Plot Diagram | "The Purloined Letter" Summary
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-12
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, 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
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.
Plot Diagram Example of “The Purloined Letter”
The Prefect of the Paris police goes to see C. August Dupin, a private investigator who recently helped him solve “The Murders of Rue Morgue”. His new case is about a stolen letter!
Major Inciting Conflict
A letter was stolen from a powerful lady; the main suspect is Minister D, a man with whom Dupin has bad blood.
The Prefect searches the minister's apartment and comes up empty. When he returns to see Dupin, the private eye gives the prefect the letter.
Dupin explains how he was able to think like the thief and recover the letter.
Dupin supplanted the letter with an identical one, which reads, “So baneful a scheme, if not worthy of Atreus, is worthy of Thyestes.”
Dupin is able to solve the case and get revenge for a wrong committed against him by the minister.
(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 Purloined Letter".
- 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.
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