Five Feet Apart

by Rachael Lippincott

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What are the plot elements for Five Feet Apart?

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The novel Five Feet Apartwas written by Rachael Lippincott. It was first published in 2018. Traditionally, there are five plot elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution.

In Five Feet Apart, the exposition at the beginning of the novel is when we first meet Stella...

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Grant. She is currently in hospital in order to receive treatment for her condition. It is right at the beginning of the novel, through this exposition, that the reader learns that Stella is suffering from a medical condition called cystic fibrosis.

The rising action begins when Stella first meets Will, who also suffers from the same disease. The difficulty is that Stella and Will have to stay a minimum of six feet apart in order to ensure they don’t infect each other and worsen their condition. Yet, they begin to get more and more emotionally involved, making keeping this physical distance increasingly difficult. Eventually, Stella overcomes her characteristic sense of caution and begins to ignore hospital guidelines and medical advice. Stella and Will are spending more and more time together in close proximity. They even begin to spend time together outside the hospital.

This leads to the climax of the novel: Will and Stella have left the hospital and are walking in a park. They argue, and during the course of this argument Stella breaks through the ice of a frozen pond. Thanks to Will’s quick response and intervention, Stella survives.

The falling action follows these events in the park, Stella returns to hospital and eventually she is able to receive the new pair of lungs that she had been waiting for, but she has no more contact to Will, who has decided to leave her in order to protect her and to keep her safe.

Finally, the resolution of the story is at the very end of the book, which is set eight months later. Stella bumps into Will. Having read the open ending of the novel, the reader is left wondering what will happen next, as the book finishes with the line “I smile at him, and take just that one more stolen step, until we’re five feet apart.” The fact that the author quotes the title of the novel in this very last sentence hints to the reader that perhaps Will and Stella will be able to rekindle their relationship.

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