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Week 4

by: Jordan Hanna

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Narrative Formulas and the Cycle of Storytelling
Media, Self and Society
Mary M. Glick
Class Notes
journalism, Media, self, Society
25 ?




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jordan Hanna on Thursday January 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Jour 218-70 at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo taught by Mary M. Glick in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 183 views. For similar materials see Media, Self and Society in Journalism and Mass Communications at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo.

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Date Created: 01/28/16
th Week 4 – January 26 & 28 ▯ Narrative Formulas and the Cycle of Storytelling o Storytelling animals  We come to understand our world and ourselves through stories  Stories tie events together in a casual sequence that allows us to make meaning from them  Usually this involves a protagonist working towards a goal  What stories are we making?  People involved  People/author who write the story who has some idea of what the meaning is  Industry that produces them and might spend hundreds of dollars because it has a better meaning than other stories  You who breaks down the meaning of them and decides if you like it or not—says something about your values o The power of stories  The stories that get told over and over again have some sort of power in our society  Hegemony: process through which a ruling class establishes and exerts their cultural dominance as natural, inevitable, and beneficial to all classes  More than just someone exerting power over another group  More settle process  Ways in which elites justify and manufacture acceptance of the status quo or what is “common sense” or “the way things are”  This is what people look like who are successful  This is the way to be successful  Can often be established through narrative  Why don’t we take all of the rich peoples money?  The American Dream—they have worked for it  System of institutions that allowed them to have this wealth  Hard work pays off in hand  Insulting idea that if you aren’t wealthy than you didn’t work very hard o Consensus Narratives  A protagonist succeeds (or fails) in achieving a goal because of his/her virtues  Success or failure is due to the characteristics of the person  Failure of success based upon these attributes/values becomes “common sense”  Why did they succeed?  Because they worked hard  If you lie too often  people wont believe you  We decide as a reader, do we buy it or not? o “Reading” Narratives  How we choose to interpret stories—3 main ways  Dominant (aka Preferred)  You agree with the narrative and think it is true  The reader the author would “prefer” to have  Negotiated  Accepting some of it but also rejecting other parts  Oppositional  I reject the story and don’t agree with the way they depict success and failure  Examples:  “Nivea for Men” Nivea men’s body wash ad  The Dominant audience  “I must have this product because it’s great and practical”  “If I buy this product women will shave my chest for me”  Agree that yes this is what men want and is funny  The Negotiated audience  I would use this product but it is unrealistic  The Oppositional audience  “This is unrealistic”  This ad is saying all men are heterosexual  Specifically targeting single men  “I Have Thunder Thighs” Nike women’s ad  The Dominant audience  Body positivity  Your personality is tough but also soft  Fitness is a lifestyle that will last forever  The Negotiated audience  Saying this negativity exists, but this ad is against the negativity  The Oppositional audience  Targets women insecurities  Says being toned is better than being petite  Putting one woman/body type against another o Common Narrative Forms  Epic Tales/Stories  “Tales of Spring”: it is often about the beginning or a new beginning  “Tales of King”: it is often about a King  Often take place on this grand scale and its all about the founding of a city, kingdom, ideal, or culture  About the son of the King taming nature and chaos  Examples:  Father figure, teacher, wise, in possession of great power  Star Wars—Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi  The Lion King—Mustafa  Lord of the Rings—Gandalf  The Odyssey  Romances  Son figure (the knight), in the summer of light, upholds values of the King  Establishing duty, honor, chivalry, love, friendship, romantic ties  Some romantic tales are not about two people falling in love  In the end the value is reinforced—even if it is a tragedy  “Tales of Summer”: sometimes set in summer time or the positive time where things are in order  Examples:  Beauty and the Beast  Dirty Dancing  Pretty Woman  Shaun of the Dead  Breakfast at Tiffany’s  500 Days of Summer  Titanic  Melodramas  “Tales of Fall”: because things are in decay (leafs falling off a tree) and things are falling apart  “Story of Pond”  Civilization is somehow falling apart and an outsider/lone man is the “hero” who saves or restores it  Examples:  West Side Story  Gran Torino  Law and Order  Satires  “Tales of Winter”: because everything is dead  Everything has fallen apart  Futuristic film  Heavy element of social criticism and explicitly challenging common sense  Can be comedic (poke fun at) or tragic  Exaggerated representation of the world where all of our worst values are enhanced  Examples:  Dr. Strangelove  Idiocracy  Natural Born Killers  Fight Club o Narrative Cycles and Hegemony  Each story establishes values or virtues that are established, fought for, maintained, under threat, and/or destroyed  In some instances they might affirm what we know is common sense—sometimes they will challenge it  Helps us resolve tensions within us


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