Word of the Month – July 2021

This month’s word is one every lover of stories – whether in book, movie, or play form – might like to know. It is a word borrowed from French, derived from Latin, and literally means “untie the knot” – referring to the narrative entanglements an author has woven through the stages of plot development. (source)

Denouement is the part of a narrative in which the various strands of the plot come together, usually taking place just after the climax and before the conclusion. In mystery novels, however, the climax and denouement might occur simultaneously. In most of the other forms of literature, it is merely the end of the story.

Although it may seem like a denouement is the same as a resolution, the two literary terms are actually different. A resolution is the part of the story where a character solves a main problem or resolves a conflict, often part of the climax. The denouement is what happens at the very end of the story when any remaining secrets, questions, or loose threads get linked together and wrapped up.