Plot Of An Essay


 beginning, a period of characters being disconnected and then the end where the old connections return or new connections begin.



two events appear near each other in a work that have a similarity or similarities; authors  place these events near each other to underscore something the author feels is important.

Rule of three


human psychology tends to only accept evidence if it shows a pattern. To show a pattern, there must be at least three instances or examples. People tend to look at events as One time


 just an occurrence Two times


 perhaps the second piece of evidence is only a coincidence Three times


 now we have a pattern

The Essay



inform your audience (people who will read your paper) about a position you are taking concerning plot.



locate, organize, and synthesize information concerning plot in a work of literature to support your thesis



the idea that you are defending in your paper, your thoughts on a specific work by an author. You must prove this with pieces of textual evidence taken from the work in question. Line X proves my thesis because it states, "YYYYY."


Questions to consider when planning an essay on plot:


What is the dramatic structure? Break the plot into either traditional structure (noting places where the  plot deviates from traditional structure) or as one would in feminist plot analysis. 2.

What are the expectations built up by the author? Are they fulfilled? How are they fulfilled? 3.

Does the plot grow out of the characters or does it depend on chance or coincidence? What specific examples can you give that show either of these? 4.


 the movement of action versus suspense. Does the author set up suspenseful scenes or end scenes in such a way that we are left in suspense? If so, what do you think is his or her purpose for doing this? How does the author use suspense in the work 


what is its purpose? 5.

Are there episodes that at first seem to be irrelevant? What are they? How do they prove to be relevant later? 6.

Is the story told chronologically? Why or why not? 7.

Does the author use flashback? Foreshadowing? Irony? Give examples for each if it is present in the  plot. 8.

Are there suggestive juxtapositions of happenings? 9.

Are certain situations repeated? 10.

Is the story about a change in a situation or a change in personality


or a change in our understanding of a situation or personality? 11.

Who are the protagonist and antagonist, and how do their characteristics put them in conflict? How would you describe the conflict? 12.

How does the action develop from the conflict? 13.

If the conflict stems from contrasting ideas or values, what are these, and how are they brought out? 14.

What problems does the major character (or do the major characters) face? How does the character (characters) deal with these problems? 15.

How do the major characters achieve (or not achieve) their major goal(s)? What obstacles do they overcome? What obstacles overcome them or alter them? If the obstacles were put in place by another

character, what was this character’s motivation for this blocking?


At the end, are the characters successful or unsuccessful, happy or unhappy, satisfied or dissatisfied, changed or unchanged, enlightened or ignorant? How has the resolution of the major conflict produced these results?

Writing the Summary Essay:

A summary essay should be organized so that others can understand the source or evaluate your comprehension of it.  The following format works well: 

Introduction (usually one paragraph)

1.    Contains a one-sentence thesis statement that sums up the main point of the source.
         This thesis statement is not your main point; it is the main point of your source. Usually, though, you have to write this statement rather than quote it from the source text.  It is a one-sentence summary of the entire text that your essay summarizes.

2.    Also introduces the text to be summarized:
            (i) Gives the title of the source (following the citation guidelines of whatever style sheet you are using);
            (ii)  Provides the name of the author of the source;
            (ii)  Sometimes also provides pertinent background information about the author of the source or about the text to be summarized.
The introduction should not offer your own opinions or evaluation of the text you are summarizing. 

Body (one or more paragraphs):
This paraphrases and condenses the original piece.  In your summary, be sure that you:

1.     Include important data but omit minor points;
2.     Include one or more of the author’s examples or illustrations (these will bring your summary to life);
3.     Do not include your own ideas, illustrations, metaphors, or interpretations.  Look 
            upon yourself as a summarizing machine; you are simply repeating what the source text says, in fewer words and in your own words.  But the fact that you are using your own words does not mean that you are including your own ideas. 


There is customarily no conclusion to a summary essay.

When you have summarized the source text, your summary essay is finished.  Do not add your own concluding paragraph unless your teacher specifically tells you to.


–    Summaries identify the source of original text.

–    Summaries demonstrate your understanding of a text's subject matter.

–    Summaries are shorter (at least 60% shorter)  than the original text--they omit the original text's "examples, asides, analogies, and rhetorical strategies.

–    Summaries differ from paraphrases--paraphrases more closely follow the original text's presentation (they still use your words, but they are longer than summaries).

–    Summaries focus exclusively on the presentation of the writer's main ideas--they do not include your interpretations or opinions.

–    Summaries normally are written in your own words--they do not contain extended quotes or paraphrases.

–    Summaries rely on the use of standard signal phrases ("According to the author..."; "The author believes..."; etc.).

Tips on Writing Summaries

Step One (Prewriting):

Read the article quickly.

Try to get a sense of the article's general focus and content.

Step Two (Drafting):

Restate the article's thesis simply and in your own words.

Restate each paragraph's topic simply and in your own words.

Step Three (Revising):

Combine sentences in Step Two to form your summary; organize your summary sentences in the same order as the main ideas in the original text.

Edit very carefully for neatness and correctness.

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