This is a fabulous video of Kurt Vonnegutt talking about the shapes of stories. Notice the different types of graphs he produces? This is a fairly mathematical procedure, and I love both the idea of embedding everyday variables on the axis, and of representing the rise and fall of the fortunes of the protagonist in the graph. I remember my 11th grade English teacher sharing with us the common graphs of Shakespeare’s trajedy and comedies in an effort to help us understand the two distinct genres.
Wouldn’t this be an interesting activity to do with your students?