Elements of Literature
Understanding How Literary Elements Affect Text
Plot Terms
  • Plot - the sequence of events in which each event results from a previous one and causes the next. Plot begins with an exposition and has an inciting incident that introduces the conflict. This is followed by rising action that leads to a climax. Then comes the falling action and finishing with the resolution.
  • Exposition - Introduces the setting, characters, and important background information. Ends with inciting incident.
  • Inciting Action - Event in the exposition that introduces the central conflict in the story.
  • Conflict - A struggle between opposing forces. It is one of the most important elements in a story.
    • External Conflict - struggle between the protagonist, or main character, and another character, animal,or force of nature
    • Internal Conflict - struggle within the main character.
    • Rising Action - Events in the story leading to the climax.
    • NOTE: A literary piece can have multiple conflicts.
  • Climax - Also called the turning point. This is the high point of the action of the plot.
  • Falling Action - Events after the climax leading to the resolution.
  • Resolution - The outcome of the conflict in a plot.

California Content Standards
English and Language Arts
Grade Seven
Reading
ELA.7.3.0 Literary Response and Analysis
Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text
ELA.7.3.2. Identify events that advance the plot and determine how each event explains past or present action(s) or foreshadows future action(s).