By plot, we understand the sequence of events that help a story unfold. Traditional plots are composed of the following elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Generally, a short story should depict a single event involving a few characters. Still, keep in mind that not all short stories follow the traditional plot pattern.

In “Dad, Can I Come Home?” by Malorie Blackman, several traditional elements of the plot are missing. In short, the story is about a captain of a spaceship who is severely wounded in a war. She lies to her father to see his reaction to having to live with a cripple. When her father refuses to let a presumably crippled co-pilot of his daughter to live with them, the daughter commits suicide.

Here is how the elements of the plot unfold in “Dad, Can I Come Home?”:


In the exposition, readers get to know the main characters in the short story, Eve and her father. Eve was apparently involved in a war on another planet and announces her father that the war is over, and she can finally return home: “The war’s over. The treaty was ratified three days ago. I should be home within the week, if the shuttle bus doesn’t give up unde...

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