What is a Plot Diagram? - Definition & Examples - Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com

What is a Plot Diagram? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:02 Plot Diagram Defined
  • 1:02 Example: 'Cinderella'
  • 2:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Spitzig

Sarah has taught secondary math and English in three states, and is currently living and working in Ontario, Canada. She has recently earned a Master's degree.

In this lesson, we will learn what a plot diagram is and how to use it when analyzing a story. We will analyze the story 'Cinderella' using a plot diagram.

Plot Diagram Defined

A plot diagram is a tool that is commonly used to organize a story into certain segments. Once the parts of the plot diagram are identified, it is easier to analyze the content. A plot diagram also gives a common framework for analyzing and understanding written prose.

plot diagram

  1. The exposition or the introduction introduces the characters, describes the setting and establishes the problem in the story.
  2. The rising action is where the suspense builds and the problem gets worse and becomes more complicated. There are often multiple steps or parts in the rising action.
  3. The climax is the turning point in the story. It is usually the most exciting part in the story and the part that makes the reader want to keep reading.
  4. The falling action is the events that happen after the climax that lead to a resolution or ending to the story.
  5. The resolution is the outcome of the story. It is how things end up or turn out for the characters.

Example: Cinderella

Look at the plot diagram below and think about the story, Cinderella. Think about how each element in the plot diagram fit with the parts of the story.

plot diagram

Exposition or introduction
Cinderella and her evil stepsisters and stepmother are introduced, and a description of Cinderella's life as a maid inside the castle is given. We also learn about her positive, happy demeanor and about her friendships with the animals who live in and around the castle. The characters and the setting are described, and we learn about Cinderella's sad life.

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