Tomorrow is forever: examining narrative structure and cultural archetypes in three Mexican telenovelas

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University of Alabama Libraries

Telenovelas are a staple of Mexican popular culture and their narratives communicate discursive, ideological meanings stemming from the history and myths of that culture. The current study provides an in-depth textual analysis of three Mexican telenovelas currently airing on the US Spanish-language network, Univision: Las Tontas No Van al Cielo, Cuidado con el Ángel, and Mañana Es Para Siempre. One week's worth of episodes, from Wednesday to Wednesday, February 25-March 4, 2009, was analyzed. The purpose of this textual analysis is to examine how narrative is constructed and what culturally specific elements are expressed and promoted through the narrative elements, character archetypes, theme songs, and imagery of these telenovelas and their opening credits. This study offers an understanding of the historical roots of the archetypes seen in these telenovela as well as a framework for understanding their narrative structure. A structuralist approach is used to facilitate analyzing both the narrative structure and character archetypes. Ultimately, a framework was created to explain how specific narrative functions are used on a daily basis to forestall the main couple's happiness until the very last episode. Examining the functions in telenovelas reveals how, in many ways, the storylines are variations of similar plots with similar character archetypes. This thesis also contributes to the small body of literature that exists in examining and understanding how historical figures and gender roles are presented and promoted within telenovelas. Telenovelas' elaborate title sequences are also analyzed to see how they express narrative elements and specific cultural meanings in compressed form. Finally, the distinctive manner in which title sequences promote the stars associated with the telenovelas is considered.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Mass Communications, Cultural anthropology, Women's studies