Plot involves more than a simple sequence of events as it suggests a pattern of relationships involving causes and effects. In your literature exam, if asked to discuss plot, avoid merely retelling the story. Comment on the way the parts are fitted together. Listen to this podcast to help you understand how.
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My Children! My Africa! The plot
Welcome to Pearson South Africa’s podcast series on the Grade 12 X-kit Achieve My Children! My Africa! Study Guide. Today we’ll look at plot.
Plot refers to stories that have a beginning, middle and end, linked by cause and effect. If the story-teller says ‘A king died and a queen died’ there is no plot - but if she says ‘The king died and the queen died of grief, we have a story with a plot. There is a “why” for the events that occur.
Plots are usually driven by a character who desperately wants something that’s not easy to get. This is true of My Children! My Africa! Mr M wants an alternative to the Apartheid government’s policy of racial segregation: therefore he organises an inter-schools debate between Zolile and Camdeboo High schools to prove that integration can work.
His actions set off a chain of linked events. The debate leads to Isabel and Thami’s friendship. It opens Isabel’s eyes to how privileged her life has been. It leads to Mr M planning an inter-schools’ quiz team and choosing his star student, Thami, as well as Isabel for the team. But this leads to complications, conflict and rising tension, especially when Thami’s involvement with the Comrades causes him to resign from the quiz team.
Rising tension and suspense build up as Thami’s political views clash with his teacher’s. Thami is torn between wanting to protect Mr M and loyalty to the Comrades. Because Mr M refuses to accept the boycotts he gives the police the names of the boycott’s leaders. The tragic climax or high point of the plot is reached when violent riots take place in Brakwater and Mr M is accused of being an informer or impimpi and killed.
So one thing in the plot leads to another – and finally to the ending or resolution. A final meeting between Thami and Isabel sees everything made clear. They discuss their plans and their true feelings for each other and towards Mr M.
Thami goes into exile to join the Struggle. Isabel says farewell to the spirit of Mr M at the mountain pass where he was first inspired to be a teacher. She commits herself to serving others and helping to save South Africa.
That’s all we have time for now. But please note, there is more about the importance of plot structure on pages 23 to 25 in your X-kit Achieve Study Guide. Thanks for listening and good luck for your studies.