In media terms, narrative is the coherence/organisation given to a series of facts. The human mind needs narrative to make sense of things. We connect events and make interpretations based on those connections. In everything we seek a beginning, a middle and an end. We understand and construct meaning using our experience of reality and of previous texts. Each text becomes part of the previous and the next through its relationship with the audience.
successful stories require actions which change the lives of the characters in the story. They also contain some sort of resolution, where that change is registered, and which creates a new equilibrium for the characters involved.
Roland Barthes argued that narrative is present in written literature, oral conversation, drama, film, painting, dance, and mime. from evident.
Roland Barthes describes a text as
"a galaxy of signifiers, not a structure of signifieds; it has no beginning; it is reversible; we gain access to it by several entrances, none of which can be authoritatively declared to be the main one; the codes it mobilizes extend as far as the eye can read, they are indeterminable...the systems of meaning can take over this absolutely plural text, but their number is never closed, based as it is on the infinity of language..." (S/Z - 1974 translation) What he is basically saying is that a text is like a tangled ball of threads which needs unravelling so we can separate out the colours. Once we start to unravel a text, we encounter an absolute plurality of potential meanings. We can start by looking at a narrative in one way, from one viewpoint, bringing to bear one set of previous experience, and create one meaning for that text. You can continue by unravelling the narrative from a different angle, by pulling a different thread if you like, and create an entirely different meaning. And so on. An infinite number of times. If you wanted to.
Barthes, Roland (1977) Introduction to the Structural...
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