COMM 274 “Narrative as a Formal System

Range is a matter of degree the plots range of story

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Range is a matter of degree; the plot’s range of story information creates a hieracrchy of knowledge a.i. In order to discern narration types we can ask if the viewer knows more than, less than, or as much as the characters do a.i.1. Who knows what when? b. Unrestriced Narration : we know more, we see and hear more than any of the characters can
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c. Omniscient Narration : extremely knowledgeable; essential to creating the sense of many destineies or fates d. Restricted Narration : we don’t see or hear anything that the narrator cannot see or hear; limiting scope can create curiosity and surprise; important to mystery film; completely restricted narration is not common D. Depth of Story Information a. Narration not only manipulates the range of knowledge, but also manipulates the depth of knowledge b. Continuum between objectivity and subjectivity c. Point-of-View Shot : c.i. Perceptualy Subjectivity : visual or auditory point of view offering a degree of subjectivity d. Narrative films can present story information at various depths of a characters psychological life d.i. Such as hearing a internal voice reporting the thoughts of a character, or seeing a characters inner images that represent memories, fantasies, dreams, or hallucinations d.ii. Mental Subjectivity e. Most films insert subjective moments into an overall framework of objectivity f. Flashbacks offer a fascinating instance of the overarching power of objective narration; usually are motication as mental subjectivity since the events are triggered by the character recalling the past E. The Narrator a. Narraction is the process by which the plot presents story information to the spectator; may shift between different ranges (restricted, unrestricted) and be presented using various degrees of subjectivity b. The narrator may be a character, however does not have to be c. Noncharacter Narrator : common in documentaries; we never learn who belongs to the anonymous “voice of God” we hear d. The viewer’s process of picking up cues, developing expectations, and constricting and ongoing story out of the plot will be partially shaed by what the narrator tells/doesn’t tell
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  • Fall '12
  • Coffman
  • Narratology, Narrative Construction

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