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Elements of the Narrative Text in detail

Elements of the Narrative Text

The elements of the narrative text can be included in 4 fundamental concepts; the structure, the narrator (or narrators), the characters and the context of the story. There may also be other additions that give meaning to the story such as dialogues, which fall within the 4 main elements already named.

A narrative text is one that recounts a series of events that occurred to one or more characters through a narrator (hence its name). They can be fictional or real in nature, for example novels, short stories or biographies.

The narration of a text needs several guidelines to make sense and express ideas correctly. Normally a sequential organization is followed that consists of an introduction , a middle and an end.

Depending on its duration, veracity, chronology or presence of graphic elements, a narrative text can be considered a short story, novel, fable, chronicle, biography or comic strip.

The main elements of a narrative text

1-Structure

The way in which a narrative text is put together begins with an introduction where the reader is presented with one or more relevant facts that allow them to get a concise idea of ​​the main content of the text.

However, this usually depends on the type of text being related. Some, like the biographies, explain in detail the main and minor aspects so that the reader understands easily.

Other texts such as novels can reveal relevant facts well into the story with the intention of maintaining the suspense. Elements of the Narrative Text

Example

In the work Moby Dick (1875) by Herman Melville, the author introduces us to Ismael, one of the protagonists of the novel and the situation that explains the future of his future and that of the text.

Call me Ismael. A few years ago — no matter how long exactly — with little or no money in my pocket, and nothing in particular that interested me on land, I thought I’d go sailing around a bit, to see the watery part of the world. It is a way that I have to drive out the melancholy and fix the circulation.

2-Storyteller

He is the one who introduces us to the facts and leads us through the text. There are several types of narrator with different characteristics capable of modifying the way in which the reader understands the text. They can be classified as first, second and third person narrator.

There are some variations between these types that correspond to the narrator’s knowledge of the story (it can be partial or complete) and to the degree of prominence they have in the plot. For example, there may be a secondary first-person narrator.

Example

The colonel has no one to write (1961) by Gabriel García Márquez is a story that unfolds as told by a narrator who expresses himself in the third person, always being a mere observer and communicator of what is happening. 

The colonel uncapped the coffee pot and checked that there was no more than a teaspoon. He removed the pot from the stove, poured half of the water onto the dirt floor, and with a knife scraped the inside of the jar over the pot until the last scraps of coffee powder mixed with rust from the tin came off.

3-Characters

They are the ones who bring history to life through their actions. Narrative texts are based on the interaction of a character with the world or with other characters.

A character can be at the same time the narrator of the story or simply relate the events from an observer point of view.

There are 2 basic characters in any narrative text:

  • The protagonist, on whom the text is based, since the story revolves around him.
  • The secondary, which is part of the story but in a less important way. Despite this, he may interact with the main character or may even be the narrator.

Example

In the story Pinocchio, written by Carlo Collodi in 1882, the wooden child is the total protagonist of the narrative text. Then, the main secondary is Pepito Grillo, which has a certain importance in the way the work is developed. Other secondary ones are Geppetto or Figaro.

4-Context

Dialogues, environments, settings and times make up the necessary context to give meaning to the story and the characters that make it up. Elements of the Narrative Text

Similarly, the chronology affects the way a story is told, which can be linear or taking “jumps” between one event and another. This chronology is often given by dividing the narrative into chapters.

Example

In the Diary of Anne Frank (1942), the protagonist and narrator captures her thoughts, experiences and ideas without being able to ignore the environment in which her life took place: World War II, while hiding with her family from the Nazis in Amsterdam.

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