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Narrative Explanation

A Pragmatic Theory of Discourse


John-K. Adams

Narrative is a discourse that explains past events. Behind this definition is the pragmatic assumption that a narrator uses language for a purpose, which in simple terms means that a narrator uses language to tell what happened. When we examine what a narrator provides in telling what happened, we find - among other things, but most of all - a sequence of events. In this sequence, one event leads to another; otherwise the events are simply a random collection. As a result, if one event leads to another, then all the events in the sequence lead to a final event, and in so doing, they show or explain how the final event came about, which in terms of the pragmatic theory presented here, answers the question of what happened as well as what happened.
Contents: Formalism and Narrative - Structuralism and Narrative - Narrative Representation - Narrative Use - Narrative Discourse - Narrative Explanation - Causality and Narrative - Intention and Narrative.