What is the plot of "A Sound of Thunder" as written on a plot graph?Initial Incident, Rising Action, Climax, Resolution

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The plot of a story basically consists of 5 parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  Here are the elements in this story.

Exposition is the part of the story where we are introduced to the characters, the setting, and the initial conflict.  In this story, we learn that it is the year 2055 and a company has created a way to travel through time.  They use it to hunt dinosaurs.  We are also introduced to Eckels, the protagonist, when he learns about this company.  He meets his guide, Mr. Travis, and his assistant Lesperance, who marked the path thy need to stay on.  There are two other hunters, Billings and Kramer.  The initial setting is both 2055 and the time of the dinosaurs, and the conflict at first is to shoot a dinosaur without interfering in the past.

The rising action is the events in the story leading to the climax.  In this case, these are the events of traveling through time, learning how to hunt dinosaurs, and setting off on the specially marked path.

The climax is the most interesting point of the story, and the point of no return.  In this famous climax, poor Eckels steps off the path and kills a butterfly, therefore changing history completely.

The falling action is the events that go between the climax and the resolution, or ending.  Usually these events are related to the events of the climax, and could not have happened otherwise.  Travis is furious with Eckels, and berates him for stepping off the path.

The resolution is how the conflict is resolved.  In this case, Travis shoots Eckels, we learn that words are spelled differently, and the man they didn’t want in office is president.



kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "A Sound of Thunder," we can write a plot diagram in the following way:

  • The initial incident occurs when Eckels gets into the time machine owned by Time Safari Inc. and travels back in time to shoot a dinosaur.
  • Two events constitute the rising action. Firstly, Eckels is told by Mr. Travis that no matter what happens, he must not step off the path because his actions may alter the course of time. Secondly, when the dinosaur approaches, Eckels becomes terrified and runs away.
  • In the climax, Eckels steps off the path and, without realizing, kills a butterfly.
  • In the resolution, Eckels learns that he has killed a butterfly and returns home to find that this action has indeed changed the course of time. He does not recognize the written language, for example, and a different political candidate has won the election.