VC To Kill a Mockingbird by H

Learning Goal: I’m working on a writing question and need guidance to help me learn.

Dear All ~

First of all, let’s think of the research paper as three little essays each connected by a TS (transitional sentence). For example, a TS could read, “The next topic of discussion is Point of View.”

Second, let’s visualize the paper and how to put it together. Here’s what to do:

Introductory Paragraph. Mention the title of the novel, the author, and a 4-5 line summary of the story. End the paragraph by stating in one sentence that you will be discussing plot, characterization, and theme in this research paper.


1) Look below at “How To Write an Essay on Plot.” Print it or save it separately. Since you have already written a paper on plot, you should be familiar with it. Here are some points to remember:

a) You must follow the outline exactly and mention each part, like exposition, dramatic conflicts, crisis, climax, epiphany, and resolution and give an example of each.

b) Remember the exposition means you need to describe briefly what is happening at the very beginning of the novel.

c) Dramatic conflicts – name three important events that happen before the crisis. You must describe each event in just a few sentences.

d) Follow the outline! That means you MUST SUBMIT AN OUTLINE. Key words only! Do not create an essay!! This outline must contain the Roman numerals and a,b,c’s showing the points you will discuss and examples. You will get a deduction of 50% of this part if you submit an essay instead of an outline. Here is the complete PLOT Outline:

How To Write An Essay On Plot

This outline is here so that you won’t go on the Internet and try to copy someone’s plot essay. These are highly specific elements that must be in this essay and you have the keys to those right here. To make a really good plot essay, just follow the outline and copy the words exactly, filling in the blanks! Each Roman numeral stands for a separate paragraph. When you submit your essay, make sure you have deleted the Roman numerals and a,b,c’s and made all the sentences fit one after another in a cohesive paragraph. Let’s try!

I . Thesis Statement. (Example): Plot is a series of events in a story. Plot in the novel______ is well –developed. A plot must be chronological or non-chronological. Chronological means the events happened in order of their occurrence. Non-Chronological means that there were regressions into the past from time to time or for the entire story. This novel is

chronological (one line explanation)

(or) 2. non-chronological. It contained

a single flashback – one line explanation

multiple flashbacks -one line explanation of each flashback

frame story. This is where the narrator tells a story that happened in the past without coming back to the present until the end of the story or not at all. (one line explanation)

II. The Rate of Revelation (or Pace) was

(A) Fast (one-line explanation)

(B) Slow. Details clogged the action and the reader kept waiting for the action to continue. (ie…).

III Plot has several elements that make a story complete. In this novel, __________, all of the elements of plot are present.

Exposition is the information the reader receives when the story opens. It is only the information that is going on at the very beginning, including what is happening, the setting, and the characters involved only at the beginning. The exposition in this story included………

Dramatic Conflicts. These include all of the events that happen up to the crisis. Examples include:

one line sentence

one line sentence

one line sentence (and so on)

Crisis – This is the turning point, the separation of what has gone on before and what will come after. Usually a decision or action undertaken in an effort to resolve the conflict. The crisis in this story was …….

Epiphany – An enlightment, a discovery of something by a main character. This could happen anywhere in the story, but usually comes right before the climax. The epiphany in this story was when ………………………………

Climax – The highest point of the action. The tension and conflicts are brought to a final outcome. (one line sentence explanation)

Resolution or Denouement – This is the tying up of loose ends. It is the result of the climax. (one or two lines explaining what happened as a result of the climax)


IV – PLOT also contains an analysis from the reader.

A) Weakness in the plot can come from

not enough detail (explanation)

too much detail that interfered with the action (explanation)

B) Strengths in the plot come from

fully explained events (explanation) or

believable events (explanation)

C) Plot in the novel _________ is very (impressive, strong, weak) and can be a viable part of English literature today for all students to study and enjoy.

(Now you should be able to make your four paragraph essay including all the elements listed above).

To determine all the elements, start at the bottom and work backwards.

– RESOLUTION: Ask yourself “What happened at the very end of the story? On a separate Word doc, just write the resolution in as few words as possible.

CLIMAX: Ask yourself: “How did the resolution occur? (For example, if you use “A Rose for Emily,” ask yourself, what did the two cousins from Alabama find that gave them the resolution? That is the climax!

CRISIS: If using “A Rose for Emily,” Ask yourself: “Why were the two cousins from Alabama there in the first place?” ). THAT is the crisis!

DRAMATIC CONFLICTS: Ask yourself: What specific events happened before the crisis. Write each event in a separate sentence, but all in the same paragraph.

EXPOSITION: Where is the reader at the very beginning of the story? What characters are there just at the very beginning? What are they doing? That is the exposition.

Now that you’ve answered all the questions, copy your notes about the ‘Exposition” and start writing your essay!

e) End with this last sentence as the last sentence in your last paragraph on plot: “Not only is plot important, but so is characterization.” (Do not make it a separate sentence away from the paragraph).

Point of View. Look down and you’ll see the “How To Write an Essay on “Point of View.” Print it or save it separately. Now here are some points to remember:

a) You must concentrate solely on the point of view of the main character. Only ONE character – the round one.

b) Follow the outline from here!


The novel,_________ written by ______, is written from the point of view of (choose one): (an omniscient observer) or (the character named _____. There are three experiences which demonstrate this viewpoint.

In the first experience, ____ is at the ____……..He sees the event through his eyes and thinks that ………………….. In fact, the lines in the story illustrate this when he says “…… (page._).

In the second experience, _____ is (doing what?) _____.Through his eyes, he thinks that ……………. Indeed, we see this exact thought in the lines of the story when he states, “ ___(page._).

In the third experience, we see ___ at the _______.Through his eyes, he thinks that…………………… These thoughts are illustrated in the lines from the story where he states, “__(page.__).

5. If the novel __________ had been told through the eyes of ____, it would have been much different. 6. In the same first experience, _____ would see this as…………. 7. In the second experience, _____ would probably have………… 8.In the third experience, ______would probably …………………… 9. (Your opinion. Answer these questions: ” Was ____’s point of view sufficient to understand the novel? Were all three experiences strong evidence of _____’s personality and his weaknesses and strengths? Sum it up.(Note: Above statements. Just fill in the blanks and add experiences. You don’t have to use the exact same words!)

d) End with this last sentence as the last sentence in your last paragraph: “Not only is Point of View important, but so is theme.” (Do not make it a separate sentence away from the paragraph).


Define theme.

There is not an outline for either one, but you need to define the term and then give at least two examples

CRITICISMS. Finally, you need to add three paragraphs copying and pasting the three criticisms that you found earlier in the semester. Remember, you will copy and paste criticisms only on plot, characterization of the main character, and theme. Each criticism should be a separate paragraph and cited, like (author, page).

YOUR OPINION. At the end of this section, you add one more paragraph. Add YOUR opinion of what you thought of the entire novel, focusing on plot, characterization of the main character, and theme.

That’s it! Oh, you just asked, “How long is the paper?” My answer – “Until you finish! Basically, you’ll probably have 15 paragraphs. That’s all. Just the 5 paragraphs for Plot, about 3-4 paragraphs for Point of View, 1 paragraph for theme, 3 paragraphs for criticisms and 1 paragraph for your final comments!

REMEMBER THIS IS JUST AN OUTLINE, NOT AN ESSAY. WRITE IN KEYWORDS, NOT COMPLETE SENTENCES. You will get only 50% of your grade on this section if you send in a full essay.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to e-mail me! KJ.

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