ERIC Number: ED222854
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Stories Are to Entertain: A Structural-Affect Theory of Stories. Technical Report No. 265.
Brewer, William F.; Lichtenstein, Edward H.
Much of the current controversy in the area of story theory derives from a failure to make clear the distinctions among theories of (1) plan comprehension, (2) narrative comprehension, and (3) story schema. A theory of plan comprehension attempts to account for the ability of humans to interpret the observed actions of another person in terms of that person's intentions. A theory of narrative comprehension is one that attempts to account for the ability of humans to understand narrative discourse. A theory of story schema attempts to deal with the individual's knowledge and enjoyment of the subclass of narrative discourse that comprises stories. Evidence from research suggests that many theoretical and empirical findings thought to contribute to theories of the story schema are better interpreted as relating to plan comprehension and narrative comprehension. To better understand the properties of stories, it is necessary to examine the function of different types of discourse and to take into account the discourse force of the genre being investigated. Stories are the subclass of narratives that have entertainment as their primary discourse force. Research from this perspective has related particular discourse organizations to particular affective responses in the reader and related these to the reader's liking and story intuition judgments. Surprise, suspense, and curiosity were three major discourse structures accounting for the enjoyment of most stories. (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.