What Is the Falling Action of a Book?

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The falling action of a book consists of the events that follow the climax and lead to the ultimate resolution of the plot. According to Education Portal, the falling action provides the reader with a satisfaction that would not be achieved if the story were to end abruptly at the climax.

A book's climax is the moment of highest tension. The falling action winds down the emotional energy, taking the reader to a state of resolution and relief. The education network Bedford St. Martin's states that the falling action reveals the consequences of the climax. This extends to a revelation of the philosophical, thematic implications of a work of literature. On a narrative level, the falling action flows into the denouement to tie up loose ends and remove feelings of doubt with respect to the characters' fates.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" exemplifies the role of falling action. The climax of the story centers around the minister Arthur Dimmesdale's revelation that he was Hester Prynne's adulterous partner. The same stigmatic "A" that had been sewn to Hester's clothing appears on Dimmesdale's chest. The preacher then dies in his lover's arms. The description that follows this scene summarizes the subsequent life events of the main characters and comprises the novel's falling action.