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The structure of the parable may be described in this way, according to the verse numbers: 11–13, exposition; 14–16, complication; 17–19, crisis; 20, climax; 21–32, resolution. These parts coincide with the development of the plot, except that the resolution takes up more than half the entire parable. It would not be incorrect, in fact, to consider the resolution as a second story that might be entitled “The Angry Older Brother,” for this section has its own brief plot development with its resolution in the father’s explanation. In purely technical terms, the Older Brother’s anger might be considered a second complication of the parable, except that the resolution of the Prodigal Son’s story has already occurred. It is best to think of the parable as a form, therefore, in which the structure is governed more by idea or theology than by plot.
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