekick.
Donor: Gives the hero something - a clue, a talisman, a special power - which helps them complete their quest.
Mentor: Teaches and guides the hero.


Another theorist, Claude Levi-Strauss, reckoned that all narratives must be driven forward by a conflict caused by a series of opposing forces. This was to become know as Binary Opposition, and some examples of this are as follows: Light/dark, good/evil, noise/silence, youth/age, right/wrong, and poverty/wealth.

Try applying the above ideas to the stories of your favorite films or books, and see how well they fit.
shirley kamaya Profile
shirley kamaya answered

Characters, plot, elements all are important point of view in a photo. Any narrative features included by media help the photography to get scholarship.

Karl Sagan Profile
Karl Sagan answered

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Amanda Wells Profile
Amanda Wells answered
The main things to remember include setting, characters, plot (also called storyline) and elements like point of view - who tells the story, eg one of the characters or  is it a third person narrative. Any narrative will include these features. For a more detailed overview you could have a look at this essay on the topic.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Basic Elements of Narrative
Basic Elements of Narrative outlines a way of thinking about what narrative is and how to identify its basic elements across various media, introducing key concepts developed by previous theorists and contributing original ideas to the growing body of scholarship on stories.
• Includes an overview of recent developments in narrative scholarship
• Provides an accessible introduction to key concepts in the field
• Views narrative as a cognitive structure, type of text, and resource for interpersonal communication
• Uses examples from literature, face to face interaction, graphic novels, and film to explore the core features of narrative
• Includes a glossary of key terms, full bibliography, and comprehensive index
• Appropriate for multiple audiences, including students, non-specialists, and experts in the field

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