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The Degeneration Plot

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > The Degeneration Plot

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

In the degeneration plot, the main character starts off as an attractive and sympathetic person, but gradually or radically degenerates into immorality, despair or other unattractive position.

This is often triggered by some crisis, whether it is general, such as a terrorist incident, or a personal circumstance, such as a divorce. The character is thus thrust into a situation where they must choose to pick up the pieces or give in to despair and degeneration.

Example

Andre Gide's 'The Immoralist' and much of Chekhov.

Discussion

This type of story appeals to the depressive in us, where we will associate with a person who gives in to life's pressures.

It also may make us grateful for what we have got as we perhaps secretly snigger at the misfortune of others in what the Germans call schadenfreude.

The Degeneration Plot is one of Friedman's story plots.

See also

Friedman, N. (1955). Forms of the Plot. Journal of General Education. 8: 241-253

 

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