Study Guide

Out of Africa Plot Analysis

By Isak Dinesen

Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

Mama Africa

The narrator, Baroness Blixen, has a coffee farm in the highlands of East Africa, which she describes in great detail. We know it's the exposition because she does a lot of exposing— describing the place from top to bottom, back to front, and side to side.

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

The whole second part of the book deals with a shooting accident on the farm and how its dealt with by both the native and colonial justice systems. It presents a little bit of the danger and conflict that arises when you mix European colonists (represented by their technology and weapons) with the natives (represented by children whose lives are taken or ruined).

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

I Miss the Rains…

The coffee quits growing and the Baroness runs out of ways to keep the farm, and has to sell it. This is the turning point because the whole book up to here is about her life in Africa, and she's about to have to leave Africa.

Falling Action

Death for Two

Not only does Chief Kinanjui die, but the Baroness' great friend Denys goes down in an awful plane crash. Not only is she losing her farm, but she's also losing her connections to Africa through her friends.

Resolution (Denouement)

Saying Goodbye

The book ends as the narrator takes one last look at her farm, from a distance. She's left it all behind and there are no more loose ends to tie up at the farm. Aww. This is getting us all nostalgic too.