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Page 1: Narrative Theory

Narrative Theory

Music Video: Tear In My Heart by Twenty One Pilots

Page 2: Narrative Theory

This music video starts with a close up shot of the lead singer. He fills up the whole frame and is in the direct center of the shot, drawing the audiences attention to him.This close shot and positioning presents the lead singer as the ‘Hero’ of the video, in line with Propp’s theory of the ‘types’ of characters in music video.The background is bright and the singer seems calm, and so the beginning ‘equilibrium’ that Todorov’s theory proposes is shown. There is no problem and therefore is a happy start to the video

Page 3: Narrative Theory

The second stage in Todorov’s theory is a disruption of equilibrium. This is presented in the music video by these close ups of members of the public. As the camera zooms in from a mid shot to various types of close ups, their faces become distorted. This changes the feel of the music video to a more sinister one and disrupts the equilibrium.The members of the public are also, due to the distortion, presented as the ‘villains’ of the video. This is shown as they are made to look alien like and threatening, all staring at the Hero who’s perspective we are being shown through the lens.

Page 4: Narrative Theory

Todorov’s third stage, realization of disruption, is shown above. The Hero begins to realize that there is a problem as he looks around and sees the Villains staring at him. He then becomes visibly agitated and this disrupts the equilibrium further. The idea of this disruption is reinforced further as the background begins to become physically damaged. The buildings start to crumble and explode, however no one in the background or foreground reacts to it.

Page 5: Narrative Theory

In this shot, a close up of a woman is used. Unlike the other people who have had close ups in the music video, her face does not become distorted in any way. The fact she plays the role of the princess is also reinforced by the signifier of light clothing and hair. This signifies the idea of purity, innocence and angelic nature. This shows the audience that something is different about her, and suggests that she may be the ‘repair’ of the disruption.This also conforms to Propp’s character type theory, as the lighting around her and fact she is the only one not distorted shows the audience that she is the Princess, the one who is meant to be the reward for the Hero.

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After chasing after the Princess, the Hero begins to talk to her. This appears to be the repair of the disruption, as the Princess begins to lip-sync the lyrics to the song, just as the Hero has been doing. He no longer seems agitated and the video seems to have reached a restoration of equilibrium.

Page 7: Narrative Theory

However, Propp’s theory of the 5 characters can be questioned in the next shot, as the one who plays the Princess then begins to kick, punch and attack the Hero. This subverts from Friedan’s idea of the roles that women play in society, the calm, shy and feminine housewife. It instead gives the woman an edge of dominant and aggressive behavior, not at all weak and gentle like what is stereotyped.This shot also leaves the audience questioning, as the equilibrium seemed to have been restored and Todorov had suggested that narrative ends here.

Page 8: Narrative Theory

In the final shot of the video, equilibrium is finally actually restored. The close up shot shows the audience that the Princess and the Hero are kissing, finally together with the disruption finally repaired and the equilibrium restored.There is a happy ending too the story, in line with Todorovs narrative theory.