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The Testing Plot

 

Disciplines > Storytelling > Plots > The Testing Plot

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

In the testing plot, the main character, although initially strong and noble, is pushed towards compromising high ideals. This may be by foul means, but can also be due to other circumstances such as poverty or difficult choices. The character wavers on the edge of decision, as there is no easy choice.

Compromising the ideals seems easy but would the 'wrong thing' to do. Going the other way, sticking to the ideal, means the character loses out significantly in some other way, such as losing money or social position.

Example

'For Whom the Bell Tolls' and Chekov's 'Uncle Vanya'

Discussion

Many of us face difficult choices where sustaining a position of integrity would cost us in some undesirable way. And to be truthful, a good number of us take the more shameful route, whilst telling ourselves that there is 'no other choice'.

We thus sympathize with the protagonist and perhaps learn something about making the right decision, even when it disadvantages us in some way.

The Testing 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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