Blog Post #3: Narrative Analysis of “Piper”

The video:¬† follows the little fletching Piper as it overcomes the fear of the ocean and hunger to become one of the best birds on the beach. This video has no spoken word and instead relies on the animator’s artistic choices to evoke emotion out of the bird and into the audience. Piper the bird overcomes a lot in this 4 minute short and steals a place inside the audience’s heart fulfilling the energizing aspect of a narrative perspective. It also transports the audience from the humdrum and complication of their own life into the small but large challenges of a baby bird, Piper being as cute as they also manage to create a sense of identification by harping on the audience’s sense of good and wanting to see something good succeed.

Piper is a small and adorable little bird that the audience immediately latches onto due to Piper’s seeming helplessness in the world that the audience is watching. It is no particular dangerous or imposing but the bird is small and what would be a little ripple on the water to us seems like an insurmountable tsunami to Piper which endears them to our hearts. The ability to watch Piper grow and overcome their fear through nothing but their actions lifts the audience into a joyous state as the underdog that you immediately start rooting for becomes more confident and capable in the eyes of the characters around them as well as to the audience itself.

The narrative’s morale is baked into Piper’s success. Piper learns to hunt for the mollusks by imitating a sand crab and not by following directly in the steps of the other birds around it. Watching Piper overcome the challenges and fears of the ocean is not only satisfying for the audience but includes the lesson that not everyone who is around you can accomplish the same goal the same way and going about things differently can often be advantageous. This message while often repeated and touted especially in the education field was struck upon strong in this short while not feeling overdone. I believe in part that this is due to the lack of dialogue within the short. It leaves more to the imagination of the audience and lets them infer their own values and system into the short without being beat over the head with, a good, but a ubiquitous message. Overall this is a class act in storytelling that accomplishes it’s a message without being heavy-handed or tone-deaf. It is enjoyable to watch, has a clear and strong message, and endears itself to the audience through a cute and adorable bird.

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