1) Look at three different media objects: one print-based, two television/film/web-based and with a mixture of factual and fictional. Examine them to see how far Todorov’s linear narrative structure and Propp’s notion of character functions and narrative units apply to the different texts.
In a magazine, it is extremely difficult to find any evidence of Todorov or Propp. I don’t think there would be in any print-based media; with perhaps the exception of print adverts. There isn’t really any Propp in ‘Look’, but maybe Todorov’s theory could be applied to the main story on Cheryl Cole, and the letters that people write to the magazine. In both there is a slight sense of equilibrium, dis-equilibrium, recognition, attempt and new equilibrium.
I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!
There is a sense of Todorov’s theory in ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ because, at the beginning of the show they show everyone in camp (equilibrium) and re-cap who has been chosen for the trial (dis-equilibrium) then they all accept that that particular person has been chosen (recognition), then the person does the trial (attempt) and finally, the food is brought to camp (new equilibrium). Propp’s theory could also be applied in regards to the celebrities in the camp, all of them play different roles within the dynamics of the camp, so Propp’s theory could apply there.
It is much easier to apply theory to ‘Waterloo Road’ as it is a fictional series. Todorov’s theory can be applied to every episode; things are normal in the school, something happens, it takes a while for the teachers to realise and when they do they try to resolve it and finally things are resolved. Propp’s theory can also be applied as his characters are also present in every episode.
2) Write a brief description of how each of these character functions and narrative units move the narrative forward through the different stages. Can you isolate other character functions and/or narrative stages in your media objects that Todorov and Propp did not isolate?
In ‘Look’ magazine they keep you reading through the article and through the magazine. In ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’ they keep you watching and they make the programme more entertaining and give it structure- you know what will happeb every episode. ‘Waterloo Road’ is the same as ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here!’, it keeps you watching and makes it entertaining.
3) See if you can find a media object that does not conform to Todorov’s linear narrative structure and/or does not contain Propp’s narrative functions. If so, is that related to their form (for example, that it is a web-based, more interactive media object)? In what way is it different and why? What are the possible effects on the audience’s reading of the object: does it make the meaning clear?
‘Top Gear’ doesn’t have Todorov’s narrative structure; except for maybe the challenge section; but it certainly doesn’t have Propp’s theory. This isn’t related to their form, as it isn’t an interactive or web-based media object. The audience can understand and read the object as well as they would any other media text.