A frame tale, as the name implies, is a narrative that frames or surrounds another story or series of stories. It often comes at the beginning and conclusion of a longer piece, providing crucial background and key information for how to read it. Frame tales are used in journalism, non-fiction, fictional works, and poetry.
Examples include: "A frame story can be seen in many newspaper articles where they will usually begin with a brief description of what happens in the article or story after the frame story or frames." "A frame tale can be seen in many novels where they will usually begin with a brief summary of the story or tell you who the main characters are before giving the plot away." "Frame tales are used by journalists to explain certain events or issues that aren't relevant to other parts of the article or story." "Non-frame examples include an interview or biography that introduces both the subject and interviewer/biographer." "Fictional examples include a prologue that tells you how the story begins even if the rest of the work isn't fiction." "Poetic examples include epigraphs - quotations from poets that are included at the beginning of their poems."
Frame stories are used by journalists to explain certain events or issues that aren't relevant to other parts of the article or story.
Non-frame examples include an interview or biography that introduces both the subject and interviewer/biographer.
A frame narrative is a literary method in which an embedded narrative, or story inside a story, serves as background for the primary narrative. A frame narrative, also known as a framing narrative or a frame tale, can appear at the start, middle, or finish of a story.
Some examples of frame narratives include The Odyssey by Homer (which consists of two stories within stories), Pinocchio's adventures after being turned into a real boy (which are told within the larger story of Geppetto's attempts to make a puppet come alive). Many novels and short stories contain frame narratives: these often provide context for the main plot or reveal information about the characters while they are still developing.
Frame narratives are common in literature written in languages that use the enjambment style of poetry for narrative verse, such as English and French. In these cases, the last line of each stanza or section of prose is usually incomplete or lacking in any punctuation, allowing the reader to continue the story in their mind. This is different from traditional narrative poetry, where complete lines are used to signal the end of one thought and the beginning of another. The use of enjambment in this type of writing allows the writer to include more information in a given amount of space or time.
Frame narratives are important in non-fictional writing too.
Readers are led from the initial narrative into one or more other stories inside it by the framing story. The framing tale can also be utilized to educate readers on parts of the secondary narrative (s) that would otherwise be difficult to grasp. This technique is called "the educational frame."
The framing story is used to connect the main story with other events in the novel. For example, in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, the first chapter consists entirely of a brief story narrated by Ebenezer Scrooge himself. This chapter is called "An Introduction to Mr. Scrooge". The purpose of this chapter is two-fold: first, to give readers information about Scrooge that they might not otherwise know; second, to set the stage for the rest of the novel by connecting it with another story - that of Jacob Marley and his descendants.
Frame stories aren't just useful within novels either. Playwrights have also used them to great effect. William Shakespeare often included short scenes at the beginning of his plays to provide context for what will follow later in the script. These frames serve several purposes including setting up future events, explaining past actions or characteristics, and even revealing secrets about the characters.
As in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, a narrative within a story within another story. The form, like Mary Shelley's, mimics in structure the story's thematic search for something deep, dark, and secret at the center of the narrative. In addition to being an example of epistolary fiction, Frankenstein belongs to a long tradition of framed narratives that includes works by Chaucer, Boccaccio, Cervantes, Defoe, Fielding, and Dickens.
The usage of a frame narrative is critical since it shows more information and specifics in the individual stories. It contributes to a better comprehension of the work and is a crucial aspect of the tale. Additionally, the use of a frame narrative allows the author to expand on various topics without interfering with the main plot.
Canterbury Tales is a collection of thirty-three short stories written by Geoffrey Chaucer between 1387 and 1400. The tales were first published in April 1485 in an edition edited by William Caxton for Henry VII's coronation. They have been influential ever since then; the poet John Donne called them "the most beautiful writing in the English language."
Chaucer wanted to write a series of stories that would appeal to his audience of London merchants and their wives. He chose four ordinary men and women (each one representing a moral quality) and had them tell stories based on their experiences. These characters are referred to as "tales-tellers" or "narrators."
By telling several stories within the frame of a larger one, Chaucer was able to include much relevant information about court life in late medieval England.
The primary advantage of a frame narrative is that it allows us to tell a tale (whether the entire book or various stories throughout) in the voice of a single character who lives beyond the story's limits. The second major advantage is that it gives the author freedom in plotting his or her story.
There are two types of frame narratives: internal and external. In an internal frame narrative, the narrator is always the main character; there is no "fourth wall" between him or her and the reader. Thus, the narrator can tell the whole story without ever leaving his or her mind. Some famous examples of internal frame narratives are George Orwell's 1984 and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Both novels use near-future settings and share many characters, so they could be considered alternate versions of each other. They also both conclude with the main character going on to live another day - this time in the future.
External frame narratives have a fourth wall that separates the narrator from the reader. So even though the main character is still alive at the end of the book, the reader does not learn anything more about him or her. Some famous examples of external frame narratives are Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. These stories are told by someone who was not involved in the events themselves but who comments on them from afar after they happen.