GEH1051/GEK1049: Narrative
2019-20, First Semester

Course Lecturer: A/P Ismail S Talib

Modular Credits: 4 MCs

Who can do this module? This module is intended as a general education module for everyone.

Timetable: Lectures: Wednesday: 2 pm @ UTSRC-LT52
                     Tutorials: Tuesday:    10 am @ AS1-0205
                                                          11 am @ AS1-0205
                                                            3 pm @ AS1-0304
                                                            4 pm @ AS1-0201
                                                            [only 4 tutorial groups]


Narrative as an idea is increasingly used in the humanities and the social sciences in general (some of the inter-disciplinary connections are mentioned in your textbook, and there are also some inter-disciplinary links that you may want to take a look). Students at the undergraduate level should be introduced to some concepts in narrative that will aid them in their use of the idea in their future studies and research.

Module Description

The module will familiarise students with some basic concepts of narrative. The analysis of literary and cinematic narratives will play an important part in the module. However, students will also be exposed to narrative as a basic idea that they encounter in everyday life, and not only in literature and cinema. In this regard, students should develop a finer awareness of how the word narrative is used, and how stories shape their perception of the world. Connections with disciplines outside of literary and cinematic studies will also be made.

Module Trailer

(Enlarge the screen when viewing the video)

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this module is to introduce students to some basic ideas of narrative. Students will learn how to locate and analyse narrative and to appreciate its significance. They will be doing this not only in relation to sophisticated examples found in literature and film, but also in relation to simpler examples found elsewhere.


Lecture hours per week  2
Tutorial hours per week  1
Hours per week for projects and assignments  4
Hours per week for preparatory work  3
Total hours per week  10

Major Topics
(not all topics will be covered every semester: see the programme)

1.  What is a story, and what are its main components?
2.  Importance and omnipresence of narrative in everyday life
3.  How stories begin and end
4.  How a story is set
5.  Persons and characters in stories
6.  Events: linking them into a whole narrative
7.  Plotting the story
8.  Narrating the story
9.  Genres of narrative
10.  Literary narratives
11.  Cinematic narratives
12.  Making a story out of ‘real’ events: history and the news
13.  Narrative and ethics


Tutorial participation    15%
Electronic contributions: IVLE, blogs etc.
Assignment (essay)    20%
Total for CA    60%
Total for Final Examination    40%
Total  100%

Modes of Teaching and Learning

1) Lectures
2) Tutorials

Reading List


Web book: Ismail S Talib, Narrative Theory (GEH1051 version, with the selected readings of some of the chapters)
                   URL of main textbook:


Bal, Mieke Narratology. 2nd Edition.Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1997.
Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith Narrative Fiction. 2nd Edition London: Routledge, 2002.
Toolan, Michael Narrative: A Critical Linguistic Introduction. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge, 2001.

FlipBoard Pages

In addition to the readings above, you may also want to take a look at the following e-zines that I curate on FlipBoard (on iOS and Android tablet and mobile devices). They may be used for ideas for your essay, and to gain a better understanding of the extensive reach of narrative and how it is used more specifically in certain domains: Business & Narrative, Politics & Narrative, Southeast Asian Literature and Video Game Narrative. The following e-zines concern cinema, and some of the entries touch on narrative issues: Film Directing and The Cinematographer. Just in case you are curious about where I get some of my ideas on teaching, you may want to take a look at my e-zine on University Teaching.

Last revised:14 August 2019

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