Learner Description: This page is intended for middle school students who are studying elements of literature through the use of short stories, poetry and drama.

Throughout the course of the school year, we will be studying various elements of literature in preparation for the PSSAs. As we read short stories, poetry and drama, we will look at the appropriate literary elements in detail so we can better understand the literature.

Elements of a Short Story

The following literary elements will be discussed as we study short stories:

Plot and the Plot Diagram

Plot is the series of events in a story that explain to the reader what is happening. One of the easiest ways to understand plot is to look at the mountain shaped plot diagram and think of story in terms of climbing a mountain. Please refer to the corresponding image to see the diagram and its labels.

image of plot diagram labled with exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution

Stage 1 - Exposition

Stage 2 - Rising Action

Stage 3 - Climax

Stage 4 - Falling Action

Stage 5 - Resolution

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Every story has a conflict - a struggle between two opposing forces. The conflict may be between two people or it may be between a person and some other force, regardless, every story revolves around conflict and it's important for you to understand the various kinds of conflict.

Concept Map image with links to online resources for creating a plot diagram and other literary elements online activities Link to Read Write Think Plot Diagram Activity Link to Literary Element Activities for Character, Plot, Setting, and more

*Note - all links open in a new browser window*

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