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Narrative AS Terminology Revision

Rob Miller | Tuesday September 27, 2011

Categories: GCSE, AQA GCSE, A Level, Eduqas (WJEC) A Level, WJEC A2, WJEC A2 Media Studies, WJEC AS, WJEC AS Media Studies, Film, Crime Drama, Key Concepts, Narrative, Hot Entries, Television, Television Crime Drama

Source: Latymer Media Blog

Associated Resources

  • Narrative AS Terminology Revision Sheet.doc


  • Narrative
  • Narrative Enigmas
  • Narrative Themes
  • Narrative Structure
  • Narrative Theory


  • The structure and organisation of media texts e.g. story
  • Narrative chain of cause and effect – the plotlines in a story that are triggered by action and enigma codes (something happens that causes something else to happen)
  • Narrative is correlated with genre – some genres have typical storylines

Narrative Enigmas

  • Codes which limit audience information – a puzzle to be solved e.g. “who, what, why, when, where, how??
  • Purpose – engages audience attention, maintains curiosity and interest within the narrative chain of cause and effect
  • Crime Drama – enigmatic, ‘investigative’ narrative

Narrative Themes

  • Social issues which are explored within the media text e.g. family values, social class, sexuality
  • Narrative themes tend to be explored by the Horror and Crime Drama on a more manifest level because the narrative tends to be more simplistic and encoded with entertainment values

Narrative Structure

  • The structure and format of the storyline e.g. closed/open, three act structure, four act structure, linear/non linear, asynchronous, single stranded/multi-stranded
  • Hollywood Film – typically, many texts have a single stranded, closed, 3 act structure

Narrative Theory

  • Claude Levi-Strauss: theory related to Binary Oppositions
  • Binary Oppositions are a way of understanding the Narrative in media texts
  • Crime Drama Binary Oppositions:
    • Murderer | Investigator
    • Crime Scene | Police Station
    • Strong Male | Female Victim
    • Working Class | Middle Class
    • Intelligence | Ignorance
    • Good | Evil
    • Guilt | Innocence
    • Right | Wrong
    • Private Life | Professional Life
  • Todorov – 4 Act Structure:
    • Equilibrium
    • Disruption
    • Resolution
    • New Equilibrium
  • Crime Drama – (Todorov): Equilibrium = Normality, Disruption = Crime, Resolution = Crime Solved/Enigmas resolved,...

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