What Are Students' Difficulties In Understanding The plot?

Essay by shiva_n_samani July 2004

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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...