Posts Tagged ‘Narrative’

Propp & Todorov

November 21, 2013

Narrative, a story which is either fiction or non fiction is what we first looked at in our Media lesson. After finding out the definition we had a brief look into structure of a narrative which basically consists of a cause and an effect chain basically meaning that in a narrative its vital to include a cause as well as an effect. We also looked into how a narrative must follow the rules determined by a genre, for example if its a horror you expect there to be blood, violence and some sort of villain involved which is of course the problem in the film.

Todorov’s theory on narrative has three steps to it. Firstly is the “situation” which is the status quo or in other words the normality of the film which is determined by the genre of the film as you know the genre of the film you would be going to see so the situation wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Secondly is the disruption which is fairly obvious that it is the problem within the film or tv episode. Lastly in Todorov’s theory is the resolution, clearly being the problem being solved in some way or the problem being neutrally resolved as it was in the episode of Looney Tunes we watched in the lesson. Although apart from the neutral ending the episode we watched of Looney Tunes fitted in to Todarov’s theory almost perfectly.

Propp’s theory is on narrative functions which basically is the idea of most narratives being structured like fairy tales. The way it is done is by having the three main, most important characters; Hero, which resolves the problem. A villain, which creates the problem and a victim of the problem which is in some cases a princess of some sort. You realise a narrative function is in most narrative stories. Although it is important to get accross that functions are not necessarily characters as well as the fact characters can inhabit more than one function at a time, for example a victim/hero.


Using Todorov and Propp

October 8, 2013

Todorov and Propp can be used to analyse the narrative of a given text.

Todorov uses the principle that every text has a situation, disruption and a resolution. Propp uses narrative functions and states that every text will have a hero, villain and victim. These however do not have to be characters.

For example, if you apply Todorov and Propp to Titanic you see that the:

  • Situation is that everyone is on the Titanic cruise
  • Disruption is the sinking ship
  • Resolution is that some of the passengers survive
  • Hero is the lifeboats
  • Villain is the Iceberg
  • Victims are the passengers

Titanic is based on true events but if you look at the romantic story line of the film you see that Jack is the hero because he saves Rose, who is therefore the victim while Caledon is the villain who tries to come between Jack and Rose’s relationship.


  • Attractive male
  • Working Class

                                                                                              >> This portrays that being a higher social class doesn’t make you a better person, it in fact probably makes you a                                                                                                      worse person; the hero of the film is from a low social class.


  • Sly
  • Coward
  • Upperclass

Todorov and Propp can also be applied to advertisements such as this Maybelline foundation  advert:

Here we can see that the:

  • Situation is daily life
  • Disruption is having ‘bad’ skin
  • Resolution is having the appearance of good skin
  • Hero is the product
  • Villain is the skin
  • Victim is young women

Another example is this Bold Washing Powder advert:

In this the:

  • Situation is Fixing his car
  • Disruption is having dirty clothes
  • Resolution is getting clean clothes
  •  Hero is the Bold washing powder
  • Villain is the dirt
  • Victim is the boy

Helper: Helps the hero

The Walking Dead Todorov and Propp 30/09/13

September 30, 2013

The Walking Dead(Days Gone By)

Todorov and Propp


Situation=Normal life

Disruption= “walkers”, everyone has died and many have come back to life

Resolution= There is none- N/A


Hero= N/A there isn’t one

Villain= Zombies

Princess= Humans

Series and Serial

The Walking dead is a Serial

Serial= Problem concluded at the end of a series

Series= Problem concluded at the end of each episode



Cliff-hangers, make people watch the next episode


If the audience miss one episode they may not watch any more- This can be overcome with a “last time” at the beginning to show people what they have missed in a nut shell

Online TV companies now release a whole season at a time to get around this



You can just jump in


People will just miss episodes because it is just a drop in- Some shows to get around this have an underlining story or a Narrative Arc= A relationship that develops over time

Soap Operas are different to the rest; they are a serial that never ends until there is no more demand for it