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Plot and Setting

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					       What Are Plot and Setting?


Feature Menu

       Plot
         Subplots
         Parallel Episodes

       Setting as Background
       Setting as Conflict
       Setting: Mood


       Your Turn
                         Plot

Plot is the chain of related events that tells you
what happens in a story.

     EVENT 1          Bet I can ride         EVENT 2
Jen challenges Rick   Diamondback          Jen and Rick
  to a bike race.       Trail faster      meet on the trail.
                      than you can!



                       Bet you
                        can’t!

                      What do you think
                       happens next?
                           Plot

How are the two events linked together?

           EVENT 1                   EVENT 2
     Jen challenges Rick           Jen and Rick
       to a bike race.            meet on the trail.



                     cause/effect

Like links in a chain, each event “hooks” our
curiosity and pulls us forward to the next event.
                 Plot: Exposition

The story’s exposition introduces characters,
settings, and the story’s basic conflict.

         EVENT 1            Jen’s challenge
    Jen challenges Rick     presents a problem
      to a bike race.       to Rick:


    Should he try to        Should he avoid
    impress Jen by OR       defeat or losing her
    accepting her           friendship by
    challenge?              choosing not to race?
               Plot: Rising Action

The story’s rising action describes the series of
conflicts faced by the main character. Those
conflicts may include
     forces of
     nature, such as
     gravity or
     strong head
     winds,


                       or a character’s own feelings.
                 Plot: Rising Action

What if we add more events to the chain?

     EVENT 1            EVENT 2           EVENT 3
Jen challenges Rick   Jen and Rick       Rick’s bike
  to a bike race.     meet on the      chain slips off.
                          trail.


Event 3 has made the plot chain more complicated.

The outcome of the race is no longer
a matter of who can bike faster.
                Plot: Rising Action

If Rick can’t repair his chain quickly, he will lose
the race.

If Jen rides off                         EVENT 3
and leaves Rick                         Rick’s chain
stranded, she may                         slips off.
win the race but
lose Rick’s
friendship.

Event 3 is called a complication because it makes
the plot’s conflict more difficult to resolve.
                 Plot: Rising Action

What other complications might Rick or Jen face?


     EVENT 1            EVENT 2        EVENT 3
Jen challenges Rick   Jen and Rick     ??????
  to a bike race.         race.


What would make the story interesting, exciting, or
suspenseful?
                      Plot: Climax

A story’s climax is the point at which the outcome
of the conflict is decided—often in a surprising way.

Rick’s chain is off his bike.
Jen is circling back to check on him.

Suddenly, Rick remembers what
he learned from his Uncle
Eduardo:
   1. how to replace a slipped chain
   2. how to impress a girl
                   Plot: Climax

Where does a story’s climax fit into the plot chain?




The story reaches its climax when the obstacles
created by complications are overcome.
The climax makes the ending possible.
                Plot: Resolution

The resolution is the end of the story. It tells how
the conflict turned out.

How was the conflict in
this story resolved?

Neither Jen nor Rick won
the race, but . . .

they took many more
bike rides together.
                                         [End of Section]
                             Plot


Quick Check
Paul packed his last pair of jeans in his   Where in the plot
duffel bag and carried it out to the car.   would this scene
It was time to leave for college. His       occur?
mom and dad—and Miranda—were
waiting with sad smiles on their faces.     • exposition
Paul placed his lucky bottle cap in         • rising action
Miranda’s hand and climbed into the
car after saying goodbye.                   • climax
He was surprised to find a little box on    • resolution
the seat next to him. Inside it, on a
cushion of cotton balls, was Miranda’s
lucky letter charm—M for miracles.
                                                 [End of Section]
                  Plot: Subplots

In addition to the main plot, some stories have
subplots.

                     Main plot
                     Subplot
                     Rick tries to
                  Rick thinks little
                   impress Jen by
                    of his uncle’s
                 advice—until bike
                 agreeing to a Rick
                         race.
                    finds that he
                  really can use it.

A subplot is a minor plot that is part of the larger
story but not as important.
              Plot: Parallel Episodes

Some plots contain parallel episodes: repeated
events in a story.
   Episode 1         Episode 2          Episode 3

   Rick’s chain    Rick’s front tire     Jen’s brake
     slips off.       goes flat.        cable snaps.




   Rick replaces    Rick patches        Rick invites Jen
  the chain, and    the tire, and        to his uncle’s
      the race        the race         bike-repair shop.
    continues.       continues.
       Setting: Setting as Background


Setting provides a background—a time period and
place in which the action occurs.
         Setting: Setting as Background


Writers carefully select images and details to
create a setting that draws us into the story.
• sight                  • taste          • hearing




                                           the steady beat
three hot-air balloons
                                           of the drum
colored the sky
                         the tart apple
       Setting: Setting as Background


Writers carefully select images and details to
create a setting that draws us into the story.
            • touch            • smell




         gritty, wet sand     strong, sweet
         between her toes     scent of a rose
       Setting: Setting as Background


Settings can include


     the location of a story.


                                Hong Kong
       Setting: Setting as Background


Settings may also include


                            • weather
                            • time of day
                            • time period
                              (past, present,
                              or future)
                            • social customs
        Setting: Setting as Background


Quick Check
She looked across the sea of people    Which words in
as she made her way through the        the passage help
crowd.                                 you imagine
                                       where the scene
The busy waterfront bustled with
                                       takes place?
families eager to enjoy a day at the
coast. Bouncing beach balls and
colorful towels dotted the sunny
boardwalk.



                                           [End of Section]
          Setting: Setting as Conflict


Sometimes settings are central to a story’s main
                         conflict:
                         The setting may
                         present a character
                         with his or her main
                         conflict.
           Setting: Setting as Conflict


Quick Check
Soon-yi stared at the table. Her         Which words that
grandmother had decorated it             describe the
carefully, taking great delight in the   setting help
ancient green tea ceremony.              illustrate Soon-yi’s
                                         internal conflict?
In the center of the table sat the
steaming pot of tea, surrounded by
delicate cups and saucers the color of
pale green jade.
Everything was unfamiliar, alien to
Soon-yi’s sense of what an American
meal should be.                            [End of Section]
                  Setting: Mood


Mood is the overall atmosphere or effect of a work
of literature.
A writer’s word choice and the story’s setting often
create mood.
                       balmy
     foggy




                                          stark
                 Setting: Mood


What adjectives might you use to describe each of
the moods illustrated below?

 dark, foggy                          ice and
                     peaceful          snow
  mysterious




                      warm            menacing
                     breezes
                         Setting: Mood


Quick Check
At the most remote end of the crypt             What mood is
there appeared another less                     created by the
spacious. Its walls had been lined              details of this
with human remains, piled to the                setting?
vault overhead, in the fashion of the
great catacombs of Paris. Three
sides of this interior crypt were still
ornamented in this manner.
from “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Allan
Poe


                                                    [End of Section]
               Analyze Plot and Setting
 Your Turn
Choose a familiar story. It can
be from a book, a TV show, or
a movie.
• Use a story map like this one.
• Describe the key parts of the
story’s plot.
•Make note of any parallel
episodes and instances in
which the setting affects the
plot.
•Create a new chart for any
subplots.
The End

				
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posted:11/2/2012
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