Jack and the Beanstalk Beat Sheet (Plot Guide)

Did you know the basic plot of the Jack and the Beanstalk story, first published in 1734, may be over 5,000 years old? You can read the English fairy tale for free here. In this beat sheet, we’ll diagram the story’s plot using the Freytag’s Pyramid narrative structure.

Table of Contents

Act 1: Setup

Beat 1 – Exposition:

We meet the main characters, Jack and his mother, a widow, who are living in poverty.

Beat 2 – Inciting Incident:

After his mother asks him to sell their only cow and source of income, Jack goes to the market and is approached by a mysterious old man who offers him five magic beans.

Act 2: Confrontation

Beat 3 – Rising Action:

Jack accepts the offer. When his mother hears, she is very angry and throws the beans out the window. But the next morning, Jack wakes up to see the bean has grown overnight into a giant beanstalk! He decides to climb up and discovers a kingdom in the sky. 

Jack enters a giant’s house, and persuades his wife to provide food; when the giant arrives home, she helps Jack stay hidden. But at night, while the giant is sleeping, Jack steals gold coins and goes back home, to his mother’s delight. The next day, Jack goes back, and again the giant’s wife helps him. This time, he brings home a golden hen.

Beat 4 – Climax:

A few days later, Jack goes back up the beanstalk for the third time. This time, Jack steals a magical singing harp, but as he’s leaving the harp shouts and alerts the giant. As Jack tries to escape, the giant chases him down the beanstalk.

Beat 5 – Falling Action:

Jack gets to the bottom first, runs into his house for an ax, and starts cutting the beanstalk down. The giant falls down the beanstalk and dies.

Act 3: Resolution

Beat 6 – Resolution:

Jack and his mother rejoice in their new wealth.

Beat 7 – Denouement:

They live happily ever after.

Jack and the Beanstalk Story Beat Sheet (Plot Guide) - Plottr

Table of Contents

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