Nonlinear narrative  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In the arts, the word nonlinear is used to describe events portrayed in a non-chronological manner. This technique is often used to mimic the structure and recall of human memory, but it has been applied for other reasons as well.


Exmples of nonlinearity

In literature

Well-known examples of nonlinear novels are Laurence Sterne's Tristram Shandy, Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus, James Joyce's Ulysses and Finnegans Wake, William S. Burroughs' Naked Lunch, Joseph Heller's Catch-22, and Carole Maso's book Ava: a novel (1993). The technique has been used since the beginnings of literature (see In media res).

In film

Nonlinearity has become very common in film. Some good examples of movies with nonlinear plots include Memento, Pulp Fiction, 21 Grams, The Prestige, Kill Bill, Run Lola Run as well as Andrei Tarkovsky's The Mirror.

In video games

In video games, nonlinears refers to a game that has more than one possible plotline and ending, leaving the gamer to take the path that most suits their style of play. This increases replay value, as players must often beat the game several times to get the whole story. Fallout could be cited as an example, as there are multiple paths you can take since the beginning of the game.


See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nonlinear narrative" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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