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What Are Setting and Plot?. Feature Menu. Plot Basic Situation Conflict Complications Climax Resolution Your Turn. Setting Influences problem and resolution Gives sense of reality Creates atmosphere. Setting. Setting

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What Are Setting and Plot?

Feature Menu


Basic Situation





Your Turn


Influences problem and resolution

Gives sense of reality

Creates atmosphere



  • Setting
  • A. The setting is where and when the action of a story takes place.
  • B. The setting can influence a story in many ways.
  • 1. Setting can influence the plot and it’s resolution.
  • 2. The setting can give the story a sense of reality.
  • 3. The setting can create an atmosphere.

A rain forest

A big city

The Arctic


In many stories, setting is essential to the plot.

The setting in each of these stories controls the action. The story couldn’t take place anywhere else.



Influence on Story’s Problem and Resolution

In some stories, characters are in an external conflict with the setting:

people surviving on a cold mountain with no food

animals trapped by a raging forest fire

a person marooned in a small boat in the middle of the ocean

The setting poses a challenge. If the characters triumph over the problem, the story has a happy resolution.

[End of Section]

setting gives story a sense of reality
SettingGives Story a Sense of Reality

Vivid details help make a settingseem real. You can imagine

• how people live and dress

•what they eat and where they work

[End of Section]

setting creates atmosphere
SettingCreates atmosphere

Writers often use setting to create anatmosphere or mood.




[End of Section]


Quick Check

The smell of pine made Ben dizzy—or perhaps it was the height. Either way, he and Tara had lost the desire to chat.

Squirrels scampered andchattered in the limbs that supported the heavy wooden floor. Birds flew in close by to have a look at them, and all around them the long arms ofpine trees waved in approval of the old hideout.

Which words in the passage help you imagine where the scene takes place?


Quick Check

With just enough kerosene to last until the next wagon to the fort, Mama turned down the lamp and set it on the hearth. It was Josh’s turn to poke at the coals and make the room glow.

Jenny was outside tightening the wire door around the henhouse. In another week, they could fill out a form for claiming their little part of the new territory.

Using the details of this setting, tell when the story takes place.


Quick Check

The elevator opened onto a dark, narrow hallway. One after the other, identical-looking doors lined the long corridor.

From behind one of the doors came a faint scratching sound. Glowing dimly, a sign at the end of hall probably said EXIT, but cobwebs almost completely covered the letters.

What mood is created by the details of this setting?

[End of Section]


II. Plot

A. The plot is a series of related events that make up a story.

B. Plots usually have four parts:

1. Basic Situation

-who is the main character?

-what do they want?

-what is the character’s problem?

2. Complications (events)

-additional problems that come

up and keep the character from

resolving the conflict


3. Climax

-The most exciting part of the story

-When you finally find out how the conflict will be resolved

4. Resolution

-The final part of the plot

-The main character’s problem is solved


III. Conflict

A. There are two kinds of conflict: internal and external

1. Internal Conflict

-takes place within the character

2. External Conflict

-a struggle against forces outside

the character



Basic situation




Most plotshave four parts.



You can diagram a plot like this:

The resolution usually wraps up the “loose ends” of the story.

The climax is the “high point” of the story.

These events are the complications.



Basic Situation

The first part of the plot tells you about the story’s basic situation.

The basic situation usually answers these questions:

Who is the main character?

What does the main character want?

What stands in the character’s way? In other words, what is his or her problem, or conflict?

[End of Section]




A conflict is a struggle.

In an external conflict, a character clashes with an outside force:

another character

or a situation.




An internal conflict is a struggle that takes place within a character.

The character might struggle to overcome fear, to exercise self-control, or to gain confidence.




When the conflict involves a setting, the setting is often extreme or life threatening.

[End of Section]




As the characters try to solve their problems, complications arise.

Complications are additional problems that prevent the main character from resolving the conflict.

Complications create suspense in the story.

[End of Section]




When a story reaches its climax, it has reached its most exciting point.

In the climax you find out how the conflict will be resolved, or worked out.

[End of Section]




In the final part of the plot, the resolution, the main character’s problem is resolved.

In a mystery . . .

In a fairy tale . . .

In an adventure . . .

the clues are explained.

they all live happily ever after.

the survivors may be rescued.

[End of Section]



Quick Check

As the hot July sun slipped below the horizon, a cooling darkness filled Central Valley.

Lisa had just fallen asleep when the windows of the trailer rattled like a snake giving warning. The trailer swayed back and forth. Lisa could hear the baby crying. Papa yelled, “Outside! Get out! Get out! It’s an earthquake!”

1. Who do you think the main character is?

2. What do you predict the externalconflict will be?



Quick Check

The earth groaned, and a river of mud slid down the canyon. The family huddled together in the dark.

Mama tore up a sheet to make a sling for Papa’s broken arm. Papa shined his flashlight on the wreck that used to be the trailer. “It could explode,” he warned. “Don’t get any closer.”

This passage takes place a little later in the story.

3. What complications have come up?



Quick Check

The baby kept crying. Lisa’s mother said, “I have nothing to feed him. What are we going to do?”

Suddenly the earth rumbled again. Lisa looked back at the trailer and saw fallen electric wires dangling all over it.

4. What new complications have come up?

5. What do you predict the family will decide to do? Why?



Quick Check

Lisa stumbled down the side of the canyon. She could hear a siren coming closer. The lights of a helicopter shone on her like a spotlight. “Stop! Help us!” she cried, frantically waving her arms. The copter drifted to the ground.

This passage takes place later in the story.

6. Why is this event probably the climax of the story?

to Lisa?

to the baby?

to the mother?

to Papa?

7. Write a resolution for this story. What happens to the family?

[End of Section]

analyze setting and plot
Analyze Setting and Plot

Your Turn

  • Choose a fairy tale that you know well.
  • Draw a plot diagram like the one shown here.
  • Add labels describing the key parts of the story’s plot.