Hills Like White Elephants Summary | Plot Diagram
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 use for Storyboard That is to help students create a plot diagram of the events from a story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.
Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc in a work with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example “Hills Like White Elephants” Plot Diagram
An American man and a girl named Jig are waiting at a train station in northern Spain near the Ebro River. They are waiting for a train to Madrid. As they sit in the station, they order two beers and the girl gazes at a line of distant hills.
Jig muses that the hills look like white elephants, to which the man quickly replies that he hasn’t ever seen one. Jig replies, “No, you wouldn’t have,” to which the man shoots back that he might have seen one at one point. There is a tension between the couple, which is revealed as they drink and discuss an operation that the man seems to be trying to put Jig at ease about having.
Jig wonders what will happen after the operation, and the man states that they’ll be happy again, and go back to how they were before. They both bring up people they know who have had the operation and gone back to being happy. Jig wonders if it will make the man love her again like he used to, so silly in love that she could say anything to him and he would be delighted by it. He tells her that he thinks it’s the best thing to do, but if she doesn’t want to, she doesn’t have to.
Jig says that she will go through with the operation because she doesn’t care about herself. She seems to just want to make him happy, which perturbs the man because he doesn’t want her to do it for him. Jig gets up and walks to look out at the mountains again. She tells the man that they could have had everything, but they can’t anymore. She knows that something is about to be taken away, and that they can’t return to the way they were anymore.
Jig sits back down and they order another beer. The man again tells her that he’s willing to go have the baby if being a parent means anything to her. Jig wonders if being a parent means anything to him. He says it does, but that he doesn’t want anyone but her. She tells him to stop talking and threatens to scream if he doesn’t.
The man takes the bags over to the other tracks because the train will arrive in five minutes. He has a drink at the bar and comes back to Jig. She smiles at him, and when he asks if she feels better, she tells him there’s nothing wrong with her; she feels fine.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of "Hills Like White Elephants".
- 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.)