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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Plot Structure

Identify the stages in the plot structure and language features of the following narrative story which is excerpted from The Keeper’s Scourge.

I pulled my collar up and my hat down, securing my sunglasses. The only reason I took the trip outside was because the mutt would pee at my doorstep without fail if I didn’t. He was scared to go outside on his own, the little brute. Not as scared as I was, though. The ride down the elevator with some lady. Pain. The doorman asking me how I’m doing. Agony. Smiles from strangers on the street. Unbearable. I made sure to mutter things back to them, just loud enough to enter their subconscious once I’d walked away, to mess with them. Things like, ‘Better than you,’ or ‘Contemplating world domination,’ or ‘Shove off.’ Sowing little seeds of discontent as I walked, fostering buds of aggravation. It gave me a chuckle to see the frown as they scratched their heads.

“Would you stop it?”

The mutt nearly knocked me down every couple yards, stopping short in front of me to look up and make sure I was still following him. Checking me out with his big, goofy, lopsided eyes. What an ugly dog. But then again so am I.

I breathed in the frigid air and smelled smoke. Everyone had a chimney on the block, pumping away to keep their dumb, ugly families from whining about the temperature. We rounded the corner to Putnam Park and that mangy, stupid, useless spaz of a creature bolted. The smoke was coming from a burning building, and that psychotic pug thought it would be a good idea to run toward the fire. Smart guy.

I continued at the same pace, chuckling as I watched him run in a circle, barking his little dumb head off. He didn’t just stop there, though. Oh, no. He wasn’t going to stop until he ruined my day completely. He was the reason I was out here in this disgusting city in the first place. Then I saw that little turd wedge himself through a gap in the door. I broke into a run. Well, the casual observer probably wouldn’t have called it a run. I heaved myself forward in a pathetic jog for half a block and wheezed to a stop at the building. If this is what dying feels like, sign me up for immortality. That stupid dog.

“Would you come out?” I shouted.

“We’re trapped! The door’s stuck!”

I jumped back, startled. It was a woman’s voice. It hadn’t even occurred to me people might be inside.

“Er,’s dog’s in there. Well he’s not my dog, per se; he just sort of follows me around and I—”

“Help us out of here, please!” a small child interrupted.

I don’t like things being out of order. If I’ve come to collect my dog, that is precisely what’s going to happen. First, I will collect the dog; after that is resolved, all other things will follow in their respective orders.

I ignored the rude child and began yanking on the door. It was wedged shut for whatever reason and not budging. I pulled as hard as my flabby arms could manage, inching the door out a little bit each time. Quite suddenly, the entire thing flew off, cracking vertically right at the hinges. I fell backward, hard, with the door on top of me. My back cracked and felt glorious. All kinds of very tiny humans (and their teachers) ran out through the doorway.

One of the teachers wrapped her arms around me and started in with a stream of gracious platitudes before I cut her off with a shushing motion and brushed past her into the building. After a few seconds of scanning through the thick smoke, I found the pain-in-the-bum tugging on the pants of a scared little boy. I bent down and tried to pull the pug off the child, but he wouldn’t budge, so, I did what any sane person would do: I dragged the dog out, and the dog, in turn, dragged the child out.

I wrestled the dog free from the terrified kid’s pants and picked him up. That lousy little pipsqueak took that moment as an opportunity to finally relieve himself. Right. That’s why we went on this walk in the first place.

Just then the police arrived with the fire department and news crews. They were talking to the little kiddies, taking their pictures with panicked parents who showed up soon after.

“You’re a little late fellas,” I mumbled, as a made a beeline to my home.

“He broke the door down!” the teacher shouted in her high-pitched, painfully grating voice.

They pounced. Cameras and microphones were stuck in my face. All I could see were flashing lights. Too many questions, no order, complete chaos, and dirty,

dirty scribbling hands far too close to my face. They delighted in the dumb pug wriggling in my arms, panting his little face off with a big dog smile, revelling in the attention. He seemed to be looking back and forth across the crowd, like he was waiting for someone to ask him who’s a good boy and whether or not he’s a good boy. It certainly wouldn’t be me, pal. Good boys don’t pee on Daddy’s jacket.

Flip over the next page and use the plot diagram structure which is for you to chart the various progressions made in the story. Also, identify the language features in the excerpt and provide specific examples, which are typical of a narrative style of writing.
Language Features

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