Activity Overview

Creating a plot diagram not only helps students learn the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop a greater understanding of literary structures, such as five act structure. 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. In this activity, students will create a visual plot diagram of major events in The Breadwinner. Students should identify major turning points in the novel such as the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.

The Breadwinner Plot Diagram Example

Exposition & Conflict: Parvana is still young enough to go outside and help her father but her mother and 16-year-old sister Nooria, younger sister Maryam, and baby brother Ali haven't left their one room apartment since the Taliban took over. Parvana's university educated father is brutally arrested by the Taliban one night without cause. The family is left desperate and alone.

Rising Action: To help the family survive, Parvana cuts her hair to pass for a boy and bravely sells things and reads for people at the market as her father did. She meets Shauzia, who is also disguised as a boy to work. They do what they can to survive and make money. They even do the traumatizing but lucrative work of digging up human bones to sell to a bone collector.

Climax: Shauzia and Parvana witness the Taliban severing the limbs of prisoners. Parvana's mother believes it is time to flee Kabul and arranges for Nooria to get married in Mazar-e-Sharif, which is not yet under Taliban control. Parvana refuses to go, fearing her father will not be able to find them if he gets out of prison. She stays with kind and determined Mrs. Weera. Parvana meets Homa, whose entire family was killed by the Taliban as they took over Mazar e-Sharif. Parvana fears for her family.

Falling Action: Parvana's father returns home badly malnourished and beaten, but alive. Parvana and Mrs. Weera nurse him back to health and Parvana and her father plan to flee Kabul and find their missing family. They believe the family could be in refugee camps outside of Mazar-e-Sharif. At the same time, Mrs. Weera and Homa plan to travel to Pakistan. Shauzia embarks on her dream of getting to France by befriending some nomads who allow her to leave Kabul with them.

Resolution: Parvana plants flowers where she used to sell her wares in the market, symbolizing hope for Afghanistan. As Parvana and her father set off to find their family, Shauzia and Parvana make a pact that in 20 years, they will meet once again at the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Parvana leaves Kabul with her father and as she looks upon the mountain rising above the city that they nicknamed "Mount Parvana", she wonders what awaits them in the future.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a visual plot diagram for The Breadwinner.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Separate the story into the Title, Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  3. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/3] Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/5/5] Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Plot Diagram Rubric
Create a visual Plot Diagram that summarizes the story. The storyboard should have six cells: Title, Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution. Below each cell, type in a description of that part of the story.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Cells include images that help to tell the story and do not get in the way of understanding. Descriptions match the images.
Descriptions do not always match the images.
Descriptions are missing or do not match the images.
Each of the six cells represents a different part of the story. The cells are in order from beginning to end.
Two cells or fewer are out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or three or more cells are out of order.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is difficult to understand.

Image Attributions
  • 532826 • Pixabay • License Free To Use / No Attribution Required / See for what is not allowed
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