Power in Literature, Short Stories Part 4: Plot

We speak student! Power in Literature: Plot a la Shmoop. We’ve thought through symbols, settings, and themes. so one of the words that we’ve used a couple times is plot What is plot? Plot is, plain and simple the narrative arc of the story it’s what happens there’s a very famous way to map
the plot which was called Freytag’s Pyramid it’s that the plot always starts with
exposition which is the narrator or the author kind of setting up the story and getting
you ready for what’s about to come then we move into the rising action and you kind of see the pyramid-building like this the rising
action is you know the plot has begun but it hasn’t quite reached the boiling point then we get to the top of the pyramid and we’re at the climax a lot of people think of the climax as the most exciting part of the story and often it is, but in reality what the climax is is the turning
point of the story once we reach the climax there’s no
going back then we have the falling action this is where things like kind of start to wrap-up a few loose ends get to be tied up and then we end up back down at the
resolution or the denouement, which is basically just the conclusion of the
story, sometimes we find out what happened to the character and sometimes it’s ambiguous, but
regardless of how a story ends there’s always that conclusion whether or not we like it or not What does a plot look like? I’m gonna try to do this for The Veldt
which is a Ray Bradbury short story one my favorites okay so the exposition of that story is it
starts with the mother kinda of expressing her
concern to the father about what is happening
and we find out a little bit about this world she’s saying she’s worried about the
nursery because XY and z. and so we’re able to see oh, okay here’s what’s happening we’re in a dystopian world, the kids are playing with lions okay we got that that’s the exposition
then the rising action happened as we see the kids kind of playing in
the African veldt and we see the lions get a little bit feisty things start to get a little bit concerning the tone of the story is super spooky so you know that builds up to the climax when the mother and father realize something in very very wrong and
they bring in the psychologist who kind of confirms
this and says you have to turn the nursery off you have to turn the entire house off that’s when you know there’s a turning
point and we realized it’s too late it’s not going back they can’t turn the house off then the falling action happens when the
parents go to try and get the kids out and the kids are like, “yeah Mom and Dad, come on in!” and the parents you know go on into the
into the nursery into the veldt and then the conclusion is when the psychologist walks into the nursery and sees the lions eating something which is the parents so you can kind of see the arc of the story where it’s always there some explanation some tension
build then there’s the point of no return and
then we get the conclusion of the story and this works whether it’s a six
hundred-page novel or like The Veldt which is like three
page story What is plot? What does a plot look like? “Run away!”

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