What is Plot? Definition and Examples

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      Plot is a literary term used to describe the events that make up a story or the main part of a story. These events relate to each other in a pattern or a sequence. The structure of a novel depends on the organization of events in the plot of the story. Plot is known as the foundation of a novel or story which the characters and settings are built around. It is meant to organize information and events in a logical manner. There are many definitions of plot, but plot is essentially the story, or the events that make up what the book is about. Plot, of course, is defined by conflict, either internal (coming to terms with the loss of a spouse, for example) or external, (a stalker is watching through the window,) and the best plots are both original and interesting. Complexity of the plot is a matter of taste, so is the setting (such as time period).

      When writing the plot of a piece of literature, the author has to be careful that it does not dominate the other parts of the story. A novel has multiple characters, and numerous are the situations, incidents and their turns. There are background references, flashbacks. In short what a man, for instance, has in his entire life — childhood to doomsday, the novel can include them all. To embody such a great variety of incidents, the novel is often composed with many divisions or parts, which sketch all the life story of the principal characters along with the other surrounding minor beings.

      The novel is propelled through its hundred or thousand pages by a device known as the story or plot, which is a series of linked events. The plot estimates to introduce the major situation and characters in beginning part, it continues to draw a picture of the daily lives and futuristic goals of the major characters in middle part, and it also shows an ultimate destination of the entire situation and characters — be it with a happy or an unhappy ending. The plot is frequently conceived by the novelist in very simple terms, a mere nucleus idea, such as “a young couple destined to be married has first to overcome the barriers of pride and prejudice” in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (1813); and “a young man commits a crime and is slowly pursued in the direction of his punishment” in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment (1866).

      The detailed working out of the nuclear idea requires much ingenuity, since the plot of one novel is expected to be somewhat different from that of another, and there are very few basic human situations for the novelist to draw upon. The dramatist may take his plot ready-made from fiction or biography - a form of theft sanctioned by Shakespeare - but the novelist has to produce what look like novelties. At the lowest level of fiction, plot need be no more than a string of stock devices for arousing stock responses of concern and excitement in the reader. In the least sophisticated fiction, the knots to be untied are stringently physical, and the denouement often comes in a sort of triumphant violence. Serious fiction prefers its plots to be based on psychological situations, and its climaxes come in new states of awareness - chiefly self-knowledge - on the parts of the major characters.

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