By Renee Hobbs
Media Literacy IN ACTION
Questioning the Media
Why are we attracted to characters and stories?
Understand how fictional stories can create unreal realities that convey emotional truths
Appreciate the efforts of authors who create fictional works
Examine how character archetypes enable stories to be timeless and universal
Consider how well-designed narrative structure can create high levels of engagement for readers, viewers, and players
Analyze how reality TV structures characters and conflicts in order to produce drama
Stories transform the most challenging and difficult aspects of human experience into pleasure
I'M AN ORIGINAL CATCHPHRASE
CREATE TO LEARN
Storytelling with a Narrative Arc
Select a familiar story that interests you or tell an original one of your own. Working individually
or with a partner, share the story’s main plot points. Then draw a narrative arc, using the visual
structure graph developed by Kurt Vonnegut and shown in this chapter. Make sure your
drawing includes a horizontal axis for time and a vertical axis for good fortune and bad fortune.
Using ideas from the chapter and with your own reasoning and evaluation, add annotations to your drawing to explain your work, helping a reader to see which story elements correspond to the line’s changing shape. You can use Google Drawings or another free media production tool to create your narrative arc. Post and share your work with the global community of media literacy learners using the #MLinAction hashtag.
REFLECT ON YOUR FAVORITE MEDIA
Reflect on one of your favorite books, TV shows, movies, or video games and use the concepts from this chapter to analyze it. Consider these questions
as you plan your Flipgrid response:
• What media text did you select and why do you like it?
• Describe a key character, explaining how his or her personality and actions demonstrate the characteristics of one or more archetypes.
• How does the story use one of the seven basic plots?
• What kinds of conflict do characters experience in this media text? How are the conflicts resolved?
"A forbidding edict or command is passed upon the hero (‘Don’t go there’, ‘Don’t do this’). But the rule is violated. This generally leads to negative consequences. The villain enters the story via this event."
--Vladimir Propp, 1928
Learn more about how Vladimir Propp influenced a generation of media literacy educators, researchers & activists