Stories are usually structured around the climax . Through the rising action, we see much of a story's plot take shape, along with the gradual ratcheting up of a story's internal tension via elements such as character interactions and conflict. In its climax, that tension will reach its breaking point....
Stories are usually structured around the climax. Through the rising action, we see much of a story's plot take shape, along with the gradual ratcheting up of a story's internal tension via elements such as character interactions and conflict. In its climax, that tension will reach its breaking point. This is a story's most dramatically intense moment, in which that tension will usually be resolved (though not necessarily: in some cases, it can be left unresolved).
"A Loaf of Bread" follows a dispute surrounding a grocer, Harold Green, who was found to be selling at inflated prices in an African American neighborhood. Knowledge of these practices spurred picketing outside his store.
Through rising action, we see the basic conflict take shape as Harold Green continually digs his heels in. He attempts to defend his practices and his character, claiming that he has done nothing wrong and that if he had not taken advantage of these people, someone else would have in his stead.
His wife instructs him to spend eight hours giving away his merchandise for free. At the same time, the protest is continuing to gain traction under the leadership of Nelson Reed. Reed and Green meet, with Green hoping that if he can explain his position, this conflict would be resolved, but he fails in achieving this goal. Later that day, Green's wife repeats her conviction that Green will give away all his merchandise so as to convince himself of his own moral decency.
All these events and interactions lead up to the story's climactic scene, where Green opens his store on the day of the picket and, in a wave of euphoria, begins giving away his merchandise for free. There is an almost unrestrained, Dionysian excess to his actions in this scene and to the intensity of the emotions and the activity unleashed. Within the narrative itself, it is compared to madness.
That is the scene I would point to as the climax of the story. This is where so many of the story's narrative threads tie together, as well as where it reaches its highest expression of emotional intensity. Nevertheless, the euphoria will pass, and the story will close on the scene of Green and Reed in the empty store.