How Is Plot a Literary Term?


Quick Answer

As a literary term, plot refers to the central organizational elements of a story. These elements lend the advancement of the story its structure and its pacing, as well as its twists and turns. Analysts commonly recognize five main facets of plot: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.

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Full Answer

Exposition is the first aspect of plot and typically provides the introduction to the story. Frequently, this entails an encounter with the main character in her everyday setting. The setting may change dramatically, however, as heroines are often transported to alien settings where they encounter the story's other characters and the main conflict, the central unfolding tension. Rising action occurs as the story progresses, building up to the critical point of conflict.

Climax is the moment of greatest tension, interest and emotional involvement in the story. It typically ends with the second act of the story or drama. Falling action follows the climax, a mechanism that suggests the ultimate winding-down of the story and which also gives the reader a momentary break from the intensity of action found in the climax. The final plot point, the resolution, sees the main characters experiencing the results of their journeys and, in many cases, digesting the lessons they've learned and sharing them with others.

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