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What is the falling action of a story?

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Quick Answer

In the study of literature and the analysis of plot, falling action is what occurs directly after the climax. Falling action occurs before and leads to the denouement.

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As such, falling action comes as a direct result of the climax of the plot and expands on whatever comes from the climax. For example, if the climax involves the hero winning a car race, the falling action is the victory lap and all the accolades.

Falling action is part of a system of looking at literary plot structures devised by Gustav Freytag, a 19th century German novelist who saw similarities in the structures of stories and novels.

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