open form

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Narratives with no structural (or arguably ideological) closure. In literary works this is typically a deliberate reaction against the conventions of the classic realist text. In relation to mass-media genres, Tania Modleski (b.1949), an American feminist theorist, argues that the structural openness of soap operas is an essentially ‘feminine’ narrative form. Unlike traditional television dramas (e.g. sitcoms) which have a beginning, a middle, and an end, they are episodic and do not build up towards an ending or closure of meaning. They delay resolution and make anticipation an end in itself. See also open and closed texts; compare closed forms; narrative closure.

Subjects: Literature — Media Studies.

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