Plot is a sequence of fictional events arranged in a meaningful pattern.
The general structure of plot is as follows:
Exposition: gives information about settings and characters;
Conflict: struggle between characters or forces (ideas, actions, desires, wills, goals, etc.) that brings about action.
Internal conflict: occurs within an individual.
External conflict: when an individual struggles against an outside force (an animal, a force of nature, another character, etc.).
Complications(development): new conflicts or setbacks for the main character;
Climax: decisive turning point in a narrative; the “high point,” or moment of greatest intensity.
Rising action leads up to the climax.
Falling action occurs after the climax (between the climax and resolution).
Denouement (conclusion): the resolution; the aftermath or outcome of the plot; how things are settled in the end.
Plot may be simple (when the story is narrated in a linear, chronological fashion) or complex.
Authors complicate the structure of their plots with:
· the use of flashbacks(scenes that interrupt the action to show events that happened earlier);
· a frame that encloses the story (a story within the story);
· foreshadowing(technique in which an author plants clues about what will happen next);
· gaps(missing parts);
· digressions(passages in which an author turns or wanders from the main topic).
In a story the ending may take the form of:
In the stories included in this unit,
notice the structuring of plot:
· the handling of beginning, middle, and ending;
· its use of action, development, climax, and conclusion;
· its use of gaps, flashbacks, foreshadowing.
Look for conflicts – physical, social, internal – and use them as a way to get into the story and explore its complexity.
Unit 2 Setting
Setting is the location (where) and time (when) of a story. It serves different functions and can be a significant element of the story because it can prompt characters to interact and allow plots to develop.
Location: a house, a street, a city, a landscape, a region, etc.
Time: hour, year, century, etc.
Ex: The setting of Macbeth is medieval Scotland.
Historical, social, cultural context.
Primary functions of the setting:
establish time and place;
make certain events seem probable;
serve as a symbol;
Note: Many works have multiple settings. These different settings may have different functions within a single work.
How to identify setting:
When reading a work, you must determine if the setting is significant. To do so, take notice when:
A “minor” or “insignificant” aspect of setting is given undue attention by the author.
Certain settings are emphasized repeatedly by the author.
An author has described the setting with exquisite detail or metaphorical connotations:
· Exquisite detailindicates that setting is more than a mere “backdrop” for action.
· Metaphorical connotationsoften create analogies (comparisons) between qualities in the setting and qualities found in the characters.
Be attentive to the setting in the literary works you are going to read:
setting in terms of place, in its broad sense and in its sense of narrower, individual places;
setting in time;
setting as historical, social, and cultural context.
Be aware of different effects setting can have in a work – revealing character, conveying atmosphere, reinforcing meaning, serving as a symbol or occasionally almost as a character.