Plot Diagram | "The Fall of the House of Usher" Summary
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-12
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 help 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 "The Fall of the House of Usher" Plot Diagram
The narrator arrives by horseback at the House of Usher. Roderick Usher wrote a letter to the narrator to come and visit him for a short time to help him overcome an agitation of his soul that he has been experiencing. The narrator observes that house seems sickly, and Usher himself is pale and sickly. The state of the house seems to be coinciding with the state of Roderick Usher.
Usher reveals that his twin sister Madeline is dying. She passes a few weeks later, and Usher decides to keep her body in a vault in one of the walls while he makes plans for her burial. He also wants to protect her from being studied by the doctors. The narrator notices that Madeline’s cheeks and chest are still flushed. Usher’s appearance and demeanor worsen after Madeline’s death.
Shortly after Madeline was placed in the vault, the narrator begins to hear strange noises in the house. One night, in the middle of a terrible storm, Usher comes to the narrator’s bed chamber and they open the window to a terrifying atmosphere with low-hanging clouds and fog that surround the house. The narrator begins to read to Usher to calm him down.
As the narrator reads through the story, the sounds he describes in the story begin to echo in the house. When he reaches the point where Ethelred, the hero, slays the dragon, there is a scream in the house. Usher tips over his chair and begins rocking back and forth. Usher whispers that he’s been hearing sounds from his sister’s coffin and he fears he might have buried her alive. The door flies open, and Madeline is standing there, covered in blood.
Madeline leaps upon Roderick and dies. Roderick also dies, likely from shock and fear. The narrator flees the house.
As the narrator watches, he sees the house collapse and disappear into the ethereal fog and waters. Eventually, the house is completely gone.
(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 Fall of the House of Usher".
- 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.)