Plot Definition

Plot is a literary term used to describe the events that make up a story or the main part of a story. These events relate to each other in a pattern or a sequence. The structure of a novel depends on the organization of events in the plot of the story.

Plot is known as the foundation of a novel or story which the characters and settings are built around. It is meant to organize information and events in a logical manner. When writing the plot of a piece of literature, the author has to be careful that it does not dominate the other parts of the story.

There are five main elements in a plot. The first is the exposition or the introduction. This is known as the beginning of the story where characters and setting are established. The conflict or main problem is introduced as well. The second element of a plot is known as the rising action which occurs when a series of events build up to the conflict. The main characters are established by the time the rising action of a plot occurs and at the same time, events begin to get complicated. It is during this part of a story that excitement, tension or crisis is encountered. The third element of a plot is known as the climax or the main point of the plot. This is the turning point of the story and is meant to be the moment of highest interest and emotion. The reader wonders what is going to happen next. The fourth element of a plot is known as falling action or the winding up of the story. Events and complications begin to resolve and the result of actions of the main characters are put forward. The last element of a plot is the resolution or the conclusion. It is the end of a story and ends with either a happy or a tragic ending.

Plot Examples

Example #1

Among the examples of plot in modern literature, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (written by J.K. Rowling) is probably the most familiar to both readers and moviegoers. The plot of the story begins when Harry learns that Professor Snape is after the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Professor lets loose a troll, who nearly kills Harry and his friends. In addition, Harry finds out that Hagrid let out the secret of the giant dog to a stranger in return for a dragon which means that Snape can now reach the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Example #2

Romantic fiction plot examples in the 1800 include the book Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The plot of the story begins when Lizzie’s sister, Jane, falls in love with Darcy’s friend named Mr. Bingley. Lizzie develops and interest in for Mr. Wickham, who accuses Darcy of destroying him financially. When Lizzie goes to meet her friend, she runs into Mr. Darcy, who proposes and Lizzie rejects. She then writes him a letter telling him why she dislikes him. He writes back, clearing up all misunderstandings and accusations. Jane runs away with Mr. Wickham and Lizzie realizes that Mr. Darcy is not as bad a man as she thought him to be.

Functions of a Plot

A plot is one of the most important parts of a story and has many different purposes. Firstly, the plot focuses attention on the important characters and their roles in the story. It motivates the characters to affect the story and connects the events in an orderly manner. It creates a desire for the reader to go on reading by absorbing them in the middle of the story, wanting to know what happens next. The plot leads to the climax, but by gradually releases the story in order to maintain the reader’s interest. During the plot of a book, a reader gets emotional and connects with the book, not allowing himself to put the book down. Eventually, the plot reveals the entire story and gives the reader a sense of completion that he has finished the story and reached a conclusion.

The plot is what forms a memory in the readers’ mind, allowing them to think about the book and even making them want to read it again. By identifying and understanding the plot, the reader is able to understand the message being conveyed by the author and the explicit or implicit moral of the story.

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