The Matrix Narrative

Narrative levels conceal stories within stories. First-degree, second-degree, and third-degree narratives branch off of the matrix (mother) narrative.

“A matrix narrative is a narrative containing an ’embedded’ or ‘hyponarrative‘. The term ‘matrix’ derives from the Latin word mater (mother, womb) and refers to “something within which something else originates” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). In linguistics, a ‘matrix sentence’ is one that embeds a subordinate sentence” (Jahn N2.4.1).

After analyzing these several types of narrative levels, the first story that comes to mind is Guillermo Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story.” A first-degree and second-degree narrative would not suit this story because there are three different layers of narrative: Samperio is writing about Segovia who is writing about Ofelia who ends up writing about Segovia. It would also be considered a matrix narrative simply because other stories are contained within a much larger story. An example of a first-degree narrative would come from Charles Perrault’s short story “Little Red Riding Hood.” The story is linear from beginning to end and shows no indication of delving into subordinate plots.

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