Literary Elements – Plot Sequence

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Last updated: May 5, 2019

Exposition
introduces what the characters are doing at the beginning of the story and setting

Rising Action
series of conflicts or struggles that build a story toward a climax

External Conflict
a struggle between a character and an outside force such as another character, society, nature, or technology

Internal Conflict
a struggle between opposing needs, desires, or emotions within a single character

Climax
the point in a plot that creates the greatest intensity, suspense, or interest; usually the point at which the major conflict is resolved

Falling Action
the events following the climax leading to the resolution showing the characters’ reaction to the climax

Resolution
the ending of a story stating the final outcome of the conflict of what the characters are doing at the end of the story

Denouement
follows the climax and leads to the resolution, the final resolution of the main complication of a literary or dramatic work; the unraveling of the plot

Character
a person represented in a work of fiction (play or film or story) who is the doorway into the story

Point of View
the perspective from which the story is told

Setting
the time, place, and environment in which the story takes place

Theme
a unifying idea that is recurrent throughout a literary selection that provides insight about humanity

Literature
writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features, as poetry, novels, history, biography, and essays.

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