Plot Diagram | "The Sword in the Stone" 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
- [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
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 - “The Sword in the Stone”
Arthur (The Wart) is a young boy who has been taken in and raised by Ector. Kay is Ector’s proper son. Arthur finds a tutor, Merlyn, who begins to teach him the importance of education and being a good leader by turning him into various animals and sending him on quests.
Arthur’s naivete leads him to believe that becoming a knight is a wonderful and honorable thing, but because he is not Ector’s proper son, he is destined to be Kay’s squire. Merlyn tries to break him of his traditional ideas about the positives of knighthood and war.
Arthur is placed into the bodies of different animals, including a perch, a merlin, an ant, an owl, a goose, and a badger. As a badger, he has to make a decision whether to eat a hedgehog out of anger; he decides to leave him. He follows Kay as his squire, to a tournament in London where Kay will debut as a knight. Meanwhile, King Uther Pendragon has died without an heir.
Kay gets to the tournament, but realizes he’s forgotten his sword. The Wart, anxious to please Kay, goes back to their inn to retrieve the sword, but it’s closed. He wanders over to a nearby churchyard and sees a sword stuck upright in a large stone. His animal friends swarm his consciousness, reminding him of all of the lessons he’s learned. He pulls the sword from the stone with ease and brings it to Kay.
It turns out that whoever could solve the challenge of pulling the sword from the stone would be the next King of England. At first, Kay tries to take credit for removing the sword when Ector asks him, but then gives in and admits Arthur did it.
Ector and Kay kneel before Arthur. Arthur is crowned as King of England, and the people are happy because they are tired of the unrest and violence they’ve endured under Uther Pendragon. Merlyn agrees to stay with Arthur, as his advisor for the foreseeable future.
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Create a visual plot diagram of one of the books from The Once and Future King.
- 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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