"Abstract: Embedded in the surface story, moral messages in films convey important values and norms, and show which actions lead to success in life, and which do not. Very different stories may contain the same moral lesson. Regular viewers of narrative fiction are repeatedly exposed to both genre-specific and universal patterns of moral lessons. In the same way as violence or gender stereotypes cultivate an audience into adapting their world views to the television world, moral patterns may cultivate viewers in their moral thinking and acting. But how can moral messages in films be detected when they are most often implicit and hidden in the surface story? This paper presents an instrument for analyzing moral messages in films, which combines structuralist plot analysis from Narratology and heuristic categories from Grounded Theory. The instrument and its methodological foundations are described, and a detailed example is given to exemplify the application."
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