How to Analyze Plot: Steps and Examples Video

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  • 0:02 Analyzing a Plot
  • 1:19 Comprehend
  • 1:53 Interpret
  • 4:23 Draw Conclusions
  • 4:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Pablo Serna

Pablo has taught college Spanish at the University of Missouri and Central Methodist University, and has a master's degree in Spanish literature.

In this lesson, we will discuss how to analyze a plot in three basic steps. We will take these three steps and break them down to understand how to analyze a plot by analyzing a fable.

Analyzing a Plot

When analyzing plots in literature, we want to approach it with three basic steps. Skipping any step or changing the order will remove your ability to properly analyze the text. The three steps are:

1. Comprehend- gain a basic understanding after reading the story over

2. Interpret- dig deeper into the details of the story

3. Draw Conclusions- taking what you learned from steps 1 and 2 and drawing analytical conclusions

Let's read Aesop's fable about the wolf in sheep's clothing and then analyze the plot.

There once was a hungry wolf wanting to eat sheep. One particular shepherd and his dogs watched over the sheep so well the wolf couldn't steal any. One day, the wolf found the skin of a sheep and put it on. He went in among the sheep, deceiving the shepherd and dogs. The lamb that belonged to the sheep, whose skin the wolf was wearing, began to follow the wolf. The wolf led the little lamb apart from the flock and ate her. He continued for some time deceiving everyone and enjoying being well-fed.


Now let's comprehend the fable by understanding the protagonist and the basic plot. This step is very general and basic.

Protagonist: Who is the protagonist? What is the protagonist's purpose?

The protagonist is the wolf. The wolf wants to eat sheep without being discovered.

Comprehend the Plot: What is the basic plot line?

The hungry wolf deceives everyone by dressing like a sheep.


In the interpretation step, we examine obstacles, the climax, and the resolution of the plot. This is taking the comprehend step deeper and digging into the analysis of different parts of the story. Creating a timeline gives us a good visual of the plot.


Obstacles: What obstacles stand in the way of the protagonist's purpose? Who is the antagonist? What character flaws does the protagonist have?

The protagonist is the wolf because he is the leading character. He is an antihero because he does not stand for good morals. His obstacle is that the shepherd and the dogs are watching after the sheep. The antagonists would be the shepherd and the dogs because they oppose the protagonist. His flaw is that he looks like a wolf.

Climax: What moment in the story is the most intense?

The most intense moment is when the wolf deceives the first lamb.

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