In higher plants (e.g., Arabidopsis thaliana), the core structure of the circadian clock is mostly governed by a repression process with very few direct activators. With a series of simplified models, we studied the underlying mechanism and found that the Arabidopsis clock consists of type-2 incoherent feed-forward loops (IFFLs), one of them creating a pulse-like expression in PRR9/7. The double-negative feedback loop between CCA1/LHY and PRR5/TOC1 generates a bistable, hysteretic behavior in the Arabidopsis circadian clock. We found that the IFFL involving PRR9/7 breaks the bistability and moves the system forward with a rapid pulse in the daytime, and the evening complex (EC) breaks it in the evening. With this illustration, we can intuitively explain the behavior of the clock under mutant conditions. Thus, our results provide new insights into the underlying network structures of the Arabidopsis core oscillator.