The Narrative Discourse Analysis: The Case of Gen 12-14

Traditional discourse analysis approaches focus on the grammatical features of a text as indicators of discourse profile. However, these approaches cannot provide answers regarding discourse content. This paper proposes the use of narrative discourse analysis to examine discourse content. This analysis starts with the recognition that the plot of a narrative discourse is formed by events that are related to each other by explicit or implicit cause-and-effect relationships. The events that make up the plot are in fact determined by the relationships between the characters (including God) who enable the actions.
Narrative discourse analysis extends three essential concepts of traditional discourse analysis—syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics—into narrative analysis. The analysis includes three main steps. The first is to study the words associated with a character’s behavior or God’s action. The second step is to analyze the relationships of a main character’s behavior (or God’s action) with other people, with the development of the plot, and with God (or, in the case of God’s action, with the main character). By investigating a main character’s behavior (or God’s action) in the context of these relationships, we can uncover the cause-and-effect relationship between events. The third and final step is to study the situational contexts of the events or actions in a narrative. This can help us understand the successive cause-and-effect relationship between narratives. The effectiveness of this approach is demonstrated through an analysis of Gen 12–14 that focuses on the relationships between the characters, which lead to the cause-and-effect relationships between events in the plot.

4 thoughts on “The Narrative Discourse Analysis: The Case of Gen 12-14”

  1. Deals with an important
    Deals with an important issue–the relationship of form to content (plot) in DA-but this paper is probably better suited for a hermeneutics or discourse analysis section.

  2. Qiang Fu
    I think that when he says “narrative discourse analysis” his method may be closer to typical narrative criticism that to strict discourse analysis. . . especially when he speaks of characters and plot. He seems to be exploring how characterization and plot interconnect, which sounds interesting. I would have liked to see some of his preliminary results of the study and not just an explanation of his method.


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