Mean girls narrative structure analysis

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1. The first shot here immediately shows us that these four characters are going to be the main protagonists throughout the film. This impression is created by the fact…
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  • 1. The first shot here immediately shows us that these four characters are going to be the main protagonists throughout the film. This impression is created by the fact that they are shown before anyone else. Furthermore, this shot shows an element of an equilibrium because the characters seem to be acting in a normal sort of way. This also tells us that this is the immediate start to the film because it relates to Todorov’s theory of an equilibrium being established at the very beginning of the film.
  • 2. The positioning of this character is extremely important to the portrayal of this character in relation to the narrative. Due to this character being shown very early on in this sequence it tells us that she is a very important character. Moreover, the positioning of her arms tells us that she is a very bold and perhaps authoritative character. This shot also gives insights to the narrative through the fact that she is the first character to be shown on their own. This tells us as an audience that she is a character who may not need to be reliant on others for emotional support. Relating to Propp’s character types it is difficult to label her as a particular character at this point, however, we can guess that she is might be a ‘hero’ or a ‘villain’ due to the fact she is portrayed as very self-confident from this early part of the film.
  • 3. In comparison to the other character shown on her own, these characters could be portrayed in a different sort of way due to the fact that they are in a group. This connotes that they are characters who are less self-assured than the character shown on her own. In relation to these characters being labelled as a ‘type’, you could say that this early stage they are characters who are not as important as the girl on her own. However, a different interpretation could say that these character might work together to overcome the girl shown on her own previous to this slide. Therefore, this tells us that the character shown on her own could be isolated from the group that was shown in the first slide.
  • 4. The use of binary opposites in these two shots create a very strong impression to both of the characters and give us a much better idea to what these characters are like within their groups of friends. The fact that the blonde girl is now with a boy confirms our thoughts that she is very self-assured character who is very popular with others. In contrast, Lindsay Lohan being dressed as an ugly bride clearly shows her position in teenage hierarchy. By showing her upset and disappointed gives an effective use of this binary opposite because it makes us sympathize for this lonesome character.
  • 5. From these series of shots we see that Lindsay Lohan is a protagonist within this film. Although we cannot certainly say what character type she is, from my judgment I think that she is a ‘hero.’ I think this due to Todorov’s equilibrium theory. The fact that she is unhappy at the start of this film tells us that she is ‘seeking’ a change (fundamental quality of a hero.) In addition, Todorov’s theory states that there is always a disruption to the equilibrium in a film. This tells us that she is not going to be this unhappy character for the whole film and that we should expect her to change as a character.
  • 6. The mise en scene in this shot is very important in the portrayal of this character in relation to the narrative and her character type. The use of low-key lighting in this shot portrays this character as negative. Therefore, this tells us that she is most likely going to be a villain type character.
  • 7. This shot shows the first hint of a disruption of the equilibrium in the sequence. The fact that she is slapping a boy that she is with shows us that they might have been doing. Therefore, this shot accurately represents the narrative theory established by Todorov. Introducing this character later on in the sequence tells us that she might not be as important as characters previously mentioned. This shows us that because she is not a ‘villain’ or a ‘hero’ that she could be a different character such as a ‘helper.’
  • 8. Our previous thoughts on thinking that this character is villain is backed up in this shot by the fact that she is experiencing a bad situation. This shot may be placed at the end of sequence to show us that she is going to be a character who is going have her original happiness destroyed at later points in the film. This again links to the narrative theory of Todorov where there is a new equilibrium by the end of the film.
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