Once Was Lost

by Sara Zarr
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What is the rising acton in Once Was Lost?

Expert Answers

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The rising action involves Samara dealing with her mother's arrest for drunk driving and Jody Shaw’s disappearance.

Rising action is the part of the story between the exposition and climax.  After the characters and setting are introduced in the exposition, an initial conflict or exciting incident is presented.  Things begin to develop and get more interesting, as the main character deals with the problem.

Samara’s problem is that she is experiencing a teenage crisis of faith.  As the preacher’s daughter, she expects to have a spiritual awakening.  It never comes.  Instead, she begins to realize that no one in her life is picture perfect.  Her mother gets arrested for drunk driving and sent to rehab, and her father throws himself into his work rather than addressing the fact that his family is coming apart.

“…It all happened kind of fast… she wrecked her car and got cited for a DUI and they kind of ‘strongly urged’ her to do this program.  I don’t think she would have otherwise.” (p. 92)

Things get even worse when one of the members of Samara’s church goes missing.  The thirteen year old Jody Shaw goes missing, and Samara does not know how to deal with it.  She has to juggle the two problems of her mother’s alcoholism and Jody’s disappearance.  The latter will have to be addressed in the climax.

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