"… and they lived happily ever after". Some would go a little teary-eyed while some like me, will ache to find out if things would really pan out as promised in the climax or if there’s scope for something more to ensue. We discuss the falling action of a story that follows the end of a story, along with examples.
Falling action is a rewarding element of a story that resolves the loose ends of the plot and leads the story toward closure.
It is kind of frustrating if all that was put after emotional wounds, desperado-inspired daring feats, convoluted plots, and suspense that kept you antsy throughout the story-was a peck on a cheek or just foisting of a cold-blooded terrorist activity. We want to know if the hero who brooked up with all possible kinds of hardships known to male-kind to win the heart of his woman were met with more additional benefits other than just the aforementioned. Or if the master mind of that terror plan was put on trial or executed, for that matter.
It’s like no matter how stodgy meal you have, you still look expectantly at your host for that special dessert, and ‘falling action’ is that special dessert. A dessert is for you to experience the ultimate completion of a meal; likewise falling action is for the ‘closure’ of the plot. Let us cut to the chase – falling action is what happens after the climax of the story. It is this very part of the story that helps to bind loose ends and opens the way for the resolution or what is popularly known as denouement.
Simplified Example of Falling Action
Let’s just say we have a story about an overgrown adult who is slogging her guts out to prepare a dish for someone (exposition) and she is someone who has never entered the bounds of kitchen with an intention to cook let alone to cook for someone, this is the conflict. The central idea is followed by her efforts in making the dish, the limitations she faces as a novice cook, culinary hurdles, etc, which is known as rising action. This is succeeded by climax – which we are all familiar with – a deciding moment of the story, with drama, action, emotions, conflict at their peak (you can expect this woman to pull a handful of her hair, burn the appliances, find herself in the middle of an epicurean epiphany, etc.).
Though the climax pretty much reveals the fruition of your culinary journey, it doesn’t reveal if after all that endeavor our character put in (she overcame the difficulties and cooked up the dish, but then what?);if her dish panned out appetizing or the guest enjoyed it or after having a mouthful of it, he choked and died, (this is your falling action). We don’t want the last to be falling action, for sure. The denouement of the story could be the character telling her daughter how some years ago she had undergone a petrifying culinary experience.
Falling Action of The Cask of Amontillado
We all know the basic premise of the story which is about this vindictive man called Montresor who wants to settle his score with a certain gentleman called Fortunato, by machinating his death plot.
Montresor, in keeping with his evil plan invites Fortunato to his wine vault for tasting a rare Amontillado wine. Montresor plans to keep Fortunato intoxicated and makes sure his glass doesn’t remain empty. As Fortunato begins to cough, Montresor asks him if they should go back, but inebriated Fortunato insists on continuing with their wine-tasting jaunt. The story reaches its climax when Montresor shackles unsuspecting Fortunato and buries him alive in the niche and shuts it with bricks.
What follows after climax is falling action where Fortunato after regaining consciousness from excessive drinking, tries to free himself from the chains and bawls for help. Montresor throws a burning torch before sealing the wall with the last brick to check if Fortunato is still alive.
Falling Action of The Fault in Our Stars
This is one of those aw!-inducing stories of star-crossed lovers with an outpouring of emotion and drama. So the story essentially pivots around two teenage cancer patients – 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster and 17-year-old Augustus Waters. The rising action of the story takes form when the two instantly take liking to each other during a support group meeting and start bonding over books. Augustus is left frustrated after he reads Hazel’s favorite novel and finds out that it ends unexpectedly. So he gets in touch with the author and arranges for a trip to Amsterdam for Hazel to get answers from the author himself.
The climax is their trip to Amsterdam where both of them profess their feelings for each other and love blossoms. However, the whirling romance comes to a screeching halt after Augustus reveals that his cancer has reared its ugly head and he has very little time to live.
The falling action proceeds with both of them returning to Indianapolis. Augustus health exacerbates and Hazel chooses to remain by his side to take care of him. However, deep down she knows that he has less time to live and Augustus thinks how he thought that he’ll have to write an eulogy for Hazel but how the situation has reversed.
Falling Action of To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee essentially revolves around Scout Finch and her family. Finch orients us with her family, her friends, a certain ‘Boo’ Radley, whose true nature, despite the supposed enigma that he veils himself with, turns out to be quite the contrary. In short, the exposition introduces us with the characters and basic premise of the story.
The rising action of the story focuses on Tom Robinson – a rape accused that is defended by Atticus Finch, Scout’s father. This part touches on the vitriol that Tom Robinson invites, because of the accusation and focuses on Scout’s and Jem’s (Scout’s brother) turmoil they undergo during the trial. The climax of the story ends with Tom Robinson’s conviction. This is followed (falling action) by Tom Robinson’s death while trying to escape from prison. While Scout and Jem are still coping with the recent turn of events, they are assaulted by Bob Ewell (the rape victim’s father) one night on their way home. Boo Radley, the mysterious figure comes to their rescue and fatally stabs Bob Ewell.
Falling Action of The Necklace
The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant is about a young woman named Mathilde Loisel whose straitened lifestyle after her marriage to a little clerk of the Ministry of Public Instruction makes her feel humiliated and unhappy.
The rising action of the story is the part where the couple is invited to a fancy ball and Mathilde buys a new dress from the money her husband had been saving to buy himself a gun to shoot larks. To look her part in the refined ball, she borrows a necklace from her friend, Madame Forestier. Mathilde, as she always dreamed was finally the cynosure of people’s eyes at the ball. The climax of the story is when Mathilde while seeing herself in the glory that the necklace brought her realizes that she is without it. The falling action of the story tells us how Mathilde and her husband are forced to live in greater poverty in order to pay for the debt of the identical necklace whose worth is 34,000 francs.
We hope this article will help you in creating your own story with all the necessary literary elements.