What is the rising action in Wilde's story "The Happy Prince"?

2 Answers

rareynolds's profile pic

rareynolds | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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The rising action in the story consists of the swallow helping the the Happy Prince to do good for his people. During his life, the Prince never ventured from his palace and had no idea that the people of his city might be enduring hardship or poverty. Now that he is a statue and can see far and wide, he is tormented by the suffering of the poor, but can do nothing to help them. When the swallow roosts at his feet one night, the Prince finally has found a helper that can make it possible for him to help his people. The rising action of the story consists of the bird bringing the jewels and gold leaf that had decorated the statue to the needy. The climax of the story, in this view, would be the consummation of the bird and the statue's love--after the Prince has given everything he has of value to the poor, he and the bird share a brief kiss; then the swallow dies from the cold of winter, and the Prince's leaden heart cracks apart.  

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beateach | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The rising action in Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince occurs when the swallow meets the statue of the prince and they begin to perform good deeds together. The swallow was migrating to the Egyptian pyramids for the winter when he stopped to spend the night at the foot of the statue of the Happy Prince in the city of San Souci. It is quite a surprise for the swallow to feel tear drops from the prince’s eyes as he attempts to sleep at the foot of the statue. The two strike up a conversation and a friendship ensues as the Prince looks out over the city seeing misery and offering up the beautiful accoutrements of the statue to help the poor and down-trodden. The swallow carries the riches from the statue to those in need. One such action is when the swallow carries a ruby to a poor seamstress with a sick child. Not only does the swallow deliver the ruby but he fans the child with his wings, curing the boy’s fever. The pair carries out these tasks until the statue is stripped of its jewels and gold, and the swallow dies from the winter elements. From this point on the story reaches its climax and moves into its falling action.