Meaning of Narrative

What is Narrative:

Narrative is understood as the oral or written description of an event, real or fictitious, in order to persuade and entertain the viewer, who can be a reader or a listener.

For its part, in literary theory, narrative is a literary genre used by the author to narrate a sequence of events that occurred in a given time and space, experienced by one or more characters.

Therefore, the narrative also implies a form of communication, either oral or written, as already explained, whose objective is the narration of a real or fictional story.

Characteristics of the narrative

Various resources are used to develop the narrative, this will depend on the style with which the ideas of the discourse are ordered, hence the narrative is rich in its modalities to present stories. Below are its main characteristics:

  • The texts are written in prose in order to present, in greater detail, the descriptions that surround the story.
  • Although they are less common, there are also texts whose narrative has long verses.
  • Its objective is to communicate and publicize a story or series of events.
  • Its most important elements are: the narrator, the characters, the space or environment, the story and the narrative style.
  • Generally, first the characters and the space or environment are exposed, then the events are developed until reaching the point of maximum tension and, then, the denouement and end of the story follow.
  • The stories are narrated in the third person, however, narrations can also be made in the second or first person, they are less common but not incorrect.
  • The narrator may or may not be part of the characters.
  • It is part of communication and can be seen both in printed texts and in theatrical and cinematographic dialogues, comics and soap operas, as part of the modern modes of content and information transmission.

See also Narration.

Genres of the narrative

There are various genres and subgenres of the narrative that share the same purpose, to convey a story or information. Below are the main genres of the narrative.


The novel is a literary work written in prose that tells a story composed of several characters and developed in one or more spaces, which gives greater complexity to the understanding of the facts. For instance, One hundred years of loneliness, by the author Gabriel García Márquez.

The novel is a narrative of greater length than a story because it is made up of several elements. In this genre of narrative, the development of events has the purpose of causing pleasure to the reader, for this reason there are different types of novels that present real or fictitious stories.

See also Novel.


The short story is a narrative of true or fictional events that is characterized by being brief, having few characters and fulfilling a playful or informative purpose, hence there are stories directed for all ages. In the past, stories were told orally.

Likewise, the story has a simple or uncomplicated plot that seeks to trigger a series of emotional reactions in the reader to catch their attention. For instance, The feather pillow, by the author Horacio Quiroga.

See also Story.


The epic is an ancient epic story that is characterized by being written in prose, that is, long verses. In these texts the heroic stories and virtues of certain characters that have been transcendental in the culture of a people are narrated. For example, the Iliad of Homer.

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