Night Plot Diagram
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-12
Difficulty Level 1 (Introducing / Reinforcing)
Type of Assignment Individual or Partner
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
- [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/1] Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from 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 book. 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.
Even true stories, like memoirs, can have a plot arch. Students can create a storyboard capturing the narrative arc of Night with a six-cell storyboard containing the major parts of the plot diagram. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the book in sequence using Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example Night Plot Diagram
Elie and his family are introduced. He, his three sisters, mother, and father all live in the small town of Sighet, Hungarian Transylvania. Early in his life, Elie becomes interested in Jewish mysticism and finds Moshe the Beadle, a master in these areas, who is willing to teach him.
Major Inciting Conflict
World War II has been ongoing for three years. The people of Sighet begin to wonder if the front is moving closer to them, and if the war will end before it reaches Hungary. At this time, all foreign Jews are deported; this includes Moshe.
German soldiers enter Elie’s town, and his family is quickly forced into the ghetto. There, they learn that they will soon be transported to a concentration camp. Elie's father is on the Jewish council, so his family is put on the last transport. While making the three-day journey, Elie and his father are put in the same car as Mrs. Schächter. She screams relentlessly that she sees a fire.
Elie and his family arrive at Birkenau and he and his father are separated from his mother and sisters. They lie about their ages and occupations to be spared from death and put to work. From there, they go to Auschwitz and eventually travel to Buna to work in an electrical factory. Elie recants the atrocities of death, despair, and loss of hope he experienced under the Nazi occupation.
After months in the camp, Elie undergoes an operation on his foot. While in the infirmary, the camp is evacuated due to advances of the Russian army. In the middle of a snowstorm, the prisoners begin a death march: a fifty mile run to Gleiwitz. Many die of exposure, exhaustion, and abuse. Loaded into cattle cars, the prisoners embark on a deadly journey, only twelve remain alive when the train reaches the concentration camp Buchenwald. Throughout the ordeal, Eliezer and his father help each other to survive.
In Buchenwald, Elie's father dies, leaving Elie feeling a guilty mixture of emotions: despair and relief. Elie survives the ordeal; however, he is left not knowing who he is: “From the depths of the mirror, a corpse gazed back at me. The look in his eyes, as they stared into mine, has never left me.” He was liberated on April 11, 1945.