Team English -
Created by: Team English -, Last Updated: June 28, 2024


A synopsis is a brief summary of the main points or events of a larger work, such as a novel, film, article, or play. It condenses the essential plot, characters, and key themes into a concise overview, providing readers or viewers with a quick understanding of the content without having to engage with the entire piece. Synopses are often used in publishing, academia, and media to offer a snapshot of the material, making it easier for audiences to decide if they want to explore the full work. Common types of synopses include job summary, movie summary, and case summary.

What is a Synopsis?

A synopsis is a brief summary of the main points or events in a larger work, such as a book, movie, or article. It highlights key elements like the plot, characters, and themes, giving readers a quick overview of the content without detailed descriptions. Synopses are used to provide a clear and concise understanding of the work’s essence.

Synopsis Format


Title of the Work: Clearly state the title.


Name of the Author or Creator: Mention the author’s name.


  • Introduction: Briefly introduce the setting, main characters, and the central conflict or theme.
  • Main Plot Points: Outline the key events in a logical order, focusing on the primary narrative arc.
  • Conclusion: Summarize how the story resolves, without delving into excessive detail.

Key Characters

  • Protagonist: Describe the main character and their goals.
  • Antagonist: Highlight the primary opposition or conflict faced by the protagonist.
  • Supporting Characters: Mention other significant characters and their roles.


Main Themes: Identify the central themes or messages of the work.

Tone and Style

  • Tone: Describe the overall tone (e.g., humorous, serious, suspenseful).
  • Style: Briefly mention the writing or artistic style.

Additional Notes

Important Elements: Any other crucial elements that should be noted (e.g., unique narrative techniques, settings).

Example Synopsis

Title: “To Kill a Mockingbird”

Author: Harper Lee


  • Introduction: Set in the 1930s in the Southern United States, the story follows Scout Finch, her brother Jem, and their father, Atticus.
  • Main Plot Points: The plot centers around Atticus defending a black man, Tom Robinson, accused of raping a white woman. The narrative explores themes of racial injustice and moral growth.
  • Conclusion: The story concludes with a reflection on the impact of these events on Scout’s understanding of her community.

Key Characters:

  • Protagonist: Scout Finch – a young girl who grows up and learns about the complexities of morality and justice.
  • Antagonist: Bob Ewell – represents the ingrained racism and hatred in the society.
  • Supporting Characters: Jem Finch, Atticus Finch, Tom Robinson, Boo Radley.


Main Themes: Racial injustice, moral growth, empathy.

Tone and Style:

  • Tone: Reflective and somber, with moments of warmth.
  • Style: First-person narrative with a focus on character development and social commentary.

Examples of a Synopsis

Examples of a Synopsis

1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Scout Finch grows up in the racially tense 1930s Alabama. Her father, Atticus, defends Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman. The trial exposes Scout and her brother, Jem, to the harsh realities of racism, teaching them empathy and justice.

2. “1984” by George Orwell

In a dystopian future, Winston Smith rebels against a totalitarian regime that monitors every aspect of life. His pursuit of truth and love leads to a tragic downfall, illustrating the oppressive power of the state.

3. “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Elizabeth Bennet navigates social class and family pressures in Regency England. Initially dismissing Mr. Darcy as arrogant, she eventually recognizes his true character, leading to mutual respect and love.

4. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Nick Carraway narrates the story of Jay Gatsby, who loves Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby’s lavish lifestyle and tragic pursuit of the American Dream expose the corruption of wealth and ambition in 1920s America.

5. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Teenager Holden Caulfield recounts his experiences after being expelled from prep school. Wandering New York City, he grapples with loss, mental health, and the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

6. “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville

Ishmael joins Captain Ahab on the whaling ship Pequod. Ahab’s obsession with hunting the white whale, Moby Dick, leads to a tragic end, exploring themes of obsession and fate.

7. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë

Orphaned Jane Eyre becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall and falls in love with Mr. Rochester. Their relationship faces challenges from dark secrets, leading Jane to seek independence and self-worth.

8. “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, embarks on an adventure with dwarves to reclaim their treasure from the dragon Smaug. Along the way, Bilbo discovers his bravery and resourcefulness.

9. “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood

In a dystopian future, women are subjugated in the Republic of Gilead. Handmaid Offred narrates her life of forced servitude and her struggle for freedom in a society that oppresses women.

10. “Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley

Victor Frankenstein creates a living being from body parts, only to be horrified by it. The creature, rejected by society, seeks revenge, leading to a tragic tale of ambition and isolation.

Synopsis Examples for Movies

1. The Lion King (1994)

The Lion King follows Simba, a young lion destined to be king, who flees his kingdom after his uncle Scar murders his father, Mufasa, and convinces Simba he is to blame. Years later, with the help of friends Timon and Pumbaa, Simba returns to reclaim his throne and restore peace to the Pride Lands.

2. Inception (2010)

Inception is a sci-fi thriller about Dom Cobb, a thief who steals secrets from dreams. He’s offered a chance to erase his criminal past if he can plant an idea in someone’s mind. Cobb assembles a team to infiltrate the dreams of Robert Fischer, an heir to a business empire, to perform the challenging task of inception.

3. Titanic (1997)

Titanic is a romance and disaster film about Jack and Rose, two young lovers from different social classes who meet aboard the ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. Their romance blooms amidst the ship’s voyage, but tragedy strikes when the Titanic hits an iceberg and begins to sink, leading to a dramatic fight for survival.

4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption follows Andy Dufresne, a banker wrongfully imprisoned for the murder of his wife and her lover. Over two decades, he forms a friendship with fellow inmate Red and becomes instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden. Andy’s quiet resolve ultimately leads to his dramatic escape and eventual freedom.

5. The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix is a sci-fi action film where computer hacker Neo discovers that reality as he knows it is a simulation created by intelligent machines to subdue humanity. With the help of Morpheus and Trinity, Neo learns to manipulate the simulated reality and fights against the machines to free humanity from their control.

Examples of Novel Synopsis

Example 1: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Synopsis: Set in the 1930s in the racially divided Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, “To Kill a Mockingbird” follows young Scout Finch and her brother, Jem, as they navigate childhood innocence and moral growth. Their father, Atticus Finch, a principled lawyer, defends a black man, Tom Robinson, falsely accused of raping a white woman. Through their father’s courage and integrity, Scout and Jem learn about justice, empathy, and the complexities of human nature.

Example 2: “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

Synopsis: “Pride and Prejudice” centers on Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters in an English family seeking advantageous marriages. Elizabeth navigates societal expectations and her own initial prejudices against the enigmatic Mr. Darcy. Through misunderstandings, witty exchanges, and evolving perceptions, Elizabeth discovers Mr. Darcy’s true character, leading to mutual love and respect. Austen’s novel explores themes of social class, marriage, and personal growth.

Example 3: “1984” by George Orwell

Synopsis: In a dystopian future where totalitarian regime, led by Big Brother, exerts complete control over society, Winston Smith lives a bleak existence in Oceania. Constantly monitored, Winston works at the Ministry of Truth, altering historical records to fit the Party’s propaganda. Despite the oppression, he begins a forbidden love affair with Julia and seeks rebellion. However, their resistance leads to inevitable betrayal, revealing the terrifying power of the Party’s psychological manipulation and control.

Example 4: “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Synopsis: “The Great Gatsby” tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious millionaire with a shady past, who is obsessed with rekindling his romance with Daisy Buchanan. Narrated by Nick Carraway, Gatsby’s neighbor, the novel explores themes of ambition, love, and the American Dream in 1920s America. As Gatsby’s lavish parties and relentless pursuit of Daisy unravel, the novel exposes the moral decay and illusion beneath the glittering surface of the Jazz Age.

Example 5: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling

Synopsis: Harry Potter, an orphan living with his cruel aunt and uncle, discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is a wizard. He receives an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At Hogwarts, Harry befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Together, they uncover the mystery of the Sorcerer’s Stone and confront the dark wizard Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents. Through bravery and friendship, Harry thwarts Voldemort’s plans, setting the stage for his future battles against dark forces.

Synonyms of Synopsis

DescriptionBrief account

How to Pronounce Synopsis

The word “synopsis” is pronounced as:

  • si-NOP-sis

Here’s a breakdown of the pronunciation:

  • si: Pronounced like “si” in “sit” (IPA: /sɪ/)
  • NOP: Pronounced like “nop” in “stop” (IPA: /nɒp/ or /nɑːp/ depending on the accent)
  • sis: Pronounced like “sis” in “sister” (IPA: /sɪs/)

Phonetic Transcription

In the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), it is transcribed as:

  • /sɪˈnɒp.sɪs/ (British English)
  • /sɪˈnɑːp.sɪs/ (American English)

Pronunciation Guide

  1. si: Start with a short “si” sound, similar to the beginning of “sit.”
  2. NOP: Follow with the stressed syllable “NOP,” where the “o” is pronounced as in “not” for British English or as in “father” for American English.
  3. sis: End with a short “sis,” the same as the start of the word “sister.”


Why is a synopsis important?

A synopsis provides a quick overview, helping readers or viewers decide if they are interested in the full work.

How long should a synopsis be?

A synopsis typically ranges from one to two pages, depending on the length and complexity of the work being summarized.

What should be included in a synopsis?

Include the main plot points, key characters, and important themes or messages in a concise manner.

How do you start a synopsis?

Begin with a clear and concise introduction that presents the main idea or purpose of the work.

Can a synopsis reveal the ending?

Yes, a synopsis should include the ending to provide a complete overview of the work’s structure and resolution.

What’s the difference between a synopsis and a summary?

A synopsis is a detailed summary that includes all major plot points, while a summary may be shorter and less detailed.

Is a synopsis written in first or third person?

A synopsis is typically written in the third person, providing an objective overview of the work.

Who typically writes a synopsis?

Authors, filmmakers, and content creators often write synopses for their own work, but editors or marketers may also create them.

Do you need to include subplots in a synopsis?

Include only the most important subplots that significantly impact the main storyline.

Should a synopsis be in present or past tense?

A synopsis is usually written in the present tense, even if the work is set in the past.

AI Generator

Text prompt

Add Tone

10 Examples of Public speaking

20 Examples of Gas lighting