Study Guide

My Heartbeat Plot Analysis

By Garret Freymann-Weyr

Plot Analysis

Exposition

The Three Amigos

For as long as she can remember, Ellen, James, and Link have been an inseparable trio. Link and James debate the qualities of foreign films and classic movies, and Ellen just loves watching them do their thing. It won't be a problem that she has a massive crush on James, right?

Rising Action

Love Triangles Are Tough

To satisfy her overwhelming curiosity, Ellen asks Link and James if they are a couple, which leads to a nasty break-up and the end of their trio. Ellen and James start dating, so good for them, but Link's path continues to be one of open hostility and self-doubt. Meanwhile, Ellen embarks on a quest to understand what it means to be gay, but isn't finding much help from anyone. What's a girl to do?

Climax

I'll Show You, Exams

Link turns in all of his final exams blank. Now his parents are forced to recognize that he's going through something, and they need to pay attention. Even though everything seems to be falling apart, Ellen's family is finally addressing some of the issues that have been left simmering under the surface for far too long.

Falling Action

Yale Fixes Everything

Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, Link announces that he's gotten into Yale, which has been his father's fantasy for as long as anyone can remember. Somehow, this diffuses all of the awful tension that's been lingering in the McConnell house, and everything seems like it's going to start coming up roses.

Resolution

A Walk in the Park

The last image we have of Ellen is as a girl in an ugly school uniform confidently walking through Central Park, having just lost her virginity to James and feeling truly happy about the young woman she is becoming. All of her problems haven't been resolved, but it feels like everything's going to be okay for Ellen, Link, and James. We can all close the book, release a long sigh, and move on with our lives.