Jack and the Beanstalk Beat Sheet: A Plot Guide for Writers

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

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Act 1: Setup

Beat 1 – Exposition

We meet the main characters, Jack and his mother, a widow 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 and returns home. When his mother hears the deal he made, 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 returns 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, he steals a magical singing harp, but as he leaves, 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 down the beanstalk. 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

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