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Cary Dipietro

CAUSATOIN is one of the most common rhetorical effects of narrative. When we come across a sequence of events related in a narrative order, our natural inclination is to read some causal connection between them (one event to another event in a narrative order becomes cause and effect). Causal narratives are the most powerful and lasting of narratives because they satisfy our need or desire for causation. Narratives also often exploit our need for causation, confusing the difference between causally related events and correlation between events. CHARACTER one of the necessary components of the narrative’s story – the sequence of events or action – and arguably the most important function of narrative: while the action or sequence of events forms the plot, narratives ultimately function to reveal entities or characters involved in actions who have agency over or within those events or actions or for whom the events are meaningful; and, in doing so, narratives enhance our own understanding of ourselves. A fallacy projected by the narrative is that characters are real, however unbelievable or extraordinary they appear. This is an effect of causation, the need to explain the motivations and actions of characters as if they were fully formed psychological entities. As a result, filling in the character gaps poses one of the greatest challenges to interpretation. Characters can also therefore be characterized according to their depth: flat characters lack depth and follow predictable behaviors; round characters are more complex and require greater explanation. Insofar as characters are not real people, but function within narratives that conform to expectations formed by genre, all characters might also be seen to be prefigured by types. Types are kinds of characters which recur through different narrative forms. When characters adhere too strictly to types, without invention or depth, they are referred to as stereotypes. CLOSURE which should not be confused with ending, is the sense of conflict resolution which usually, but not always, comes at the end of a narrative. Narratives are therefore also characterized by their lack of closure, which is created by suspense (a delay of gratifying our expectations) and surprise (the violation of our expectations). Closure answers the narrative conflict, which might also be understood in more plural terms as the multiple expectations and questions which the narrative generates. Expectations are actions or events which the narrative leads us to expect (suspense) – and which therefore play a role in concepts such as genre and masterplot – though successful narratives also often violate our expectations (surprise). Narratives also generate closure and lack of closure at the level of questions. The difference might be understood as that between knowing that a murder mystery will end with the revelation of the murderer (expectations) and knowing who did it (questions). CONFLICT (also known by the Greek term agon) is present in almost all narratives of literary interest. The conflict or agon is a contest of power between the protagonist (or hero) and antagonist (or anti- hero). The conflict in a narrative is not always a simple contest between opposing powers, but may take the form of several characters and multiple conflicts. In any case, conflicts appeal to our need for closure. GENRE also related to the concept of masterplot, a genre is a recurrent literary form. Genre means very broadly "kind" or "type", and can refer to any formal or informal characteristic similarities between narratives (the novel, travelogue, tragedy, comedy, history, etc.). IMPLIED AUTHOR Although an inelegant way to refer to the author, the term "implied author" reminds us that the sense of the author we get from the narrative is, like the narrator or the narrative's characters, a rhetorical effect--in the case of written narratives, of words on the page. The narrative may express the ideas and attitudes of a once-living, breathing author (and he or she may still be living), but we interpret those ideas and attitudes as they are implied by the narrative. MASTERPLOT (sometimes referred to as master narrative) is a story which has been told so often in a given culture that it becomes familiar, recognizable, even cherished; masterplots often become defining features of a culture. Masterplots have strong rhetorical impact because of our emotional and cultural investment in them, and we tend to give credibility to them more readily. MEDIATOIN refers to the process by which the narrative discourse mediates the story. While the story might be factual or fictional, representing a real or made-up event or sequence of events, the story is always mediated by its narrative discourse, and is therefore always controlled by and contained within it. The extreme of this argument is that objective experience is impossible without its mediation: in the case of narrative, narrative might be said to be a way we make sense of and understand our world, and so there can be no entirely objective understanding of events and entities without some kind of mediation. While perhaps tedious, the utility of this argument is the recognition that the narrative discourse or the way that the narrative is mediated is equally important to the narrative than the fact of its events (plot) or entities (character), and is often more important than these. MOTIF is a recurring thing (object, phrase, etc.) in a narrative and may be thought of as the minimal unit of the theme. NARRATIVE the representation of an event or series of events. The event is sometimes referred to as "action," and is the necessary component of narrative. Forms of
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