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Questions tagged [plot-element]

Questions asking for an explanation of an element of the plot of a work of fiction.

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9 votes
1 answer
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Why is there a courtroom scene?

The Merchant of Venice, Act 4 begins with a courtroom scene. During this scene, the contract between Antonio and Shylock is discussed. But why is there a courtroom scene at all? Was every contract ...
rosends's user avatar
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9 votes
0 answers
3k views

Was the Charles Calthrop plot-element in The Day of the Jackal an example of pure coincidence or good detection?

Frederick Forsyth's 1971 novel "The Day of the Jackal" remains an immortal political thriller that defined the 'assassination novel' in popular consciousness. What has always intrigued me is ...
English Student's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
154 views

Why did blood build the House of Shaws in Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson?

Does anyone know why allegedly blood built the House of Shaws? My dim memories of watching Kidnapped (1960) and reading the novel long ago include someone warning David Balfour that the House of Shaws ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
159 views

What was the clue that let Carla find the missing papers in The Poet's House?

In Jean Thompson's novel, The Poet's House, towards the end, the heroine, Carla, is looking for some missing papers: (the last poems that Mathias wrote before he died, and that Viridian—his lover—hid ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
97 views

Did the Master of Ballantrae poison Chew?

The main plot of The Master of Ballantrae, by Robert Louis Stevenson, revolves around two brothers, who, over the course of their lives, become consumed with hatred for each other to the exclusion of ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
242 views

Explain the plot of Georgette Heyer’s ‘Linckes’ Great Case’

Georgette Heyer is best known for her Regency romances, but early in her career: Georgette decided to try her hand at detective fiction. In March 1923 ‘Linckes’ Great Case’ appeared in The Detective ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
3k views

What exactly happened at the end of The Dumb Waiter?

I've read a few critical explanations and exegeses on Harold Pinter's one-act play, The Dumb Waiter. I'm still confused by a few things that happen at the very end, before the curtain. I understand ...
August Canaille's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
113 views

Attitudes among literary critics to literary fiction featuring closed time loops? [closed]

I am looking for an explanation, with examples and citations, of the attitudes of professional literary critics1 in established publications2 towards published fiction3 involving a closed time loop4. ...
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4 votes
2 answers
270 views

Did Jascha Heifetz really have a connection to Odessa, as suggested in Babel's 'The Awakening'?

Babel's "The Awakening" is set in Odessa circa 1910 or so, and begins with all the parents dreaming of their children being discovered as musical prodigies: And sure enough, over the last ...
Kevin Troy's user avatar
  • 2,120
4 votes
1 answer
267 views

In Fight Club, why does Tyler get fired from projectionist union?

I had a hard time understanding the logic behind Tyler getting fired. Here is the context: For three years Tyler had been doing film buildup and breakdown for a chain of movie houses. A movie ...
Sam's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
497 views

Did Satan feel genuine remorse for his actions and compassion for his subordinates?

Related: Is John Milton's Lucifer a tragic hero? Towards the end of book 1 (starting around line 600 in my edition), Satan addresses his followers. Above them all th' Arch-Angel: but his face ...
EJoshuaS - Stand with Ukraine's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
178 views

Why did Scott choose to include so many epigraphs in Ivanhoe that give away the plot?

I'm reading Ivanhoe right now and very much enjoying it. Each chapter in Ivanhoe has an epigraph, often very closely related to the plot of the chapter, meaning that it is often very easy to surmise ...
auden's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
6k views

What is the "YOU LED THEM TO US??!!!" plot device called?

I want to know what the plot device is called where the stumbling protagonist has a brush encounter with the antagonist who lets them free, so that they lead them to the "motherland" / "...
NemyaNation's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
701 views

What is an inciting incident?

I've been struggling to find a clear definition of what exactly an inciting incident is. According to Masterclass, an inciting incident is: The inciting incident of a story is the event that sets the ...
Jude Zambarakji's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
379 views

Who is the protagonist and antagonist in the myth of Creation of Seasons by Dene?

I am a high school student who has to do a presentation on a myth. I have to explain the details of the myth such as the plot, conflict etc. It is very straightforward. Here is the myth. There are 2 &...
Mathematician's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
114 views

In 'The Sign of the Four', what happened to the Sikh accomplices at the end?

Jonathan Small always maintained how he was loyal throughout to his other three Sikh/Indian accomplices. The last we read of them was when they all met with Sholto and Mortsan and told them about the ...
sitenkerz's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
72 views

Are any works of literature known to implement all of Polti's Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations?

Somewhere behind us in the circuits of time, one of my college Lit teachers casually mentioned the Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations during a seemingly improvisational moment in a lecture she was giving. ...
elrobis's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
0 answers
78 views

In Elizabeth Hand's novel "Waking the Moon", how does this character get resurrected from death?

Massive spoilers ahead. In the novel Waking the Moon, the character Oliver castrates himself and is then taken to a hospital, and from there, to a mental hospital. After spending a few days in the ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
49 views

Why did Miss Fromsett cover for a suspected murderer in The Lady in the Lake?

At the end of Chandler's The Lady in the Lake, when Kingsley is interrogated by Marlowe he says that he believes that his secretary Adrienne Fromsett knew that the person who called claiming to be his ...
jwezorek's user avatar
  • 121
1 vote
1 answer
268 views

In Agatha Christie's "Third Girl" how exactly does this murder work?

Norma Restarick goes to Poirot saying that she believes she has committed a murder, and has gaps in her memory where she can't remember what she was doing. We later find out that this is because she's ...
BeginTheBeguine's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
83 views

How did Lusitania survive before Novinha became a xenobiologist?

In the beginning of Speaker for the Dead it is revealed that, due to the deaths of Gusto and Cida, Lusitania was without a xenobiologist. In Xenocide, it is revealed that Novinha But, between the ...
Frzorp's user avatar
  • 11
0 votes
1 answer
104 views

What former rulers of the region were mentioned by Gomez in *The Addams Family* (1965) by Jack Sharkey?

What former rulers of the region were mentioned by Gomez in The Addams Family (1965) by Jack Sharkey? I don't remember whether there was any location given for the Addams Family mansion in the series ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
96 views

What is the origin of the plot device where a character changes negative views about someone after spending time with them?

I feel like this is a common story element. Someone has a negative view about a person/group of people, and their worldview is changed after they are forced to spend time with that person/group. This ...
flavoredRocksinTheGarden's user avatar