The Color Purple Summary | Plot Diagram
Lesson Plan Reference
Grade Level 9-10
Difficulty Level 2 (Reinforcing / Developing)
Type of Assignment Individual 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
- [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 story. Not only is this a great way to teach the parts of the plot, but it reinforces major events and helps students develop greater understanding of literary structures.
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. For each cell, have students create a scene that follows the story in sequence using: Exposition, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, and Resolution.
Example The Color Purple Plot Diagram
Celie is a young African American girl who has already borne two children by her father. She is worried because he seems to be setting his sights on her little sister Nettie. He wants to marry her off to Mr. (later revealed to be Albert), but she doesn’t want to leave Nettie behind. She eventually does marry Albert, and Nettie comes to live with them, but once she spurns Albert’s advances, he kicks her out.
Celie is miserable in her life and marriage, raising Albert’s children and trying to avoid his beatings. Albert is in love with a singer named Shug Avery, and resents Celie for not being her. Celie has a crush on Shug as well, and when Shug falls ill and Albert brings her to the house to take care of her, Celie has a hard time hiding her feelings.
Shug becomes a friend and confidant to Celie, and Celie begins to find her own voice in spite of Albert. Shug uses her influence to stop Albert from beating Celie, but when Shug leaves, both Celie and Albert are heartbroken. Harpo’s wife Sofia is locked up for sassing the mayor’s wife, but they get her out to go work for the mayor’s household as a maid. Shug returns with her new husband, Grady, and Shug and Celie finally begin a romantic relationship with one another.
Through Shug, Celie discovers that Albert has been hiding letters from her sister, Nettie, who is now a missionary in Africa with Samuel and Corrine, the two people who are raising Celie’s children Adam and Olivia. Celie also discovers that her Pa is actually her stepfather. Celie is overcome by a murderous rage at Albert for hiding the letters for so many years. Nettie tells her that she and Samuel and the kids are coming back to America soon. Corrine passed away from a sickness, and Nettie and Samuel are now married.
Shug and Grady take Celie with them to Memphis, where Celie learns she’s a talented seamstress and begins to make pants. Pa dies, and Celie inherits his house, land, and general store because it all actually belonged to her real father, and then to her mother. She moves back to fix up the house, and Shug falls in love with a 19-year-old flute player. She takes off with him. Celie and Albert become friends, as Albert seems to have changed his ways. Both love Shug and have been left by Shug.
Shortly after Shug leaves, Celie receives word that the boat carrying her sister and family was downed by a German mine, but she refuses to believe it. Shug eventually returns, having left Germaine, and she, Albert, and Celie live a content life. Sofia and Harpo are back together, too. Suddenly, one night a car drives up and Nettie, Samuel, Adam, Olivia, and Adam’s Olinka wife Tashi get out. At the family reunion a few days later, Celie feels younger than she has ever felt before, and finally happy.
(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 Color Purple.
- 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.
(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)