Labovian Narrative Analysis Essay Sample

9 September 2017

In this paper. I perform a narrative analysis on an “oral narration of personal experience” ( Labov. 2011 ) . As follows. Section 1 discusses the methodological analysis used to execute the analysis. Section 2 discusses the construction of the narrative and presents the consequences of the analysis. and Section 3 concludes with a sum-up of the narrative and analyses. Section 1: Methodology

For this analysis. I used a personal experience that is termed an evoked narration. which means I asked the person to portion a narrative alternatively of trusting on of course happening colloquial informations ( Labov. 1997 ) . The narrative is told by a household relation of mine. Lisa. It is about a extrasensory experience she had as a kid in Sydney. Australia and involves the independent motion of a tabular array while Lisa and others were at an unfastened house. To analyse Lisa’s narrative. I used Labov’s original theoretical account of narrative. which breaks down a narrative into distinguishable classs: Abstract. Orientation. Complicating Action. Evaluation. and Coda. In add-on. I used general Labovian narration theory to depict the temporal construction and map of Lisa’s narrative ; nevertheless. I have refrained from utilizing the term Resolution due to its ambiguity in Labov’s literature. Below. in Narrative A. the narrative has been transcribed to ease the undermentioned narrative analysis. Each independent clause is numbered. and all dependent clauses are indented below them. Narrative A: An history of Lisa’s extrasensory experience

( 1 ) Yeah. one time I had this truly interesting extrasensory experience ( 2 ) Uh. back when I was in High School in Sydney in approximately 1977. ( 3 ) my parents were house hunting
( 4 ) and silent and I were look intoing out a house in Killara they were interested in. ( 5 ) Equally shortly as we stepped through the front door into the broad. sunstruck hall. ( 6 ) we were both impressed by the welcoming atmosphere in the house. ( 7 ) There were one or two pieces of furniture in the hallway including an old-timer tray tabular array which had truly old Castor wheels on it the type that don’t turn over really easy even on smooth floors like that hall. ( 8 ) The tray tabular array was standing somewhat at an angle to the wall and the forepart border was about 2 inches farther out from the wall than the rear border. ( 9 ) I noticed all this because we had been standing in the hall chew the fating to the house proprietor. Mrs. C. for a piece ( 10 ) when a adult male came to the front door.

( 11 ) Mum and I were confronting off from the door and towards the tabular array. ( 12 ) Mrs. C at the door had her back turned
( 13 ) but her visitant at the front door had a clear position of it ( the tabular array ) ( 14 ) No-one was standing within 5 pess of the tabular array
( 15 ) and no-one was traveling about to do the floor to travel ( 16 ) but that table really swimmingly and intentionally moved in on its ain towards the wall to sit neatly parallel to it. ( 17 ) The silence was deafening!

( 18 ) The adult male at the door stopped talking for several seconds ( 19 ) so pointed at the tabular array
( 20 ) and in a really rickety voice said “That table merely moved! ” . ( 21 ) Mrs C merely kind of said “hmmm”
( 22 ) and concluded the conversation.
( 23 ) He left.
( 24 ) she turned back to us.
( 25 ) and continued our confab
( 26 ) as though nil had happened.
( 27 ) Suffice to state that was merely the first brush of several I had in that house. Section 2: Results & A ; Analysis






In the undermentioned subdivisions. I foremost describe the general qualities of each narrative class ; 2nd. explicate Lisa’s narrative in footings of the narrative classs ; and. 3rd. show the analysis of Lisa’s narrative in footings of Labovian narrative theory. Section 2. 05: The Most Reportable Event

Before plunging headfirst into the analysis. it will turn out advantageous to specify the term most reportable event ( MRE ) . Harmonizing to Labov. any given narration is constructed around the MRE. It is the ground for the narrative in the first topographic point. Generally it refers to an uncommon or rare event that greatly affects the participants involved. The more uncommon the event appears. the less credibleness it will keep. and frailty versa. Thus it is necessary for the narrative to set up credibleness elsewhere. otherwise the narration will ensue in failure. Section 2. 1: Abstraction

Abstractions. like those in academic articles. occur at the beginning of texts and supply a compendious description of the information to follow. In a sense. they indicate what the reader can anticipate the article to be approximately. In footings of personal narrations. the Abstract informs the hearer what the narrative will be approximately and that it will get down shortly thenceforth. Clause ( 1 ) of Lisa’s narrative is a great illustration of narrative abstracts: ( 1 ) Yeah. one time I had this truly interesting extrasensory experience

Lisa begins her narrative by briefly saying that she experienced something beyond the normal scope of account. This statement informs the hearer that they can anticipate a narrative and decision out of the ordinary. Section 2. 2: Orientation

Immediately following the Abstract. the talker sets the scene by orientating the hearer to the environing elements involved in the narrative. Labovian narrative theory refers to this as the Orientation. It has two intents: foremost. to locate the clip. topographic point. participants. and general occurrences of the narrative ; and 2nd. to set up the credibleness of the MRE. The Orientation establishes credibleness by get downing the narrative with an event that would be foolish to inquire approximately. such as ordinary events. which are events that lack involvement in themselves ( Labov. 2002 ) . Common lingual characteristics of the Orientation are past uninterrupted verbs and temporal adjuncts. In Lisa’s narrative the Orientation begins with clauses ( 2-4 ) : ( 2 ) Uh. back when I was in High School in Sydney in approximately 1977. ( 3 ) my parents were house hunting

( 4 ) and silent and I were look intoing out a house in Killara they were interested in.
Here. she presents the background information needed to continue with the balance of the narrative: Sydney. a house. Lisa and others. and an unfastened house walk-through. There is no ground to inquire about how these events came approximately. because they are so commonplace. Therefore. the credibleness of the narration is non in inquiry. In add-on to clauses ( 2-4 ) . clauses ( 7 ) and ( 8 ) can be considered portion of the Orientation as good. because they contribute to the scene ; nevertheless. they have been incorporated into the Complicating Action. Unfortunately. I will non discourse the Orientation any farther due to infinite restraints. Section 2. 3: Complicating Action

The Complicating Action is the narrative proper. It is what the Abstract and Orientation set up to be told. Generally it contains a set of consecutive clauses. called a narrative concatenation. which leads up to the narrative’s MRE. Each consecutive clause efforts to reply the inquiry “what happened following? ” and can utilize the simple yesteryear or present tenses to travel the narrative forward. In footings of Lisa’s narrative. the Complicating Action is bookended by clauses ( 5 ) and ( 16 ) the story’s MRE. But. non all the clauses in between can be considered clauses of perplexing action. This is because they are non a portion of the narrative concatenation and service as retrospective observations. For case. clauses ( 11-15 ) focal point on the participants’ propinquity and orientation to the tabular array ; they do non come on the narrative forward. In fact. by concentrating on these ordinary events. they slow down the narrative and rise the expectancy of the most reportable event.

If we remove all the clauses that do non lend to the forward motion. the true narrative concatenation becomes evident: ( 5 ) Equally shortly as we stepped through the front door into the broad. sunstruck hall. ( 6 ) we were both impressed by the welcoming atmosphere in the house. ( 9 ) I noticed all this because we had been standing in the hall chew the fating to the house proprietor. Mrs. C. for a piece ( 10 ) when a adult male came to the front door.

( 16 ) but that table really swimmingly and intentionally moved in on its ain towards the wall to sit neatly parallel to it.
These five clauses constitute the Complicating Action and. as we can see. it is comparatively short in comparing to the full narrative. Although clause ( 10 ) is necessary for the Evaluation. even the man’s debut is non critical to the narrative’s patterned advance. It is possible at that place was non much of a narrative to state. but because the credibleness of the MRE was questionable. embroidery of the narrative concatenation with ordinary. hence less questionable. events increased the credibleness of the MRE and produced a longer narrative. Section 2. 4: Evaluation

The Evaluation subdivision serves a few intents. first it justifies the narrative and the talker for keeping the floor for every bit long as they have ; 2nd. it serves to set up the MRE as the ground for the narrative ; and 3rd. it provides information about what happened after the MRE and its affects on those take parting. Common lingual characteristics in appraising clauses are modals. negatives. appraising commentary. embedded address. and irrealis clauses. Clause ( 17 ) begins the Evaluation subdivision in Lisa’s narrative: ( 17 ) The silence was deafening!

At this point in the narrative. it seems that the table’s eldritch motion has elicited a reaction perceptibly different from earlier events. one of deafening silence. If we assume the silence occurred during a conversation. so. in footings of Conversation Analysis. the table’s motion one-sidedly ended the conversation without negociating a shutting. therefore interrupting the norm. If no reaction were elicited. there would hold been no narrative to state. Therefore the reactionist silence serves as evidences for the narrative and establishes the MRE as the ground for the narrative.

The balance of the Evaluation. clauses ( 18-26 ) . reads like a narrative concatenation in a complicating action. Except for ( 26 ) . each clause is consecutive and in simple past tense. However. unlike clauses of perplexing action. they do non come on towards an MRE. Alternatively they describe the assorted reactions to the MRE in sequence. including a deictic gesture. possible ambivalency. and going. Section 2. 5: Finale

At the terminal of the narrative. the Coda maps to return the narrative to the present tense and inform the hearer that the narrative has concluded. It is frequently accompanied by a “timeless” statement. In Lisa’s narrative. the concluding clause acts as the Coda: ( 27 ) Suffice to state that was merely the first brush of several I had in that house.

Lisa concludes her narrative by saying she will state nil beyond the fact that she has more narratives to state. She explains how it all terminals by stating it does non stop rather at that place. Section 3: Decision

After dissecting Lisa’s narrative with a Labovian scalpel. this paper has shown that narrations are non merely simple retellings of events ; instead they are complex buildings with functional intent. As shown above. narrations have an internal construction that can be broken up into distinguishable classs: Abstract. Orientation. Complicating Action. Evaluation. and Coda. Each class provides a necessary map for the narrative. and while some hold flexible places. others do non. Ultimately. the end of a narrative is to inform the hearer of the most reportable event. while continuing its credibleness. To make otherwise would ensue in failure and a decrease of societal standing for the storyteller. As a side note. it would be interesting to look into the construction of Evaluations in other narrations and compare them with Lisa’s. It seemed to me that the reaction to the MRE had higher significance than the MRE did. but because I presently lack experience and cognition in the field of narrative theory. I can non back up my statement.

Mentions

Labov. W. ( 1997 ) . Some farther stairss in narrative analysis. The diary of narrative and
life history. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Trapa bicornis. upenn. edu/~wlabov/sfs. hypertext markup language Labov. W. ( 2002. February 2 ) . Ordinary events. Retrieved from
hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Trapa bicornis. upenn. edu/~wlabov/Papers/OE. pdf
Labov. W. ( 2011. January 1 ) . Oral narrations of personal experience. Retrieved from
hypertext transfer protocol: //www. Trapa bicornis. upenn. edu/~wlabov/Papers/FebOralNarPE. pdf



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