JCM212/Narrative Analysis

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  1. Choose a movie or a single episode of a TV show, but not one we've watched in class.
  2. Segmentation: Break it down scene-by-scene.
    • Number each scene and write a very short description of it.
  3. Identify each of the narrative elements (from lecture; see below) in your movie or TV episode. Which scene (provide the number) fulfills each element?
    • If your film or TV episode is missing an element, discuss the impact of its absence.
  4. Due Monday, February 5th, 11:59 p.m., via Blackboard/TurnItIn. Must be word-processed.
  5. This is the first of two critical analyses. Each is worth 7 points toward the 100 for the semester.

Sample segmentation


  1. Rachel quizzes Joey about Chandler and Monica.
  2. Credits
  3. Central Perk: Ross reveals that his ex-wife Emily is getting married; expresses frustration at being single.
  4. Chandler's office party: Chandler and Rachel are there as a couple. Chandler laughs too hard at boss' jokes--his "work laugh."
  5. Central Perk: Chandler reveals that Doug wants to play tennis with Chandler and Monica. Rachel grills Monica.
  6. Joey and Ross' apartment: Ross is angry at Emily.
  7. Tennis court: Monica is overly competitive.
  8. And so on...

Classical film narrative elements

  1. Single protagonist
  2. Exposition
  3. Motivation
  4. Narrative enigma
  5. Cause-effect chain
  6. Climax
  7. Resolution

TV-episode narrative elements

These are the elements for a series. Remember that a serial handles these elements slightly differently.

  1. Multiple protagonists
  2. Exposition
  3. Motivation
  4. Narrative problematic (and individual episode's enigma or enigmas)
  5. Cause-effect chain
  6. Climax
  7. Resolution