Plot in Narrative

What is plot in Narrative? *The story, which has a Beginning, Middle, and End. Lamplighters Y2Q1, page 4, Green Level Material

A story begins with an idea, a moment in time, or a theme. The theme of the “Who Was David?” blog is “A worthy man, who is loyal to God and His Word, will be blessed.” The story’s theme is the controlling idea and reason for the story. It moves the story along. It’s taking an abstract idea (ex. “A worthy man loyal to God and His Word will be blessed.”) and illustrating it through concrete examples. A good theme makes the readers feel something. Makes them laugh. Makes them cry. Makes them afraid. Makes them question.

But an idea does not make a story. To create a story, the writer takes an idea/theme and then organizes characters, time, and events into a storyline (plot) that takes the reader on a journey, battling some sort of conflict, overcoming obstacles and threatening consequences until there is a resolution, satisfactory or not.

The plot requires:

  • Structure (a beginning, middle and an end)

  • Characters who have a relationship to each other

  • All aspects of the plot have a reason for being there

  • The creation of “intent” (emotion)

As we go along, please use Lamplighter’s “Who Was David?” blog (Year 2/Qtr. 1) as we identify the parts of Plot. Visually pointing out the Plot’s parts within this story will enhance the understanding of this blog information.


There are many basic plots utilized for stories. David’s blog uses an “Ascension” plot line: The rise/ascension of the shepherd boy, David, proving himself worthy and blessed by God, and becoming Israel’s first king in the lineage of Christ’s messianic kingdom.


This particular story uses the 3rd Person Omniscient point of view. The author narrates the story as if looking down upon it from above. He can move around at will from character to character or event to event. He knows what everyone is thinking and why they’re doing what they’re doing. And he can introduce information where and when he chooses.


The premise of the theme is important enough that the story will go somewhere and end somewhere…with some detours along the way.

Stasis

Stasis is the world the reader encounters when entering the story…the character’s everyday world.

  • Two times King Saul has disobeyed God’s commands and Samuel the prophet declares, “Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king over Israel.” (I Sam. 15:26) The Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul. (I Sam. 16:14). Saul had disobeyed God’s Word given to him when:

  1. King Saul doesn’t wait for Samuel the Prophet, but offers a burnt offering to seek the LORD’s favor in his battle with the Philistines. (I Sam. 13:2-15)

  2. King Saul and his army were to “devote”/destroy the Philistines’ army, people, cattle, and city. Saul does the opposite and makes excuses of why he saved some. (I Sam. 15:1-29)

Prophet Samuel, “a faithful priest, who would do according to what was in God’s heart and mind” (I Sam. 2:35) anoints David as the future king (I Sam. 16:12-13). David is known as one who “plays the harp well, is a brave man and a warrior, speaks well, is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.” (I Sam. 16:18)

  • Presently, David is his father’s household shepherd, while his brothers serve as soldiers in King Saul’s army.

The Trigger (Inciting Moment):

This is when the story actually begins. It’s what triggers change and is the purpose for the journey taken. Because of this, something must happen.

  • David is recognized by all to have a deep faith in God and His protection, as David kills Goliath with a sling and 1 stone. David now is King Saul’s and Israel’s “darling.”

  • King Saul seeks out David to play his lyre to rid Saul of the harmful spirit, loves David, and asks him to be his armor bearer.

COMPELLING QUESTIONS

  1. What is Plot in a narrative?

  2. What particular type of Plot is told in the blog about David?

  3. What is the “Trigger” in the “Who Was David?” blog?

The Quest (The Problem):

How does the beginning of a story end? With the introduction of the main problem. Lamplighters Y2Q1, page 4, Red Level Material

To find the Problem in this story, we first must know David’s heart, which is to

please God and men. David has battled bravely for King Saul and Israel, increasingly winning more battles than King Saul now. The Israelite women are singing in the public square, “Saul has won his thousands and David has won his tens of thousands.” (I Sam. 18: 6) and from that time on “Saul kept a jealous eye on David, thinking, “What more can he get but the kingdom?” (I Sam. 18:8-9)

David faces a problem: Saul now holds a jealous iron-grip on his name and position as King in Israel’s recorded history. (I Sam. 24:20-21) and wants to kill him. David’s quest is to prove his loyalty to God’s commands, which includes honoring and doing good toward King Saul, his descendants, and his name in order to thwart Saul’s jealousy.

COMPELLING QUESTIONS

  1. How does the beginning of a story end?

  2. What circumstances occur that leads up to David acknowledging he has a problem and must set out on a quest?

  3. What is that problem and quest before him?

The Middle of a Story

Which parts make up the middle of a story? The Rising Action, Climax, and the Falling Action Lamplighters Y2Q1, page 4, Yellow Level Material

The Rising Action takes up the majority of David’s story…all the twists, challenges, and turns along the way (that are unpredictable and surprise the reader). But each challenge must be overcome. Surprises can be complications, obstacles, or new knowledge that either propels the character forward or hinders the completion of his quest.

David’s heart (mindset, emotions, and motivation) mirrors God’s heart and mind when one reads David’s Psalms. David loves God’s Word/Mind and conducts himself rightly before the LORD. He thirsts for God Presence in his life. David favors and sides with good men versus evil men. Yet David has to still overcome obstacles and challenges to prove he is a worthy man.

  • Saul throws a spear twice at David, who evades him. (I Sam. 18:10-11)

  • Saul says to David that he can marry Michal if he will fight for Saul the LORD’s battles…on the condition that he brings back 100 Philistine foreskins. Saul thought, “Let me give her to him, that she may be a snare for him and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” (I Sam. 18:20-21) David did and married Michal, becoming Saul’s son-in-law.

  • Jonathan warns David that his father wants to kill David. Michal assists David’s escape from Saul’s messengers’ murderous attack. David flees from the King’s hands. (I Sam. 19-20)

  • At the advice of Doeg the Edomite, Saul sends for Ahimelech the priest and all his house to be murdered because the priest had given aid to David in his evasion from Saul. (I Sam. 21-22)

  • The prophet Gad advised David, his following of men, and his family to move from the cave of Adullam for protection from King Saul’s murderous hounding of them.(I Sam. 22). The priest Abiathar used an ephod for David to know where to go and David remained in the strongholds of the wilderness. I Sam. 23:9-14 the narrator/author writes, “And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.” (The readers are now one with their protagonist, David, as he skirts Saul’s hot, murderous raids. Tension is building: Will David be able to find safety from Saul?)

  • David chose the course he would lead by not harming the Anointed One, King Saul. David and his cohorts hide, rather than battle King Saul and his army. But now it seems God turns the table. Saul is the prey, at the mercy of David and his men.

  • Saul accidentally goes into a cave at Wildgoats’ Rock to relieve himself, where David and his men are hiding. David did not permit his men to attack Saul, saying, “The LORD forbid that I put out my hand against the LORD’s anointed.” (I Sam. 24) David also vows to Saul that he will not cut off Saul’s offspring.

  • Saul and his 3,000 men go after David in the wilderness of Ziph. And Abishai brought to David’s attention that “God has given your enemy into your hand this day” while Saul slept before them. David rebuked him saying, “Who can put out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless?...the LORD will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish.” (I Sam. 26) As Saul left the scene, David still relied on God saying, “…may He deliver me out of all tribulation.”

  • David said in his heart, “Now I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul. I should escape to the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any longer…and I shall escape out of his hand.” There he struck a friendship with Achish, king of Gath and settled in the city of Ziglag. (I Sam. 27)

The Climax

This is the highpoint of the story. It is the result of the character, David’s, life choice(s). It doesn’t matter whether the protagonist (David) wins or loses, but rather that the reader is drawn into the excitement of realizing David is now safe from Saul’s jealousy forever.

  • In battle the Philistines kill Jonathan and severely wound Saul, who falls on his sword and dies. God has delivered David from tribulation, without David lifting a hand against King Saul.

  • David’s words to Abishai now come to pass as David hears that Saul has died in the Philistine battle. “The LORD will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish.” (I Sam. 26:10)

The Falling Action.

The protagonist, David, now is chosen to be the king of Judah.

We read, “The house of Judah anointed David king over them and he reigned seven years and six months. (2 Sam. 2:4)

COMPELLING QUESTIONS

  1. What parts make up the middle of the story?

  2. Regarding the Rising Action, what were some situations David showed he was a worthy contender to be Israel’s future king?

  3. Did you feel pleasure in the climax and falling action of David’s quest? Why?

The End of Stories

How does the end of a story begin? With the Resolution to the problem. Lamplighters Y2Q1, page 4, Red Level Material

THE RESOLUTION

2 Samuel 3:1 reads “There was a long war between the house of Saul (Israel) and the house of David (Judah). And David grew stronger and stronger, while the house of Saul became weaker and weaker.” In this chapter, Abner was making himself strong in the house of Saul. He and Ish-bosheth got into a personal argument, and so Abner persuaded (Israel) to drop Ish-bosheth and allow David to be King of Israel and Judah. Joab killed Abner; and Rechab and Baanah killed Ish-bosheth. David then sanctioned the death of these two men with death because of their evil deed.

Then the elders of Israel came to King David at Hebron and anointed David king over Israel. Now David reigned over the unified nation of Israel in Jerusalem. (2 Sam. 5:3-5).

“And David became greater and greater, for the LORD, the God of hosts, was with him.” (2 Sam. 5:10)

Now, the story is brought to a new Stasis. The characters are wiser and will be changed from their struggle, and life returns to “normal.” The story is complete. The theme has been met: David has proven himself worthy and loyal to God and man, to ascend to kingship in God’s kingdom. We, the readers, are left with a feeling of satisfaction for David’s future as king.

COMPELLING QUESTIONS:

  1. What is the end of a story called and what does it look like?

  2. What was the theme? Was it met in the Resolution?

  3. Did the Resolution leave you with a feeling of satisfaction?

PLOT DIAGRAM


Plot Diagram from Lamp Lighters Material Y2Q1

A Plot Diagram is a tool that is commonly used to organize a story into certain segments. Once the parts of the plot diagram are identified, it is easier to analyze the content. A plot diagram also gives a common framework for analyzing and understanding written prose.

  1. The Beginning introduces the characters, describes the setting, and establishes the problem in the story.

  2. The Rising Action is where suspense builds, challenges arise, and the conflict gets worse and becomes more complicated. There are often multiple steps or parts in the rising action.

  3. The Climax is the turning point in the story. It is usually the most exciting part in the story and the part in the story the reader is most looking forward to.

  4. The Falling Action is the events that happen immediately after the climax that lead to a resolution or ending to the story.

  5. The Resolution is the outcome of the story. It is how things end up and where we say goodbye to the characters.

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