Elements of Plot:
Exposition: the presentation of essential information regarding what has occurred prior to the beginning of the play.
In the exposition to William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," two servants of the house of Capulet discuss the
feud between their master and the house of Montague, thereby letting the audience know that such a feud exists and that it
will play an important role in influencing the plot.
It was market-day, and from all the country round Goderville the peasants and their wives were coming toward the town.
The men walked slowly, throwing the whole body forward at every step of their long, crooked legs. They were deformed from
pushing the plough which makes the left- shoulder higher, and bends their figures side-ways; from reaping the grain, when
they have to spread their legs so as to keep on their feet. Their starched blue blouses, glossy as though varnished, ornamented
at collar and cuffs with a little embroidered design and blown out around their bony bodies, looked very much like balloons
about to soar, whence issued two arms and two feet.
Some of these fellows dragged a cow or a calf at the end of a rope. And just behind the animal followed their wives beating
it over the back with a leaf-covered branch to hasten its pace, and carrying large baskets out of which protruded the heads
of chickens or ducks. These women walked more quickly and energetically than the men, with their erect, dried-up figures,
adorned with scanty little shawls pinned over their flat bosoms, and their heads wrapped round with a white cloth, enclosing
the hair and surmounted by a cap.
Now a char-a-banc passed by, jogging along behind a nag and shaking up strangely the two men on the seat, and the woman
at the bottom of the cart who held fast to its sides to lessen the hard jolting.
In the market-place at Goderville was a great crowd, a mingled multitude of men and beasts. The horns of cattle, the high,
long-napped hats of wealthy peasants, the headdresses of the women came to the surface of that sea. And the sharp, shrill,
barking voices made a continuous, wild din, while above it occasionally rose a huge burst of laughter from the sturdy lungs
of a merry peasant or a prolonged bellow from a cow tied fast to the wall of a house.
It all smelled of the stable, of milk, of hay and of perspiration, giving off that half-human, half-animal odor which
is peculiar to country folks.
Maitre Hauchecorne, of Breaute, had just arrived at Goderville and was making his way toward the square when he perceived
on the ground a little piece of string. Maitre Hauchecorne, economical as are all true Normans, reflected that everything
was worth picking up which could be of any use, and he stooped down, but painfully, because he suffered from rheumatism. He
took the bit of thin string from the ground and was carefully preparing to roll it up when he saw Maitre Malandain, the harness
maker, on his doorstep staring at him. They had once had a quarrel about a halter, and they had borne each other malice ever
since. Maitre Hauchecorne was overcome with a sort of shame at being seen by his enemy picking up a bit of string in the road.
He quickly hid it beneath his blouse and then slipped it into his breeches, pocket, then pretended to be still looking for
something on the ground which he did not discover and finally went off toward the market-place, his head bent forward and
his body almost doubled in two by rheumatic pains.
He was at once lost in the crowd, which kept moving about slowly and noisily as it chaffered and bargained. The peasants
examined the cows, went off, came back, always in doubt for fear of being cheated, never quite daring to decide, looking the
seller square in the eye in the effort to discover the tricks of the man and the defect in the beast.
The women, having placed their great baskets at their feet, had taken out the poultry, which lay upon the ground, their
legs tied together, with terrified eyes and scarlet combs.
They listened to propositions, maintaining their prices in a decided manner with an impassive face or perhaps deciding
to accept the smaller price offered, suddenly calling out to the customer who was starting to go away:
"All right, I'll let you have them, Mait' Anthime."
Then, little by little, the square became empty, and when the Angelus struck midday those who lived at a distance poured
into the inns.
This is the exposition because it has the background on the people and on the place.
Inciting Incident: The act or action that sets the story and conflict in motion
When Hauchecorne picked up the piece of string from the ground is when the inciting incident occurred.
This is the inciting incident because if it were not for this part of the story, Hauchecorne would not have been accused
of stealing the pocketbook.
Rising Action: The part of a drama which begins with the exposition and sets the stage for the climax. A conflict often
develops between the protagonist and an antagonist.
"Maitre Hauchecorne," said he, "this morning on the Beuzeville road, you were seen to pick up the pocketbook
lost by Maitre Houlbreque, of Manneville." The rising action is when Hauchecorne is accused of stealing the pocketbook.
This is the rising action because when Hauchecorne is accused, because this is the action that puts the story in play
once the inciting incident.
Climax: The decisive moment in a work of literature, the climax is the turning point of the play to which the rising action
leads. This is the crucial part of the work, the part which determines the outcome of the conflict.
"Hold your tongue, daddy; there's one who finds it and there's another who returns it. And no one the wiser."
This is the climax because the town and Hauchecorne knows that the pocketbook has been returned, however, Hauchecorne
takes it lightly and passes is on as a joke, but the town still think that Hauchecorne stole the pocketbook.
Falling Action: The falling action is the series of events which take place after the climax; it is where the protagonist
must react to the changes that occur during the climax of the story.
The farmer was speechless. He understood at last. They accused him of having had the pocketbook brought back by an accomplice,
by a confederate.
He tried to protest. The whole table began to laugh.
He could not finish his dinner, and went away amid a chorus of jeers.
He went home indignant, choking with rage, with confusion, the more cast down since with his Norman craftiness he was,
perhaps, capable of having done what they accused him of and even of boasting of it as a good trick. He was dimly conscious
that it was impossible to prove his innocence, his craftiness being so well known. He felt himself struck to the heart by
the injustice of the suspicion.
He began anew to tell his tale, lengthening his recital every day, each day adding new proofs, more energetic declarations
and more sacred oaths, which he thought of, which he prepared in his hours of solitude, for his mind was entirely occupied
with the story of the string. The more he denied it, the more artful his arguments, the less he was believed.
"Those are liars proofs," they said behind his back.
He felt this. It preyed upon him and he exhausted himself in useless efforts.
He was visibly wasting away.
Jokers would make him tell the story of "the piece of string" to amuse them, just as you make a soldier who
has been on a campaign tell his story of the battle. His mind kept growing weaker and about the end of December he took to
This is the falling action because Hauchecorne finds out that the town does not believe in him being innocent and gets
Resolution (Denouement): The part of a story or drama which occurs after the climax and which establishes a new norm,
a new state of affairs-the way things are going to be from then on. The author often ties up the loose ends of the story to
have the plot reach a conclusion.
He passed away early in January, and, in the ravings of death agony, he protested his innocence, repeating:
"A little bit of string--a little bit of string. See, here it is, M'sieu le Maire."
The resolution to the story is that Hauchecorne died of the stress of trying to prove his innocence.