Plot Diagram Graphic Organizer for 1984
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Group
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/5] Analyze how an author’s choices concerning how to structure a text, order events within it (e.g., parallel plots), and manipulate time (e.g., pacing, flashbacks) create such effects as mystery, tension, or surprise
A common activity for students is to create a plot diagram of the events from a novel. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of a plot but to reinforce major events and help students develop greater understanding of literary structures.
Students can create a storyboard that captures the concept of the narrative arc in a story by creating a six-cell storyboard which contains the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in a sequence using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example 1984 Plot Diagram
Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, the government propaganda/media center, editing old history to make the government and Big Brother look truthful. He comes home and begins writing rebellious thoughts in a journal, which is thoughtcrime in Newspeak. A woman who also works at Ministry, Julia, sends Winston a note telling him she loves him.
Major Inciting Conflict
Winston and Julia begin an affair, which is treasonous against the government. They begin to question the government, and Winston wants to find out more about the rebellion called “The Brotherhood”, headed and influenced by a mysterious figure named Emmanuel Goldstein. Julia is less interested in revolting against the Party, but she is having a good time with Winston.
Winston places his trust in a man named “O’Brien”, a member of the Inner Party whom Winston believes is collaborating with the Resistance. O’Brien provides Winston with a copy of Goldstein’s book, and Winston and Julia take it to their room over Mr. Charrington’s shop in the Prole district to read. The book does not shed any new light on the Resistance, nor Ingsoc’s need to control the people.
After reading the book, Winston decides that if there is any hope to overthrow Big Brother’s government, it lies in the proles because they are the greatest in number, and they are not being watched as closely. All of a sudden, the picture on the wall begins speaking, and Winston realizes it is Mr. Charrington, who is a member of the Thought Police, and who set Winston and Julia up. They are arrested.
Winston and Julia are brought to The Ministry of Love, where they are tortured. O’Brien is in charge of the questioning and torture, which crushes Winston. The torture brainwashes Winston, which is the Party’s ultimate goal: they turn those who are traitors before they kill them. This way, says O’Brien, there is no heresy left. Winston is brought to Room 101, where his biggest fears await him: rats. When the rats are brought close to Winston’s face, Winston tells O’Brien, “Do it to Julia!...I don’t care what you do to her.” O’Brien knows that Winston’s re-education is complete.
The novel ends with Winston sitting at the Chestnut Tree Cafe, devoid of all emotions. He and Julia ran into each other once, but they were both so changed by their torture that they do not have feelings for each other anymore. Winston absentmindedly sips Victory Gin, listens to the telescreen, and thinks to himself, “But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.”
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of 1984.
- Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
- Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
- Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.
(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)