“In the history of literary criticism, plot has undergone a variety of interpretations,” states the "Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature". The meaning of plot for a book report is no different.
Writing a book report is the process of summarizing a piece of work, often a novel, in a concise manner while presenting one’s opinion or interpretation of characters and/or events described in the book. In explaining what a book is about one is describing the plot of the story. A plot is a series of structured interrelated actions, which help to tell a story.
There are many other important interdependent elements involved in the telling of a story such as characters and setting, yet the plot may be considered the glue that holds all these different elements together. The term plot summary is usually employed to indicate a brief retelling of the story for the sake of a book report.
Writing about a Plot
Describing the plot of a story usually explains what happened. Three points should be considered when discussing plot: First, be aware that plots usually fit into literary patterns that are structured series of actions. It is important to explain how a story’s actions and events are related. The second point is to understand that highlighting important moments in the story better supports general statements about the book. Citing concrete examples accomplishes this. Lastly, for the integrity of the book report, there must be a balance between being too concise and overly descriptive.
Plots for Book Reports
Book reports usually have predetermined formats, often established by a teacher or instructor. Explaining the plot tends to be one section among others of the book report. A plot summary accurately recounts the story’s beginning, middle and end of a book.
Students usually write a plot summary in the chronological order of events, making sure to include the main actions of the story. An effective plot summary gives a general understanding of genre, themes and characters of the story while focusing on “what happened” in the story.
- “Merriam Webster’s Encyclopedia of Literature”; Merriam-Webster; 1995
- “A Glossary of Literary Terms”; M.H. Abrams; 1971
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