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The Function of Narrative

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The Function of Narrative

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  • July 17, 2012
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What are we if not a collection of stories? From birth we are impressed by the stories of others till one day we start to gossip, complain about our day, sing songs, write novels, direct films, and string them together our own experiences to form a narrative. In Graeme Turner’s Film Narrative he presents the argument of Lévi-Struass, that narrative itself is used to frame our understanding of the world through the use of two opposing opposites to structure the story and can be proven by its reflection of how we define the world around us, how we reflect with the hero who. This proves to be an accurate description because, quite simply, narrative is as old as humanity itself. In the past narratives served an intense function as being the educators of the world and has been the humanities greatest vehicle in the provision of knowledge. There seems to be something astonishing in our reconnaissance of information when presented in the form of a story; for instance years after one has watched a film he may be able to remember the plot line, morals, and even identify the names of the characters, as opposed to a student coming out of a lecture hall who has to diligently study simply to recall what was told to him a few weeks prior. It seems so appropriate then, that the theme of most (if not all), religions have been to provide knowledge on what we do not know and is often told in the form of a story. To say that these master narratives provide only a list of ideals and rules is to discredit the authors, quite the contrary they present a story full of pathos and entrainment in a relatable way. Christianity, the world’s most subscribed religion for instance is told through a series of stories compiled in the world’s most popular book, the bible. Entertainment and understanding was provided through narratives, even pre-literate societies would speak of myths to give meaning and stability to their lives. The entire survival of narratives throughout the ages can probably be...