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Activity Overview


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”

Exposition

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.


Rising Action

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.


Climax

Dupin explains how he was able to think like the thief and recover the letter.


Falling Action

Dupin supplanted the letter with an identical one, which reads, “So baneful a scheme, if not worthy of Atreus, is worthy of Thyestes.”


Resolution

Dupin is able to solve the case and get revenge for a wrong committed against him by the minister.



Template and Class Instructions

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



Student Instructions

Create a visual plot diagram of "The Purloined Letter".


  1. Separate the story into the Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
  2. Create an image that represents an important moment or set of events for each of the story components.
  3. Write a description of each of the steps in the plot diagram.

Lesson Plan Reference

Switch to: Common CoreArizonaCaliforniaColoradoFloridaGeorgiaIowaKansasMarylandMassachusettsNebraskaNew JerseyNew YorkNorth CarolinaOhioOklahomaPennsylvaniaUtah

Rubric

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


Plot Diagram Rubric (Grades 9-12)
Create a plot diagram for the story using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Proficient
25 Points
Emerging
21 Points
Beginning
17 Points
Try Again
13 Points
Descriptive and Visual Elements
Cells have many descriptive elements, and provide the reader with a vivid representation.
Cells have many descriptive elements, but flow of cells may have been hard to understand.
Cells have few descriptive elements, or have visuals that make the work confusing.
Cells have few or no descriptive elements.
Grammar/Spelling
Textables have three or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have four or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have five or fewer spelling/grammar errors.
Textables have six or more spelling/grammar errors.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out. Student has done both peer and teacher editing.
Work is well written and carefully thought out. Student has either teacher or peer editing, but not both.
Student has done neither peer, nor teacher editing.
Work shows no evidence of any effort.
Plot
All parts of the plot are included in the diagram.
All parts of the plot are included in the diagram, but one or more is confusing.
Parts of the plot are missing from the diagram, and/or some aspects of the diagram make the plot difficult to follow.
Almost all of the parts of the plot are missing from the diagram, and/or some aspects of the diagram make the plot very difficult to follow.


How To Analyze Different Conflicts in “The Purloined Letter”

1

Introduce the Concept and Provide Context

Start with defining conflict in the context of literature. Define the many conflict kinds, such as man vs. man, man vs. society, man vs. own self, man vs. nature, and man vs. fate. To help students grasp the people and events in "The Purloined Letter," briefly outline the narrative.

2

Discuss and Identify Conflicts

Explain to the students the different types of conflicts found in literature in detail and provide simple examples in the context of each conflict. After students have a complete grasp of the conflicts, ask them to identify different types of conflicts that can be found in the story.

3

Give Interactive Assignments

Give students assignments that will help them interact with the concept more and engage them in learning. Students work in pairs or in groups to create a theme chart for each conflict. For instance, for man vs. man conflict students can draw two characters involved in the conflict, the reason for their conflict and how it was resolved or could have been resolved.

4

Promote Critical Thinking

To encourage conversation and critical thinking, use open-ended questions such as How do the tensions in the tale influence the plot and relationships between the characters? Or How are the characters' actions and motives influenced by the conflicts?

5

Create an Analysis Chart

Students can create an analysis chart for their critical analysis of the story. This chart can include visual depictions, predictions or alternate resolutions, and different perspectives on conflicts present in the narrative.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Purloined Letter Plot Diagram

What is a Plot Diagram and how can it be used to enhance the understanding of the students?

A plot diagram is a sort of storyboard that shows how a narrative is structured. Key components including exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution are frequently included. Students can use or create these diagrams to enhance their understanding of how a story can be structured.

What is the significance of the opening or the exposition of the story?

The Purloined Letter's exposition gives the reader an overview of the Parisian environment, the three major characters—C. Auguste Dupin, Minister D, and the young lady (royalty)—as well as the story's opening—the theft of the letter and the Queen's anguish. This component is the first part of the plot diagram and introduces readers to the setting and the main characters and leads to the main conflict.

What constitutes in the rising action of the story?

The incidents that heighten suspense and advance the story are included in the rising action. In "The Purloined Letter," the rising action consists of Dupin's investigation of the situation, his meeting with Minister D—, and his discovery that the letter is concealed in plain sight.




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