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sequence of events in a literary work, with emphasis on causality

Plot Elements

Exposition, Conflict, Inciting Incident, Rising Action, Climax, Crisis, Falling Action, Resolution


introductory material in a work of fiction
-creates tone
-gives setting
-introduces characters and often conflict
-supplies other facts necessary to understanding
-usually at beginning of the work


struggle between two opposing forces
-four kinds
-external (man vs character, man vs nature, man vs society)
-internal (man vs self)
-man vs fate
often more than one type in a work, but one will dominate

Inciting Incident

-Aka exciting force
-Event or force that gets the action in motion

Rising Action

-Aka development and complication
-Part of plot between inciting incident and climax


-Moment of greatest emotional intensity in drama
-In fiction, may occur at the same time as crisis but doesn't have to


-The episode or incident in which situation of the main character is certain to either worsen or improve
-Used to be in middle, but in modern works has moved to end

Falling Action

All the events that follow the climax


-French for "unknotting"
-Final unraveling of a plot (solution of a mystery, etc.)
-In tragedy sometimes aka catastrophe

Associated terms

Suspense, Foreshadowing, Flashback


Feeling of growing curiosity or anxiety about the outcome of events in a literary work; it is what keeps you turning the pages
* Two Types
-One is where the outcome is uncertain and the suspense is in the question of who or what or how
-The other is when the outcome is already known and the suspense is in how the story gets there


Use of clues about the events to come


A section of a literary work that interrupts the chronological sequence of events to relate an event from an earlier time

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