What is Falling Action: Definition and Examples

The Falling Action is a crucial component of a literary plot structure and refers to the events that occur after the climax of a story but before the resolution or conclusion. It serves to wrap up loose ends, resolve conflicts, and lead the narrative toward its final resolution. During the Falling Action, the tension gradually subsides, and the story starts to reach its conclusion. The length and complexity of the Falling Action can vary depending on the narrative. In some stories, the Falling Action may be relatively short and straightforward, while in others, it can span several chapters or even a significant portion of the story. Here the main purpose is to provide a satisfying and logical progression from the climax to the story’s resolution, ensuring that the reader feels a sense of closure and completion.


Here are a few examples of falling action which show how it can vary in tone, intensity, and duration, depending on the themes and narrative structure of each story. It serves to wrap up loose ends, provide resolution, and allow readers to reflect on the consequences and lessons learned throughout the plot.

  1. “Romeo and Juliet” by William Shakespeare: After the tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet, their families discover the truth behind the lovers’ suicides. The feuding families are filled with remorse and guilt as they realize the consequences of their bitter rivalry. They reconcile and vow to end the feud, bringing about a sense of resolution and closure to the story.
  2. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee: Following the intense courtroom trial where Atticus Finch defends Tom Robinson, the African American man wrongly accused of a crime, the verdict is announced. Despite Atticus’ compelling defense, Tom is found guilty due to the deeply ingrained racial prejudices of the town. The aftermath of the trial reveals the impact it has on the characters and the community, highlighting the systemic injustices that persist.
  3. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald: After Gatsby’s tragic death, Nick Carraway, the narrator, reflects on the events that led to Gatsby’s downfall. He confronts the empty and materialistic nature of the wealthy elite, including his own disillusionment. Nick wraps up loose ends, settles Gatsby’s affairs, and comes to terms with the hollowness of the American Dream, bringing the story to a somber conclusion.
  4. “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding: Following the chaotic and violent events on the deserted island, the naval officer arrives, rescuing the surviving boys. The boys, who had regressed into savagery, confront the reality of their actions and the loss of innocence. The Falling Action shows their return to civilization, highlighting the stark contrast between their time on the island and the adult world.

Also read; What is Metaphor: Definition, Meaning, Characteristics and Examples