"The Gift of the Magi" Plot Diagram
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 6-12
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
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 story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot but to reinforce major events and help students develop greater understanding for 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 sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
"The Gift of the Magi" Plot Diagram Example
Della and Jim, a poor couple, struggle to buy Christmas gifts for each other.
Major Inciting Conflict
Della has only $1.87 to buy her husband a gift, which is not enough.
Della decides to sell her hair for money so she can purchase a gift worthy of Jim. She gets $20 and can afford a platinum chain for Jim's heirloom watch.
Della and Jim exchange gifts. Jim has sold his watch to buy Della a beautiful set of combs.
They decide to put their gifts away until they can both use them.
Despite their errors, Della and Jim remain love one another, and learn a valuable lesson about sacrifice and love.