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The plot is the sequence, arrangement, and interrelation of occurrences and events in a narrative: the arrangement and sequence of events is chosen and crafted to capture the audience’s interest. The plot is also used simultaneously as a means to convey the author’s messages, themes, and motifs. The arrangement of events may also help in deciphering devices and literary elements like symbolism or characterization.
It is very easy to confuse the word “plot” with the word “story;” however, the two words need to be separated. Story focuses on events in narrative that happen chronologically, or in order. Story focuses on causality and chains of events. In essence, story provides the material to build a plot. Plot, instead, requires writers to pick and choose what occurrences to relate in the narrative being told. An author could completely remove relevant scenes, believing it to serve a purpose in how they convey a narrative.
A part of plot is also arranging the chosen scenes to include. An author may put scenes and occurrences out of order in terms of time and/or logic. This means a story could start in the middle of the action, referred to as in medias res, or the author could use flashbacks. The only thing story and plot have in common is that plot must also be clear enough to allow the reader to connect the occurrences or events in a narrative and see the relationships between them.
Some scholars describe plot has having a five-part structure. This structure is introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and catastrophe (sometimes resolution). This five-part structure was slowly transformed and recalibrated by critics to form a three-part structure. This structure consists of crisis, resolution, and denouement. The five-point structure is used more often when using plot to analyze and talk about elements of plot. Aristotle simplified the structure by saying that all stories must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Scholars today discuss Aristotle’s view and find that it has room for narratives that don’t follow his simple structure.
Some forms of plot are used so often that we recognize them immediately. When we hear stories of individuals who started out very poor and became famous or rich: we call those rags-to-riches stories. When we hear about a woman who marries a prince after hardship: we call those “fairy tale princess stories.” We may hear a narrative about a man who does great deeds and saves lives: we call those hero stories. Some plots tend to repeat themselves, and the stories that repeat vary between cultures.
The following are examples of famous plots:
- Beowulf serves as the classic hero plot. Beowulf, a great knight to the Danes, fights two monsters in order to save his village. He then goes on a great journey to slay a dragon.
- The Americanized, Disney version of Cinderella is a classic “fairy tale story.” Cinderella is treated poorly by her stepmother and sisters. She dresses like, and is treated as, a servant in the house. Just as her stepmother and stepsisters are invited to a royal ball, Cinderella’s fairy godmother bestows a carriage and gown on her to send her to the ball. The prince falls in love with her and they eventually marry.
When looking at the plots of both pieces of literature, we can easily see the three-point or five-point structures. Each character must face challenges. Beowulf’s challenges are more physical than Cinderella’s trials. We see that both reach a climax, and they both have a clear resolution.
While both these plots seem linear, the plot could be rearranged and told in a different order. The authors very specifically chose to discuss the points in the narrative and put them in the order they chose. Beowulf does not relate every event that happened in the hero’s life; instead, the author chose three specific battles Beowulf faced to tell relate his narrative.
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use plot worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what plot is and how it can be used. You can use these plot worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Plot Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 5, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.