Plot Diagram | "The Birthmark" Summary
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-12
Difficulty Level 1 (Introducing / Reinforcing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from 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 story. 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 "The Birthmark" Plot Diagram
In the story of “The Birthmark”, the narrator introduces Aylmer, a brilliant scientist, and his wife Georgiana.
Major Inciting Conflict
Aylmer loves his wife, but she has a small birthmark on the side of her left cheek that he despises.
Aylmer becomes obsessed with Georgiana’s birthmark. He seems to be the only person who finds the mark disturbing. His wife along with the rest of the townspeople find Georgiana to be beautiful. Yet, Aylmer says that her almost perfect face is what makes the mark so shocking. Eventually he wears Georgiana down and she agrees to allow him to attempt removing it.
The couple moves to his apartment where he performs his scientific experiments. As Georgiana studies the various aspects of her husband's profession she finds herself captivated by what he can do. Although, she reads his journals and finds out that all his experiments never quite reach their full goal.
Without hesitation Almyer comes up with a potion which he believes will cure Georgiana and make her perfect.
She drinks the potion and the mark fades; however, she too fades with the mark. Upon her death the reader is left with the blunt reality that man is flawed and the sin of perfection leads to death.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)
Create a visual plot diagram of "The Birthmark".
- 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.)