What is the plot in the book "The Separate Peace"?Plot Structure First is the Conflict: A problem Then Rising Action: The suspense or thrill that leads to the climax Then Climax: The high point, a...

What is the plot in the book "The Separate Peace"?

Plot Structure

First is the Conflict: A problem

Then Rising Action: The suspense or thrill that leads to the climax

Then Climax: The high point, a moment most intense, a turning point, a major culmination of events.

Then Falling Action: The falling action is the part of a story following the climax and shows the effects of the climax

And Last Resolution: The part of the story in which the problem of the story is resolved or worked out.

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the first responder that reading the book is necessary for you to understand how these elements of plot contribute to the story. Having said that, I will offer a few more ideas on this particular story, and then talk about how these terms apply to a story you probably are familiar with, so you have a better understanding of the terms. 

In my opinion, the climax of the story occurs with Finney's death.  Everything that has happened thus far in the book results in what happens to him.  The falling action is everything from the death of Finney to the end of the novel, and oddly enough, to the beginning of the novel, too.  Since the novel begins in the present and then moves back, the falling off of the action is really part of the beginning.

I am not convinced there is a resolution to this story insofar as plot is concerned.  As a reader, I am able to resolve the story through my interpretation of Gene's character.  But as the narrator coming back to think again about the events at the school, I do not think Gene is able to resolve anything for himself because of his essential inability to have sufficient insight into his thoughts and feelings. 

If you look at the story of "Cinderella," perhaps it will be easier for you to see what these terms mean.  In this story, what is Cinderella's problem?  She is ill-treated by her step-mother and step-sisters.  She longs for romance and a social life!  What is the rising action in the story?  The rising action is the period from the introduction of her problem to her attendance at the ball.  At that point, there is a kind of min-climax, in which Cinderella is a complete success.  Then a new problem is introduced: How are Cinderella and the Prince every going to get together?  From that point on, we have more rising actions, which culminates in the shoe fitting Cinderella.  This is also, of course, part of the resolution of the problem, and in some versions, Cinderella not only marries the Prince and lives happily ever after, but also she finds mates for her sisters and a position for her step-mother in the court, thus resolving the problems of even the minor characters. 

MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, the best way to answer this question is to read the book. I think you'll find some unexpected revelations as you read. But I'll help you get started.

The conflict centers around two friends at Devon Academy: Gene and Phineas, called Finny. Gene is an introverted, insecure boy, who excels at academics but falls short in sports. He idolizes Finny, who is incredibly gregarious, liked by all, and a champion athlete. Gene becomes more and more obsessed with Finny, and the tension between them leads to a summer incident that will change their lives.

The rising action includes Gene's increasingly paranoid thoughts on Finny, as well as Finny's more elaborate games and inventions that carry through the summer at Devon. It is really a journey of self-actualization for Gene, who must comes to terms with his own emotions and desires.

I hope this helps you find a starting point for your exploration, & be sure to check out the sites listed below for support as well.

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A Separate Peace

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