Narrative Criticism

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Narrative criticism

Do not use words  VERY or EXTREMELY!

2500 words!

To assist you in understanding how rhetors respond to rhetorical situations with stories full of characters, deeds, and settings


Music video: Tupac : Dear mama

Use a music video that conveys a story

Describe how the written, visual or lyrical story functions as a narrative guide to belief and behavior for its intended audience

Evaluate the rhetors success in persuading the audience to become an active participant in the creation of the story

Make sure you are using the theory to analyze the story and not just describing the plot.

Narrative criticism studies rhetors response to rhetorical situations through the creation of symbols that tell a story of characters, their deeds and the setting where deeds take place

Elements that form narrative consist characters, theme, plot, setting.

Talk about Main conflict and structure.

probable qualities (cohesion):

Is it consistent (make sense by itself)


Analysis of Narrative Form  (5 points)

Characters + Setting = Plot

Theme (meaning of narrative)



Change of Fortune (Peripeteia)

Narrative Voice






Captures and holds audience attention 

Creates identification between characters and audience

Stirs audience values

Forces audience out of their point of view



Occurs in natural time line  

Includes characterization  

Presents details


Not obviously argumentative –



NEVER comment on the principle or message you want the audience to walk away with



Does the narrative spring from larger story?

Step 1

Analyze Narrative Form

Identify the characters and what they represent

Identify the setting and what it represents

Sketch the plot pattern and identify the points of conflict

Explain how the characters, setting and plot reveal the theme

Analysis of Narrative Function  (5 points)

Step 2

Analyze Narrative Function

How does narrative energize the audience?

How does it create a sense of identification between characters, the narrator and the audience?

How does it transport the audience into a different place and time to obtain new perspective?

How does it tap into the basic values or needs of the audience to produce an emotional response?


Analysis of Form and Function Linkage  (10 points)

Step 3

Link Form & Function to Reveal Argument

What makes the story form choices compelling?

How does it fulfill the four narrative functions?

What makes the narrative credible for a particular audience?

Paper Style Guide

No names, page numbers or other headers or footers

Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 spacing (no extra space between paragraphs)

1 margins all around with margins full justified

No very or extremely

Interesting Introduction

Clear statement of purpose telling the reader where you are going

Artifact being analyzed

Reason for selecting

Research question not focused on individual artifact

Contribution to larger theory

Describe Artifact

Brief overview or summary plot, major arguments, situation, lyrics, etc.

Context place artifact in time and place

Describe Method of Analysis  (Unit of Analysis = Rhetorical Theory/Method)

Key concepts

Procedures and assumptions

Appropriateness for research question

Report Findings

Results of analysis individual interpretation of artifact

Offer evidence for claims samples from artifact

Data leads to conclusions argue the relationship that exists between them


Summarize conclusions and interpretations in respect to research question

Comment on importance of findings for further research

Reference Citations 

APA or MLA reference style


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