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Plot The Chain of Events AP English Literature Hilltop High School Mrs. Demangos from Discovering Literature, Guth & Rico, 2 nd ed. (111-152)

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Presentation on theme: "Plot The Chain of Events AP English Literature Hilltop High School Mrs. Demangos from Discovering Literature, Guth & Rico, 2 nd ed. (111-152)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Plot The Chain of Events AP English Literature Hilltop High School Mrs. Demangos from Discovering Literature, Guth & Rico, 2 nd ed. ( )

2 Raymond Carver “There has to be a tension, a sense that something is imminent, that certain things are in relentless motion, or else, most often, there simply wont be a story.”

3 Eudora Welty “A narrative line is in its deeper sense the tracing out of a meaning, and the real continuity of a story lies in this probing forward.”

4 E. M. Forster A plot is a narrative of events, the emphasis falling on causality. The “The king died and then the queen died” is a story. “The king died, and then the queen died of grief” is a plot.

5 Focus on Plot The plot is the story line, the sequence of actions or events that gives direction to the story as a whole. When you study plot, you focus on what drives, motivates, or shapes the story. An effective plot pulls the reader into the story.

6 Climax Falling Action Resolution Exposition Rising Action Narrative Hook Introduction of characters, setting, background information; opening scene Ask: What information does the writer give the reader at the beginning of the story? Cinderella lives with her evil stepmother and stepsisters and is treated poorly.

7 Climax Falling Action Resolution Exposition Rising Action Narrative Hook The Narrative Hook is the point of conflict. It is the struggle between opposing forces that drives the story. Ask: What event drew you most as a reader? The prince will be choosing a bride at the upcoming ball. However, Cinderella has nothing to wear to the ball and she is not allowed to attend the ball.

8 Climax Falling Action Resolution Exposition Rising Action Narrative Hook Ask: What types of conflict are present in the story? External? Internal? The main character faces a series of conflicts. Characters are developed and complications increase. As the step-family prepares for the ball, Cinderella wishes she could go. Her fairy godmother comes to her aid and makes it possible for her to attend, but she must leave at midnight. She dances with the prince and it’s a magic moment.

9 Climax Falling Action Resolution Exposition Rising Action Narrative Hook The climax is most often considered the most exciting or suspenseful part of the story. The conflict or problem is at its worst and the characters begin to solve the problem At midnight Cinderella must leave the ball so she flees from the palace and loses her glass slipper on the steps. The prince is distraught at losing his love and is determined to find her.

10 Climax Falling Action Resolution Exposition Rising Action Narrative Hook The falling action deals with events which occur right after the climax when the character begins to solve the problem. These events are usually the after-effects of the climax. The prince uses the slipper to find Cinderella. He goes from house to house trying the slipper on every female in the land, searching for the slipper’s perfect fit. The slipper does not fit the stepmother or the stepsisters. The conflict decreases. Often the time of greatest overall tension.

11 Climax Falling Action Resolution Exposition Rising Action Narrative Hook Cinderella tries the slipper and it fits. Cinderella and the Prince are reunited, marry, and live happily ever after. The conflict comes to an end, or the problem and/or mystery is solved. In this stage all patterns of events accomplish artistic or emotional effect. There is usually a release of dramatic tension and anxiety (also known as catharsis).

12 Tracing the plot of a story When tracing the plot of a story, ask yourself: 1) How does the story take shape? 2) What sets it in motion?(catalyst) 3) What keeps it going? 4) What brings it to a satisfying close?

13 Thinking about Plot Look for a situation that has in it the seeds of a story: The initial setting up or exposition creates a situation that has the seed of further developments in it. Ask: where might this story be headed?

14 Thinking about Plot Perhaps a new element disturbs the status quo: 1) A stranger arrives 2) An outsider marries into the family 3) A distant relative comes close

15 Thinking about Plot Size up characters for what they might do: 1) What actions do they seem capable of? 2) What events might they precipitate? 3) What sets them in motion?

16 Thinking about Plot 1) A character with seething resentment is a time bomb waiting to go off. 2) An accident-prone character is “an accident waiting to happen”. 3) A lonely character may take desperate steps to make human contact.

17 Thinking about Plot Look for sources of conflict: Are rivals in love or ambition likely to face off like the protagonist and the antagonist in ancient Greek drama? Or a simmering conflict? People may find themselves at cross-purposes without articulating loud grievances.

18 Thinking about Plot Keep your eye on the central action or progression of events: 1) Does the story line focus on external physical action— quarrels, journeys, acts of defiance, suicides? 2) The characters may have mountains to scale or pursuers to evade.

19 Thinking about Plot Keep your eye on the central action or progression of events: 1) Is the action of the story mainly internal, psychological? 2) A character may experience a change in perspective, learning something about others. 3) A character may reach a moment of self-realization, facing up to something important about himself or herself.

20 Thinking about Plot Do not expect stories to follow a standard formula: 1) There may be a loose narrative structure, with events coming to pass in leisurely fashion, in chronological order. Things just seem to happen—“and then this,” “and then that,” etc. 2) In other stories there may be a tight narrative structure, with events marching on from cause to effect. The result is a compact, tightly plotted story.

21 Thinking about Plot Do not expect stories to follow a standard formula: 1) Flashbacks may break up the chronological sequence of events. 2) In a Faulkner story like “A Rose for Emily,” you may have to reconstruct the actual chain of events from partial clues, gradually filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle.“A Rose for Emily,”


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