Sunday, 8 April 2012

Story Grammar





Story grammar evolved from analyses of folktales conducted by anthropologists in the early 1900s. Story grammar is a means for investigating the characters of the story Schema, a hypothesized mental structure, and for testing predictions about story processing.

Story Elements Defined by Stein and Glenn (1979)

Element
Definition
Example
Setting
Introduction of main characters
Once upon a time there were three bears, the momma bear, the popa bear, and the baby bear. They all lived in a tiny house in a great big forest.
Initiating Event
An action or happening that sets up a problem or dilimma for the story
One day a little girl named Goldilocks came by.
Internal Response
The protagonist's reactions to the initiating event
She was surprised to see the house and noticed it was empty.
Attempt
An action or plan of the protagonist to solve the problem
She went inside to find the three bears gone and ate the baby bear's soup, broke the baby bear's chair, and fell asleep in the baby bear's bed.
Consequence
The result of the protagonist's actions
The bears return to find things eaten and broken and to find Goldilocks in the baby's bed.
Reaction
A response by the protagonist to the consequence
Goldilocks ran away.

Grammar Rules for Simple Stories
Rule #
Rule
1
Story -- Setting + Theme + Plot + Resolution
2
Setting -- Characters + Location + Time
3
Theme -- (Event)* + Goal
4
Plot -- Episode*
5
Episode -- Subgoal + Attempt* + Outcome
6
Attempt -- Event*/Episode
7
Outcome -- Event*/State
8
Resolution -- Event/State
9
Subgoal/Goal -- Desired State
10
Characters/Location/Time -- State


The symbol “+” indicates the combination of elements in sequential order. The parentheses around Event indicate that the element is optional; the asterisk (*) indicates that the elements may precede the statement of the goal.


 
Canoncial Story Grammar Model (CSGM)
Element
Definition
Setting
Introduction of the main character and description of the time, location, and/or social context of the story.
Beginning Event
A cause which initiates a reaction or response of the main character.
Internal Reaction
An emotional response by the character which leads to the creation of a goal.
Attempt
An action of the character to achieve the goal.
Ending
Attainment or nonattainment of the goal by the character and/or the character’s reaction to the outcome and/or a moral.



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