What is Falling Action in Literature? Definition, Examples of Falling Action

Falling action definition: The falling action is the point following the climax in the plot of a story.

What is Falling Action in Literature?

Falling action meaning: The falling action is the point of the plot following the climax in the story. It brings the story to its conclusion.

Example of Falling Action

In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the falling action occurs after Romeo has killed Tybalt and been banished from Verona. The falling action continues until the final act of the play in which the tragedy is resolved through the catastrophe of the young lovers’ suicides.

What is the Difference Between Falling Action and Rising Action?

The rising action of a story is the point of the plot that leads to the climax whereas the falling action is what follows the climax.

Falling Action vs. Falling Action in a Story:

To continue with the example from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the rising action is the part of the play that occurs before the climax. This would include the point in which the two lovers, Romeo and Juliet, meet, fall in love and get married.

These events all lead to Romeo killing Tybalt in the climax, which then sets off the beginning of the falling action.

The Function of Falling Action

The purpose of the falling action is to lead the reader into the resolution. It allows for a less abrupt ending and for loose ends to be resolved.

By not immediately resolved the story, it allows for some suspense to build for the reader who is anxiously awaiting the ending of the plot.

Falling Action Examples in Literature

In the short story The Scarlet Ibis by James Hurst, the falling action occurs after the climax. In the climax, the narrator chooses to leaves his younger, disabled brother, Doodle, behind in a dangerous storm.

The falling action follows this point, and the older brother runs back to check on Doodle due to a guilty conscious. However, he realizes in the conclusion that his brother died due to his lack of being able to physically keep up with his brother.

In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the falling action consists of the Guy Montag’s journey out of his city after he murders his former captain, Beatty.

This journey leads to the resolution in which he witnesses his city burning and has hopes to rebuild it to reintroduce the importance of knowledge found in books.

Summary: What Does Falling Action Mean?

Define falling action in literature: In summation, the falling action is the portion of the plot that follows the climax and leads to the resolution in a story.

Final Example:

The falling action in John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, is the point of the story in which the protagonist, Bruno, helps his young friend, Shmuel, find his father.

This portion of the story immediately follows the climax, which is when Bruno puts on the prisoner uniform and climbs under the fence of the concentration camp.