Literature Teacher: Mary Molloy Index Introduction to plot 2

Literature 1: Short Stories
Plot

By Kiki van Zanten & Lotte ten Broeke

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Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Index

Introduction to plot 2
A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor 5
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson 6
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman 7
Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl 8
Bibliography 10

1

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Introduction to plot

The plot of a story or novel describes the main events in a logical order. According to ” Primary Elements of
a Plot” (n.a., 2013) on literarydevices.net, there are five important elements:

The exposition

Where the story, setting and the main characters, as well as the conflict, are introduced and described.

The rising action

Where multiple events build up to the conflict. This is the part where the tension starts to rise.

The climax

The big turning point in every story. At this point, the main character will go through a personal change, or
they will make a significant decision that is very important for the rest of the story.

The falling action

This is the part where the main conflict will be cleared up. The tension becomes less, but might occasionally
rise and fall again, until the conflict is resolved.

The resolution

The end of a story. This does not have to be a happy ending, it can also be tragic or open. All conflict from
the climax must be resolved and there should not be any more tension.

These elements are the most important parts, or the foundation, of the story and should be described in a
logical order.

2

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Little Red-Cap (Little Red Riding Hood), like many fairy tales, has a very clear and simple plot
structure and it is very easy to use this story to illustrate the different elements of plot in literature.

” This eBook of “Fairy Tales” by the Grimm Brothers (based on translations from the Grimms’ Kinder und
Hausma?rchen by Edgar Taylor and Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes) belongs to the public domain.”
(Authorama, n.d.)
As the original story belongs to the public domain, it does not have a copyright.

Exposition

Little Red-Cap’s mother asks her to bring a basket of cake and wine to her ill grandmother. There is a bit of
foreshadowing and irony, as she tells her daughter explicitly not to go off the paths in the dark forest and to
look out for the wolf, while later we will discover that Little Red will get off the path where she meets the
wolf. There is no tension or conflict here yet.

Rising action

Little Red meets the wolf. Although she is very naive and she trusts the wolf, the reader knows he does not
have good intentions and he is on his way to eat Little Red’s grandmother. There is some foreshadowing
here as well because the wolf asks where Grandmother lives, so the reader can predict that he will use this
information to go and find her. This is where the tension starts to build up because the reader knows that

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Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

the grandmother is about to get eaten while Little Red is happily and unknowingly picking flowers in the
forest.

The climax

Little Red gets eaten by the wolf. The tension builds up very rapidly by her stating things like ‘But,
grandmother, what big eyes you have!’ (Grimm & Grimm, 1812) and when she is at the point of finding out
that her grandmother is actually the wolf, the latter eats her up.

Falling action

Little Red and Grandmother are stuck in the wolf’s stomach. A huntsman hears a noise from
Grandmother’s house and he goes inside to check up on her. The tension is decreasing because the reader
knows that the huntsman might be able to save Little Red and her grandmother.

Resolution

The huntsman cuts open the wolf’s stomach and frees Little Red and her grandmother. All conflict is now
solvedbecausethelastsentenceofthestoryis”R ed-Capwentjoyouslyhome,andnooneeverdidanythingto
harm her again.” (Grimm & Grimm, 1812).

The effect of the plot on the reader

When the Rising Action starts, the tension rises quite steadily until the climax. After the climax, the plot
takes an unexpected turn because, although Little Red and her grandmother were already eaten, they can
still be saved by the huntsman and Little Red can return home safely.

4

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

A Good Man is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
Analysed by Kiki

Exposition

The grandmother tries to manipulate her son, Bailey, into taking the family to Tennessee as she had read in
the paper that a serial killer, The Misfit, was roaming around their usual holiday destination, Florida.
Although the grandmother is against the idea of going to Florida at first, when the time comes to begin
travelling, she is dressed in her Sunday best. O’Connor very obviously foreshadows the idea of the
grandmother dying here as you would always be dressed well for your funeral. ” Her collars and cuffs were
white organdy trimmed with lace and at her neckline she had pinned a purple spray of cloth violets containing
a sachet. In case of an accident, anyone seeing her dead on the highway would know at once that she was a
lady.” (O’Connor,1953).

Rising Action

There is more foreshadowing in the rising action when the grandmother points at a graveyard, that
coincidentallyhasthesameamountofgravesasthosewhoaretravelling.”T heypassedalargecottonfield
with five or six graves fenced in the middle of it, like a small island. “Look at the graveyard!” the grandmother
said, pointing it out. “That was the old family burying ground. That belonged to the plantation.””
(O’Connor, 1953). Whilst driving through Georgia, for their journey to Florida, the grandmother tells the
family tales of the plantation, that ironically belongs to the family of the graveyard, and convinces Bailey,
her son, to turn into a dirt road to find it. Halfway down, the grandmother realises that the old plantation
she is thinking of is in East Tennessee, not Georgia. Her sudden awareness of this mistake causes her to let
go of the cat she had secretly smuggled into the car.

Climax

The cat the grandmother had smuggled along jumps out from hiding and causes Bailey to lose control of the
car and crash.

Falling Action

The Misfit and his gang show up to the scene of the accident. The grandmother tries to use her being a lady
as an excuse to not get killed like the rest of her family. She continues to bribe the Misfit and begs him to
pray. “” Jesus!” the old lady cried. “You’ve got good blood! I know you wouldn’t shoot a lady! I know you come
fromnicepeople!Pray!Jesus,yououghtnottoshootalady.I’llgiveyouallthemoneyI’vegot!”” (O’Connor,
1953). He does not listen.

Resolution

The grandmother tries to find sympathy in the Misfit. “She saw the man’s face twisted close to her own as if he
were going to cry and she murmured, “Why you’re one of my babies. You’re one of my own children!” She
reached out and touched him on the shoulder. ” (O’Connor, 1953). The Misfit shoots the grandmother three
times. She dies.

5

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Effect of the plot on reader

O’Connor deliberately gives the reader very little information on the characters and leaves the reader to
figure out the characters traits. She does not give much detail on the characters or events, ” She just describes
the situation” ( Amarang9, 2012).

Reason for choice

I chose this story as I found it an enjoyable read. In class, we participated in a helpful activity where we had
to act out roles in order to understand elements of the literature better. Because of this, I was able to identify
the Freytag pyramid with a better understanding as I could relate back to the scenes.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
Analysed by Lotte

Exposition

The town and the atmosphere are described. Nothing really happens, there is no conflict yet. There is a little
bit of foreshadowing because it says ” it could … still be through in time to allow the villagers to get home for
noondinner” (Jackson,1948).Thisshowsthatthelotteryisnotsomethingthatthevillagersenjoygoingto,
so it will not be a regular lottery.

Rising action

The children of the village start to collect the rocks. The reader may not yet realise that this is the beginning
of the rising action until the end because they don’t know what the stones will be used for. ” The men
smiledratherthanlaughed” (Jackson,1948).Thisshowsagainthatthislotteryisnotsomethingthevillagers
look forward to, so this is foreshadowing because later in the story something bad will happen and the
reader will know why the people are not enjoying the lottery.

Climax

Bill Hutchinson draws the ticket with the black dot. He now has to make a decision to join his wife and
accuse Mr. Summers of giving him an unfair chance, so his family does not have to draw again, or to quietly
obey, which will result in one of his family members getting stoned. The decision he makes changes his life
and that of his family.

Falling action

This is very near to the end when the first stone hits Tessie’s head. At this point Tessie is still arguing against
her fate, but it is quite clear that she will have to die.

6

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Resolution

This is the last sentence of the story: “” It isn’t fair, it isn’t right,” Mrs. Hutchinson screamed, and then they
were upon her .” (Jackson, 1948). The story has ended and all conflict has been resolved.

The effect of the plot on the reader

The exposition portrays the setting of the story as a lovely little town ” clear and sunny, with the fresh
warmth of a full-summer day; the flowers were blossoming profusely and the grass was richly green.” ( Jackson,
1948). The writer deliberately gives very little information on what kind of event will be taking place. The
information Jackson gives at the beginning leads the reader to expect a regular lottery. Only towards the very
end does the reader recognise the morbid sense of the activity and that somebody was to be killed.

Reason for choice

I chose this story because I had already read it in highschool before and I remembered that I quite liked it. It
was interesting to analyze the story again because now I understand how I could have predicted that
something bad would happen, which I did not see when I first read the story. The structure was also rather
clear and it was not very difficult to find the different elements in the plot. Acting it out in class helped a lot
as well with determining the separate parts.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Analysed by Kiki

Exposition

The narrator has been diagnosed with a mental illness after giving birth and according to her doctor and her
husband, John, who is coincidentally also a doctor, resting and restricting her from any physical or mental
activity will cure her. John rents a holiday home for the summer months as he thinks a change in
surroundings will be best for the narrator. Some foreshadowing can be found when the narrator mentions
the word “c reepy “, this is potentially the beginning of her obsessive behaviour and her own final creeping.
” John was asleep and I hated to waken him, so I kept still and watched the moonlight on that undulating
wall-paper till I felt creepy. ” (Perkins Gilman, 1892).

Rising Action

The narrator is instructed to do absolutely nothing for the time that she is there and is strictly supervised by
John and his sister, Jennie. She continues secretly documenting her thoughts in her journal although her
husband had prohibited it. She starts to lose her mind and sees the pattern in the yellow wallpaper moving.
There is more foreshadowing here when the narrator is not fully aware of how insane she is actually
becoming.” Thisbedsteadisfairlygnawed!” (PerkinsGilman,1892).

7

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Climax

As the time goes by, the narrator continues studying the patterns in the wallpaper as the lighting hits it
differently throughout the day. The narrator also studies the wallpaper at night and thus, does not sleep
anymore. She is captivated by the lady creeping around the room.

Falling Action

The narrator becomes obsessed with the lady in the wall, whom she identifies herself with, and begins to see
her creeping in the gardens. The narrator begins to worry that John and Jennie are becoming suspicious of
her. She locks herself in the room and throws the key outside, she then begins to strip the walls of the awful
yellow wallpaper to try and set the lady free.

Resolution

John returns home and threatens to break the door down if the narrator does not open it. She instructs him
on where to find the key and the sight that met him once he opened the door, startled him. The narrator is
now free despite John’s intentions. ” “I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off
most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” ” (Perkins Gilman, 1892). John faints and the narrator continues
to creep around the room and over his body.

Effect of the plot on reader

The narrator writes in a mysterious style and does not give the reader all of the information. She leaves the
reader wonder if everything that is being told is actually true. A good example for this is the foreshadowing
used in the rising action where she does not let us know that she is going insane but we are left to discover it
afterfindingthat”T hisbedsteadisfairlygnawed! “(PerkinsGilman,1892).

Reason for choice

I chose this story as I am fascinated by southern gothic tales. I enjoy classical feminist literature and
Gilman is able to write in a style and about topics that I can appreciate. Her work is very similar to my

favourite poet, Sylvia Plath, and because of this, I find I am more intrigued by Gilman’s story.

LambtotheSlaughterb yRoaldDahl
Analysed by Lotte

Exposition

Mary Maloney is sitting in her living room, waiting for her husband. There is no tension or conflict. There is
a bit of foreshadowing because the writer really emphasizes that Mary is ” curiously tranqui l” and waiting
” without anxiety ” (Dahl, 1953). It is mentioned so often that it seems like she is too calm and something will
happen which will disturb the peace.

8

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Rising action

Patrick Maloney pours himself a second drink, which is unusual. ” “I’ll get it!” Mary cried, jumping up.”
(Dahl, 1953) The way this is described, because of the words ‘cried’ and ‘jumping up’, causes quite a lot of
tension. When Mary takes the leg of lamb out of the freezer and carries it upstairs, she is “holding the thin
bone-end of it with both her hands” (Dahl, 1953), which is the same way a baseball player would hold his
baseball bat. This is the foreshadowing of the fact that she will hit her husband’s head with it.

Climax.
This story has two climaxes. The first climax is when Mary hits her husband and kills him, but this is not the

main climax because the tension keeps growing as the detectives come to her house to investigate the
murder. The main climax is when one of the police officers points out that there is still meat cooking in the
oven (Gahr & Stannard Gromisch, 2012). At this point, the tension is at its highest, because the police
officers might find out that Mary killed her husband with the leg. For Mary this is a big conflict because she
has to think of a way to hide her murder weapon. She asks the police officers to eat the lamb and they finish
the leg. Mary, in the eyes of the police, changes from a possible suspect to a victim of the murder (Gahr &
Stannard Gromisch, 2012).

Falling action

The police officers eat the leg of lamb together. The tension disappears with the murder weapon.

Resolution

Mary giggles. One of the police officers has pointed out that the murder weapon must be right under their
very noses (Dahl, 1953). It is quite clear that Mary will not be held accountable for the murder. She will not
have to worry about hiding the murder weapon anymore, so all conflict has been solved.

The effect of the plot on the reader

The main character in this story changes quite a lot for such a short story, this causes the story to continue
differently from what the reader would expect. Dahl leaves a bit of information out of the story as well, right
before the climax. The reader does not know the exact news Patrick Maloney tells his wife. This leaves the
reader to fill it in themselves and to decide whether or not ” Mary’s actions in the rest of the story are

justified. ” (Gahr & Stannard Gromish, 2015).

Reason for choice

I chose this story because I always used to read books by Roald Dahl as a child and I quite like the way he
writes. It was pleasing to see that this story was as ironic and grim as his children’s books. I especially like the
last sentence ” And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle .” (Dahl, 1953), because it suddenly
changes the whole atmosphere of the story at the very end by changing the main character from someone
who has to cleverly get away with murder to a psychopath.

9

Kiki van Zanten (1714602)
Lotte ten Broeke (1720449)
OAEN-V2-INT-1a
18 January 2018

Teacher: Mary Molloy

Bibliography

LiteraryDevices Editors. (2013). Plot. Retrieved December 11, 2017, from https://literarydevices.net/plot/
Jackson, S. (1948). The Lottery.
Dahl, R. (1953). Lamb to the Slaughter.

Gahr, E. (2012, March 02). Story Structure of “Lamb to the Slaughter” (E. S. Gromish, Ed.). Retrieved 06
January 2018, from
http://www.brighthubeducation.com/homework-help-literature/123247-conflict-action-climax-and-resol
ution-in-lamb-to-the-slaughter/#imgn_1

Perkins Gilman, C. (1892). The Yellow Wallpaper.

O’Connor, F. (1953). A Good Man is Hard to Find.

Sparknotes Editors. (2006). Sparknote on The Yellow Wallpaper. Retrieved from
http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/yellowwallpaper/summary.html

Chohra, R. (2015, October 30). The Yellow Wallpaper (Summary & Analysis) Video file. Retrieved from

ENotes, & Teachersage. (2017, June 19). What is the climax of the story “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”?
Retrieved January 10, 2018, from https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-climax-story-17649

Fischer, K. (2012, November 13). Transcript of “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor.
Retrieved January 9, 2018, from
https://prezi.com/8lbgdwwn0o6x/a-good-man-is-hard-to-find-by-flannery-oconnor

Authorama.(n.d.).P ublicDomainBooks .Retrievedfrom
http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-22.html

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