Bookers Seven Basic Plots Part I The Seven

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Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Part I: The Seven Gateways to the Underworld

Booker’s Seven Basic Plots Part I: The Seven Gateways to the Underworld

Christopher Booker states in his book The Seven Basic Plots storytelling is woven around

Christopher Booker states in his book The Seven Basic Plots storytelling is woven around rudimentary plots and archetypes. He later goes on to argue that these plots are inescapable and as well as entertain, help to define the human condition. Brooker, C, 2004 The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

The plots are: Overcoming the Monster Rags to Riches The Quest Voyage and Return

The plots are: Overcoming the Monster Rags to Riches The Quest Voyage and Return Comedy Tragedy Rebirth

Overcoming the Monster “Legends of the slaughter of a destructive monster are to be

Overcoming the Monster “Legends of the slaughter of a destructive monster are to be found all over the world. The thought underlying them all is that the monster slain is preternatural and hostile to mankind” E. S. Hartland, The Legend of Perseus (1896)

Overcoming the Monster Essence of the plot: A village is taken over by an

Overcoming the Monster Essence of the plot: A village is taken over by an evil force or power. The monster threatens to destroy cities, worlds or individuals, often has in its possession a precious object, treasure or prize The hero will confront the monster The Hero will closely escape death, slays the monster, and take for himself the precious object and the respect of the village.

Rags to Riches “Rags to Riches is essentially what the American Dream can be

Rags to Riches “Rags to Riches is essentially what the American Dream can be condensed to. A child grows up with oppressive living conditions or authority figures, usually in poverty, and overcomes them to end the story with wealth, status, a companion, and usually a kingdom of some kind. Key to the story is a point where the protagonist seems to have achieved success, but it’s too early, and he or she isn’t ready for it, and everything comes crashing down around them. ” Bureman, L, The Write Practice website 2013

Rags to Riches Legend of King Arthur Pygmalion/My Fair Lady The Ugly Duckling Aladdin

Rags to Riches Legend of King Arthur Pygmalion/My Fair Lady The Ugly Duckling Aladdin

Rags to Riches The plot is rooted in folk tales from around the world

Rags to Riches The plot is rooted in folk tales from around the world and is regarded as one of the most basic stories in the world.

Rags to Riches: the central crisis Early on the story, the inferior hero experiences

Rags to Riches: the central crisis Early on the story, the inferior hero experiences some success and is elevated from his original lowly status. However, these changes in fortune are superficial, and soon the hero encounters a CENTRAL CRISIS in which all seems lost. (Eg. When Annie's 'real' parents show up and reveal themselves to be crooks. )

Rags to Riches: plot outline Initial wretchedness at home & “the call”: we are

Rags to Riches: plot outline Initial wretchedness at home & “the call”: we are introduced to the hero in his or her lowly and unhappy state. This phase ends when something happens to call them out into a wider world. Out into the world, initial success: early efforts are rewarded, and the hero may have some glimpse of the greater glory s/he may someday achieve.

Rags to Riches: plot outline The central crisis: reduced to a new powerlessness, this

Rags to Riches: plot outline The central crisis: reduced to a new powerlessness, this is the worst part of the story for the hero or heroine. Independence and the final ordeal: the hero is discovering in himself a new independent strength. The hero is put to a final test, in which a dark rival may stand between the hero and ultimate fulfillment.

Rags to Riches: plot outline Final union, completion and fulfilment: the reward is usually

Rags to Riches: plot outline Final union, completion and fulfilment: the reward is usually a state of complete, loving union with the “Prince” or “Princess”. They may also succeed to some kind of kingdom. The implied ending is that “they lived happily ever after”.

The Quest Homer’s Odyssey The Lord of the Rings Indiana Jones movies

The Quest Homer’s Odyssey The Lord of the Rings Indiana Jones movies

Essence of the plot Far away, there is a priceless goal, worth any effort

Essence of the plot Far away, there is a priceless goal, worth any effort to achieve: a treasure, a promised land, 30 sliders from White Castle, something of infinite value. The hero sets out on a hazardous journey to attain the goal and overcomes any number of perilous hindrances in order to achieve the objective.

The Quest: the call The quest usually begins on a note of urgency: it

The Quest: the call The quest usually begins on a note of urgency: it is no longer possible for the hero to stay “at home” or stationary. Something has gone disastrously wrong, or a faraway threat looms.

The Quest: final ordeals The journey in a Quest only makes up half of

The Quest: final ordeals The journey in a Quest only makes up half of the story; when the goal is finally within sight, the hero must face a final ordeal or series of ordeals. It is this final struggle which is necessary for the hero to lay hold of his prize and secure it.

The Quest: plot outline The Call: The Journey: Arrival and frustration: . The final

The Quest: plot outline The Call: The Journey: Arrival and frustration: . The final ordeal: The goal:

Voyage and Return Goldilocks and the Three Bears Alice in Wonderland The Time Machine

Voyage and Return Goldilocks and the Three Bears Alice in Wonderland The Time Machine Robinson Crusoe Gone with the Wind

Voyage and Return: essence of the plot The hero or heroine travels out of

Voyage and Return: essence of the plot The hero or heroine travels out of their familiar, everyday “normal” surroundings into another world completely cut off from the first, where everything seems abnormal. The early experience might feel exhilarating, but eventually a shadow intrudes. By a “thrilling escape” the hero is returned to his normal world.

Comedy Twelfth Night Anchorman The Interview

Comedy Twelfth Night Anchorman The Interview

“The essence of comedy is that some redeeming truth has to be brought out

“The essence of comedy is that some redeeming truth has to be brought out of the shadows and into the light. ” Booker, C, 2004 - p 123

Comedy: above/below the line Above the line: characters representing the established order, an upper

Comedy: above/below the line Above the line: characters representing the established order, an upper social level and hierarchy; authority of men over women, adults over children Below the line: servants, people of inferior class, wives, the rising generation The chief source of darkness in the story is on the upper level; the road to liberation lies on the lower level The road to resolution lies below the line!

…so where do the laughs come from? Almost uniformly, the aspect of comedy that

…so where do the laughs come from? Almost uniformly, the aspect of comedy that elicits laughter from the audience is a character’s egocentricity, his tunnel-vision, his inability to see the world as it is.

Tragedy Since you should already be familiar with many of the basic tenets of

Tragedy Since you should already be familiar with many of the basic tenets of tragedy, this section will focus mainly on the genre’s relationship to comedy and archetypal variations.

Tragedy (1): Five Stages 1. Anticipation Stage: hero is in some way incomplete or

Tragedy (1): Five Stages 1. Anticipation Stage: hero is in some way incomplete or unfulfilled. Some object of desire or course of action presents itself to the hero. When the hero succumbs to this desire or thought, he has found his “focus”: Macbeth decides to assassinate King Duncan, Icarus yields to his desire to fly close to the sun; Dr. Jekyll drinks his potion.

Tragedy (1): Five Stages 2. Dream Stage: hero commits to his focus, and for

Tragedy (1): Five Stages 2. Dream Stage: hero commits to his focus, and for awhile everything is peachy. He feels gratified and seems to be getting away with his crime or error. 3. Frustration Stage: Things begin to go wrong. Hero feels restless and insecure, commits further dark acts to secure or retain his position and feelings from the Dream Stage.

Tragedy (1): Five Stages 4. Nightmare Stage: Things are now slipping completely out of

Tragedy (1): Five Stages 4. Nightmare Stage: Things are now slipping completely out of the hero’s control. Forces of opposition and fate are closing in on him; hero falls into rage or despair. 5. Destruction or Death Wish: either by the forces he has aroused against him, or by some final act of violence which precipitates his own death, the hero is destroyed.

Rebirth: synopsis A hero or heroine falls under a dark spell which eventually traps

Rebirth: synopsis A hero or heroine falls under a dark spell which eventually traps them in some wintry state, akin to living death: physical or spiritual imprisonment, sleep, sickness or some other form of enchantment. For a long time they languish in this frozen condition Then a miraculous act of redemption takes place, focused on a particular figure who helps liberate the hero or heroine from imprisonment.

Rebirth: Plot points 1. Hero falls under the shadow of a dark power. 2.

Rebirth: Plot points 1. Hero falls under the shadow of a dark power. 2. Poison takes some time to work up to its full effect. 3. Total isolation: the darkness emerges in full force 4. Nightmare stage: odds seem stacked against a rescue of the hero 5. Reversal/ awakening: imprisoned figure is freed by the power of love