The plot is the plot structure of a dramatic or narrative text, and consequently the outline of the action (which can be recounted in short form). However, the term is ambiguous so that the plot is used in three different meanings, all of which are very close to each other and thus difficult to separate from one another.
The term is derived from English and can be translated with action. However, it is not clear where the term came from. Nevertheless, the translation reveals to us very well what is the fundamental thing: the story [of a narrative or dramatic text].
However, since the word is used differently in literary studies, we can only be satisfied with the simple information that the plot means the action. Thus, on the one hand, plot is the counterpart to the story – concepts which E.M. Forster coined – and on the other hand – a narrative scheme and also described narrative mediation. Let us look into the details.
Note: The different meanings are now explained. We will begin with the conceptual story / plot, in order to elucidate a more general understanding.
plot and story according to E.M. Ranger
Forster, an English narrative theorist, published his work Aspects of the novel and related writings in 1927 and suggested the terms story and plot to describe two different levels of narrative. Both relate to the story of a narrative.
story means the chronological sequence of the individual events of an action. Thus, as they happen in time and not necessarily as the story prepares them to the reader, because time jumps can be present. Thus, the important question in relation to the story: And then? What happened next?
First died Holger, then died Martin and in the end Rudi was still dead.
The above example presents the events of a possible story in its proper order. This means that the actual sequence of the events is observed. However, the story gives us no clue as to why something has happened and therefore no justification.
It encompasses all events, events and actions of history, but considers these as unlinked and unconnected. In this way, the above-mentioned events can be understood as a series and are to be compared with a series of contents. Let’s look at the plot.
Holger died when his apartment burst into blazing flames, as a gas line exploded in the basement. Martin, the first firefighter at the scene, did his best and tried to save Holger from the deadly fire, but could not do anything for him and died from the consequences of a severe smoke poisoning. Rudi, Martin’s hamster, died because nobody came to feed him.
The above example may be cruel. But this is exactly the plot. The plot is not only the simple naming of the events, but also the justification of this. The plot thus equips the action sections of a narrative with causes and answers the question of why.
The plot thus also includes all events, but also includes the specific linking of these elements. This means that the plot traces the motivation of individual actions and reveals the causal connections of the narrative.
Note: E. M. Forster used the terms plot and story for the first time in a linguistic context. The story means the chronological sequence of the events, the plot provides the causes for this. Incidentally, it becomes somewhat confusing when the terms Fabula and Sujet come into play, because their English translation is story and plot. But that is not the point.
Consequently, the plot provides a certain temporal structuring, a causal and / or a final context, and shows concise beginning and end points of a narrative.
Plot as a narrative scheme
Narrative means narrative, a narrative scheme is thus a pattern which means the manner of narrative. The plot can also describe such a narrative scheme. To show the whole thing on the basis of an example, we must first look at the narrative scheme.
A story is divided into two levels. Once in the plane of the discours and also in that of the histoire. The discours means the artistic design of a text, while the histoire encompasses the events described and thus the actual story.
When we examine a narrative scheme, we limit ourselves to the level of discours, that is, to the events that occur within the narrated world. These events can be arranged linearly, that is to say, completely independent of the way in which they occur in the actual situation.