Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Plot is the sequence of events that happen and the chronology of hoe they happen because of cause and effect or because of accident or coincidence.

Plot answers the questions of who, what, whom, where, when, how, and why.

Plot says: Somebody did something to somebody somewhere at some time in some way and for some reason.

Plot fills in the missing information and explains who did what to whom where, when, how and why.

The chronology (temporal sequence--time of occurrences) in plot may be straight cause and effect in a before then after sequence, or chronology may be broken up with flashbacks and flash-forwards, like in a frame narrative that looks back from some point in the future to what happened in the past: Scout is an adult in To Kill a Mockingbird yet tells the story of her childhood past that she looks back on from a time that would have been her future while still in her childhood.

There are several models of plot and virtually all agree with Aristotle that there must be a beginning, a middle, and an end in a plot. Freytag's Plot Pyramid model is a popular one that divides a plot into the constituent parts of Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Denouement (or Resolution) at the end of the plot.

Now that you know the essentials of plot, you can apply the essentials to any story and identify the plot for that story.

  1. Ask and answer the "who did what ..." questions.
  2. Identify the chronology.
  3. Identify cause and effect, accident, and coincidence.
  4. Divide the plot into it's constituent parts according to the model you or your teacher prefer.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question
Additional Links