share-eng_title shre-eng top
  This page updated Friday, July 20, 2012 4:10 PM


NEVER talk about techniques adding "meaning". That's way heavy and besides, it just doesn't mean anything.

Meaning is about significance, and significance is relative. That is it depends on who is making the meaning and where they are looking from - their position. Meaning is related to context - context being the surrounding set of circumstances.

In relation to narrative (a narrative is a story, with sequence of events or plot, character or characters, a beginning, middle and end (generally) and some form of conflict, a high point/turning point of the action (climax) generally being resolved in this 'end'. (NB not all of these elements apply to all stories, however all stories have many or most of these. (See significance of story.)


interest, suspense, tension, drama, compressing or expanding time, creating excitement, amusing, preoccupying, anticipation, involvement, participation, intrigue, calm, stability, instability, foreshadowing, blah blah etc.

What a story means

In relation to CHARACTER we can talk about techniques shaping, constructing, developing the following "meanings":

sympathy, empathy, engagement with, being threatening, fragiility, dislike of, attention to some part of, awareness about something, anticipation of something, participation with, objective viewing of, laughing at, laughing with, admiring, respecting, sadness for, happiness with, calm about, amusement with, representation of, blah blah etc.

In relation to THEMES and IDEAS, although these arise out of character and action, we can also be aware of them being communicated by techniques shaping, constructing, developing (these ideas through) :

foregrounding, privileging, subverting, contrasting, juxtaposing, highlighting, challenging, endorsing, hinting, suggesting, imposing, embodying, symbolising, reinforcing, repeating and so on;

There are certainly other categories, however the final way we will look at how "meaning" is added is to PLEASURE AND AESTHETIC ELEMENTS. For these I will use adjectives for what is :

exciting, fun, beautiful, breathtaking, peaceful, emotional, balanced, symmetrical, way-out, arty, amusing, cool, classy, trendy, hip, flashy, dark, deep, depressed, heavy and so on into Donnie Darko oblivion..

Other categories that we could list for may be SETTING, MOOD,  GENRE.

Fim techniques do add meaning, but that meaning is SOMETHING. Say whatever that something is.


About | Site Map | Contact |
Feel free to access these resources for study purposes or classroom use. However where they have been directly dowloaded for distribution or copied and provided as notes, please acknowledge as a courtesy. John Watson
JW email
Share-Eng Home Share-Eng Home shre-eng top