Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

The Department of Arts and Sciences

Rights Management

Rhode Island College


In The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, author H. Porter Abbott defines narrative as “the representation of an event or a series of events” (13). Given this broad definition, narrative events can be represented in a number of ways, as seen in different storytelling mediums like literature, film, television, paintings, video games, or even daily oral storytelling. Narrative is the way in which one communicates a story. In literature, writers must use text and the placement of text on a page or a screen in order to convey a series of events. Writers can utilize narrators in literature in a number of ways, such as using a third-person omniscient narrator in order to present a character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout a novel or a short story, or using word placement, details, and punctuation in order to imply a length of time. Unlike literature, films contain audio and visuals that can be utilized by filmmakers in order to tell their stories. While the medium of film may use some of the same devices as literature, such as various styles of narrators, imagery, or metaphors, films perform and present these devices differently than literature does.1 While literature presents the setting of the story through text and word-based imagery, films present the setting through visual images and sounds, displaying images of New York in order to communicate that location to the audience, or incorporating sounds of a busy cityscape in order to imply that a scene takes place in or near a busy city area. The way in which each storytelling medium is structured is different, and this allows for differing ways of presenting content to audiences.