Plot is a series of events within a story. While the plots of stories differ from one book to another, there are several sections within a plot that are generally present in all stories: Exposition Rising Action Climax Falling Action Resolution Collectively, these sections of plot make up the Plot Diagram.
CLIMAX – The turning point of the story where the conflict between the protagonist and antagonist is about to be resolved FALLING ACTION – The conflict between the protagonist and antagonist nears resolution as the protagonist either wins or loses in the battle against the antagonist. RISING ACTION – The significant events in the story which develop the conflict and lead up to the story’s climax. EXPOSITION – The background information (setting, protagonist and other main characters, conflict) introduced in the beginning of the story. RESOLUTION – With the conflict resolved and all loose ends tied up, the story can have its happy, or tragic, ending.
Setting is the time and place in which the events of a story occur. Setting can either be detailed and descriptive OR Setting can be barely mentioned Setting can have an impact on the story’s plot OR Setting can be unimportant
In the movie Castaway, with Tom Hanks, the setting (deserted island) greatly impacts the movie’s plot because it actually acts as the antagonist to Hanks’ protagonist (preventing him from going home).
Characterization is the methods used by an author to acquaint the reader with a character in the story. In order to accurately characterize a character, the reader must provide TWO BEHAVIORAL characteristics (adjectives which describe a character’s personality/behavior) and support those characteristics with specific evidence from the text. Readers should use a character’s thoughts, feelings, actions and comments, as well as other characters’ interactions with him or her, in order to characterize.
Example: In Castaway, Chuck Noland seems passionate about his love for Kelly Frears. Even after being stranded on the deserted island for 1,500 days, he demonstrates his unflagging (tireless) love for Kelly by writing a message of love on a rock before attempting to escape by raft.
Theme is the underlying meaning of a story. In many stories, themes are life lessons or morals, often realized in some way by the protagonist, and by extension, the reader. To identify a story’s theme, readers may want to ask themselves, “What lesson does the protagonist learn by the end of the story?”
In Castaway, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) battles with himself and the deserted island for survival. His love for Kelly Frears and his hope of reuniting with her is what keeps him alive. Chuck even says that Kelly “kept me alive”. Therefore, one possible theme could be that love is a powerful emotion and, to quote John Lennon, “All you need is love.”
Symbolism is the analysis of a concrete object to determine its abstract meaning within a story. A concrete object is something that is tangible (able to be felt or touched) and/or has definite a shape or appearance. (Example: American Flag) An abstract concept is not tangible and therefore cannot be easily pictured, drawn, or pointed at. It is a feeling or idea of some kind. (Example: Freedom)
In Castaway, Chuck Noland saves a FedEx package with a picture of “wings” on it and then eventually draws these “wings” on his sail as he attempts to escape the island and go home. These “wings” are a symbol of his home, Memphis, Tennessee. Therefore, these “wings” represent his home and his desire to return.
Conflict is a struggle between opposing forces within a story, which is usually resolved by the end. There are 5 types of conflict: Person vs. Self Internal Conflict Person vs. Person Person vs. Society Person vs. Nature Person vs. Fate * Every story has multiple conflicts, but there is also one Central Conflict pitting the protagonist against the antagonist. External Conflict
In Castaway, the Central Conflict is Person vs. Nature, as Chuck Noland (protagonist) is stranded on a deserted island (antagonist). He spends nearly the entire movie (or story plot) battling the island for survival, and eventual escape.