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Organic Unity Basics: Story vs. Plot

Inspired by E.M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel, this Prezi explains how the stories we study in class are different from the general stories that surround us in pop culture and in our life. In English, we study the types of stories that have plot.

Siggy Abuel

on 26 September 2012

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Transcript of Organic Unity Basics: Story vs. Plot

Birth Death Story ...a series of events that have chronology, but focus on relationships, values, and meaning Gus's father walks out on his mother the moment she gets pregnant. He moves to Europe to help the Communists. His mother struggles to pay the bills as a waitress in an Italian Restaurant and raise Gus at the same time...life is hard for the two. Inspired by the Cold War and in an effort to bring money to the household, Gus joins the army and sends his paycheck home to his mother so she can work less hours at the restaurant. She always wanted to go to college, this way she is able to take some night classes. During his time in the war, Gus stops another soldier from raping a lone woman and killing her 10 year old son. He is eventually noticed to be a man of honor by a kindly superior officer who places him on the fast track to promotion. Gus receives an honorable discharge from the army after being wounded in battle. He goes to college like his mother always wanted and majors in business. His mother watches him receive his degree and she suffers from a heart attack. He meets a nurse named Sue at the hospital the day his mother dies. She consoles him. They marry three years later. Gus saves enough money to buy the restaurant his mother used to work at from the old owner. He renames it "Ann's Place" in honor of his mother. Sue tells Gus she's pregnant. Gus, in a fit of fear, decides to go out for cigarettes with the hidden intention of abandoning his wife. He drives faster and faster as the self-loathing begins to creep in. He loses control of the car as it moves across an oil slick, he crashes against van killing a father and son traveling together. Gus was born on August 3rd, 1954 in a hospital in Chicago. He is 8 pounds. His mother's name is Ann. In an effort to get home in time to watch his favorite show, The Lone Ranger, Gus rides his bike too fast in the rain and crashes into a tree. He gets 13 stitches. Gus joins the army and eventually becomes a Major for his bravery and leadership. After the war he got married to a girl named Sue. She is very pretty. Her favorite color is red. Gus eventually became a small business owner, where he ran an Italian Restaurant Gus dies in a car accident while abandoning his wife. A Human Life ...is a series of events that occur in chronological order. Usually interesting... At best, makes the reader want to know whats happens next and entertains them... Notice how the shapes have no clear pattern? Let's look at an example! Notice how this story has no clear pattern or meaning to it? Birth Death A Human Life STORY with a PLOT Notice how there is a clear pattern? In this story, the details chosen begin to connect, implying arguments, implying something beyond the mere chronology of events. There is a pattern in the threads... We crave meaning, we do not look at our lives as a series of random events. We make choices, we draw connections. Events in our life have weight, as do the places and people that weave into us. The same goes for a story with a plot. These stories make arguments about values, about meaning, about what it is to be human. Story vs. Story with Plot Meaning Antagonist Protagonist External Conflict Internal Conflict Scene Symbol Stories with a plot are "Organically Unified" by its parts. Each part has some sort of relationship with other parts of the story that implies an argument (meaning). These arguments come in the form of themes or moral. This idea of implying arguments through patterns and connection, it what separates literature from simple entertainment. So what does the story of Gus imply about people? About life? About relationships? Whatever you manage to infer from the tale, more than one part of the story must convincingly support whatever you extract from the text. High five for learning!
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