Guide to Literary Terms

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What is the climax of a story?

The climax of the story is when the events of the plot culminate in the moment of highest tension, conflict, or excitement.

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Last Updated May 25, 2023.

A climax occurs in a narrative text when the plot's events culminate in the moment of highest tension, conflict, or excitement. 

Climax derives from the Greek word klimax, meaning "ladder." 

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator spends her days in bed, staring at the yellow wallpaper adorning her bedroom. She slowly comes to believe that a woman is trapped within the wallpaper. The climax occurs when she attempts to free the woman by tearing the wallpaper from the walls, prompting her husband to faint when he enters the room. 

see: anticlimaxdenouement 

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