What are Narrative Cores? (with Examples)

Egbert Haynes

The narrative cores They are all the parts of a narrative text that are essential for the continuity and coherence of the story. They are the main actions, all the truly relevant events within the story and that, without them, it would be impossible to understand or continue it..

All narration has one or more narrative cores and they are easily identifiable since, if they are eliminated from the narrative, what is narrated below is not understandable. If, on the contrary, a part of the text is removed and what follows maintains coherence, then we are facing a secondary text.

When we have read a story or seen a movie and they ask us to tell it, if we can focus on what is important and do not go around the bush, then without knowing it, we will be selecting the narrative knots to explain the development of the plot.

The succession of several narrative nuclei forms what is called the narrative sequence. The narrative is composed of a series of elements, among which are the actions, which take place in a certain time and space..

Within these actions there are some that form the backbone of the story. These are the so-called narrative nuclei.

Main characteristics of the narrative nuclei

1- They narrate the main facts of the story.

2- They mark and allow the advances, turns or retreats of the plot.

3- They are present throughout the entire narrative structure.

4- They present a logical time sequence: each one follows the previous one.

5- They are related to each other.

6- To maintain this relationship they need connecting elements such as: then, in the meantime, since, therefore, so that, later, still, etc..

7- They establish a cause-effect relationship, since the action to which it refers in the first place triggers another subsequent action.

Example of narrative cores

Next, a story known to all is reproduced, where the narrative nuclei contained in it will be highlighted.

Little Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time there was a girl named Little Red Riding Hood, as her grandmother gave her a red hood. One day, Little Red's mother sent her to her grandmother's house, who was ill, to bring her a basket with bread, chocolate, fruits and sweets. His mother told him: "do not stray from the usual way and do not talk to strangers".

Little Red Riding Hood was singing along the way, cutting flowers and doing dance steps when, suddenly, she met the wolf and said: "Little Red Riding Hood, Little Red Riding Hood, where are you going?" "To my grandmother's house to bring her bread, chocolate, sugar and sweets." “We are going to have a race! I will leave you the shortest way and I the longest to give you the advantage. " Little Red Riding Hood accepted but she did not know that the wolf had deceived her. The wolf arrived earlier, ate the grandmother and disguised himself with his clothes and lay down on the bed, wrapping himself up to his neck with the blankets.

When Little Red Riding Hood arrived, he knocked on the door: "Who is it?" Said the wolf dressed as granny. "It's me," said Little Red Riding Hood. "Come in, come in, granddaughter." When Little Red Riding Hood saw her grandmother, she noticed her very strange and began to ask her questions. "Granny, what big eyes you have," said the surprised girl. "They are to see you better." "Granny, granny, what big ears you have." "They are to hear you better." "And what a big nose you have." "It's to smell you better." "And what a big mouth you have." "It's to eat you better!".

The wolf disguised as a granny got out of bed to eat the girl too.
Little Red Riding Hood started running around the room and the wolf after her. From so much running I was exhausted and almost without the strength to run. The wolf was about to catch up with her when some hunters passed near the hut and upon hearing the screams they approached with their shotguns. When they saw the wolf, they shot him and took the grandmother out of the wolf's belly. So Little Red Riding Hood after this scare did not disobey her mother again. And colorin colorado this story is over.

As can be seen, the narrative core of this traditional tale is the meeting of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in the forest. However, there are several important and easily recognizable moments and actions in the story of Little Red Riding Hood:

1- The girl leaves for her grandmother's house, prior to the recommendation of the mother (if the girl did not go out, she could not have met the wolf).

2- The girl meets the wolf and talks to him, disobeying the mother's instructions (if the wolf does not talk to Little Red Riding Hood, he would not find out where he is going and he would not be able to execute his plan).

3- The wolf goes ahead, arrives at the grandmother's house and eats her (if this action is eliminated, nothing that follows would make sense).

4- The wolf tries to eat Little Red Riding Hood;

5- The girl screams and some hunters intervene, killing the wolf.

On the other hand, secondary actions are presented to adorn and complement the story, or to slow down its outcome..

They are also called catalysis. They are attractive narrative resources, since they enrich the text and the story, but are not part of the narrative core.

In this example, the secondary actions would be:

1- Little Red Riding Hood was singing along the way, cutting flowers and doing dance steps.

2- The wolf disguised himself with his clothes and lay down on the bed, wrapping himself up to his neck with the blankets

3- Little Red Riding Hood was exhausted and almost without strength to run.

In other traditional tales, the narrative core would be the following:

The ugly Duckling

Mrs. Paw had cute ducklings, except for one who was born ugly and lanky. As winter passed, the ugly duckling turned into a beautiful white swan.


A princess is orphaned and goes to live with her stepmother and her stepsisters, who are very mean and treat her like a servant.

Although she is not invited to the royal ball, she manages to go and the prince falls in love with her. After a desperate search for his beloved, following the trail of a forgotten shoe, he finds her and marries her.

Christmas song

Scrooge is a selfish and bitter man who hates Christmas. Marley appears. The specter of Christmas past appears.

The specter of Christmas present appears. The specter of Christmas to come appears. Scrooge after seeing everything he lived and what he is going to live, ends up believing in Christmas and becomes good.


  1. Nuclei, catalysis, signs and informants. Recovered from campus.ort.edu.ar.
  2. Maria Candelaria Pagella. Language 6. Santillana Argentina. Recovered from issuu.com/santillanaargentina.
  3. Narrative genre. Recovered from lenguaanalia.blogspot.com.ar.

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