Plot is usually defined as the sequence of major events upon
which the story is based. Laurence perrine in Literature: Structure,
Sound and Sense in details deals with the nature of plot and its
constituents. In fact, plot resembles a map which leads us only to the
location of the places we want to visit, but it does not show what these
places contain. We also learn that the plot is mostly concerned with
What happens in the story. To write a plot summary, we have to avoid
the temptation to include everything which is said or done, but we
should be selective and determine which events are major and essential
to the skeleton of the story without which the story would collapse.
Sometimes even what is said may form a major
episode of the story. Perrine then deals with different kinds of conflict
and with suspense, mystery, dilemma, surprise and organic unity, the
repetition of which here will be redundant.
In this way, Perrine
provides the students with a sound theory of the plot of the story.
However, in practice when the students are asked to apply the
same theoretical information to the story in order to present a plot
summary, they are bewildered not being certain what details they should
include in and which to exclude from their plot summaries. Experience
shows that they usually sacrifice the essential events for very minute and
unnecessary details which are by no means of primary importance for
the plot summary. The outcome is even more unsatisfactory when the
stories are based on character revelation and mental actions of the
characters rather than on their physical and exciting adventures. In such
cases, the students' plot summaries often turn out to be dull and
defective, because students need to understand why a...