The Seven Main Plots in All of Literature = ???
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: mikeginnyc-ga
List Price: $15.00
29 May 2003 20:28 PDT
Expires: 28 Jun 2003 20:28 PDT
Question ID: 210539
It' s been said many times that there are only "seven main plots" in all of literature. What ARE those seven plots??? Can I get a list of the seven basic situations or storylines?
Re: The Seven Main Plots in All of Literature = ???
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 29 May 2003 21:00 PDT
Hello there 1 basic plot - 3 basic plots - 7 basic plots - 20 basic plots - 36 basic plots All of these seem to have have good reasonings going for them. I guess it just depends on how detailed you want to make a basic plot. According to Jessamyn West, an IPL volunteer librarian, the seven basic plots are: 1 - [wo]man vs. nature 2 - [wo]man vs. man 3 - [wo]man vs. the environment 4 - [wo]man vs. machines/technology 5 - [wo]man vs. the supernatural 6 - [wo]man vs. self 7 - [wo]man vs. god/religion You can find that list along with the others here: http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html - The Internet Public Library Additional information about the above list: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/001124.html - The Straight Dope: What are the seven basic literary plots? There are also claims made that there are seven basic needs to a story line. So I thought I would add them. This is called trying to fill up the page since the direct answer to your question is so short that my fellow researchers will climb all over me for not giving anough answer for the money. I also double spaced the list to try and stretch things a bit. It is amazing what peer pressure can do. 1. A hero the person through whose eyes we see the story unfold, set against a larger background. 2. The heros character flaw a weakness or defense mechanism that hinders the hero in such a way as to render him/her incomplete. 3. Enabling circumstances the surroundings the hero is in at the beginning of the story, which allow the hero to maintain his/her character flaw. 4. An opponent someone who opposes the hero in getting or doing what he/she wants. Not always a villain. For example, in a romantic comedy, the opponent could be the man or woman whom the hero seeks romance with. The opponent is the person who instigates the life-changing event. 5. The heros ally the person who spends the most time with the hero and who helps the hero overcome his/her character flaw. 6. The life-changing event a challenge, threat or opportunity usually instigated by the opponent, which forces the hero to respond in some way thats related to the heros flaw. 7. Jeopardy the high stakes that the hero must risk to overcome his/her flaw. These are the dramatic events that lend excitement and challenge to the quest. search - Google terms - seven basic plots, seven basic story lines, 7 basic plots, 7 basic story lines Please note: - I double spaced between search and terms as well. If I may clarify anything, please ask. Cheers digsalot
rated this answer:
The essence of my query was fulfilled ... and it was very QUICKLY and clearly fulfilled, which I appreciated. I appreciated, as well, that digsalot-ga has a sense of humor ... though it began to wear thin for me, the SECOND time "D" referred to double-spacing to make up for not having more material, which - even though merely a joke - casts me in the position of being the childlike, gullible client, so easily fooled by the cheap trick of spacing. (By the way, D, the double-spacing doesn't even come through when Google forwards your answer.) I was headed toward a 3-star rating, when D forwarded a clarification, with enough integrity to credit MostlyPink with the impetus to send it, that made me feel more thoroughly and conscientiously answered. Which raised my rating to 4 stars ... and, let me say again, a reflection of my genuine appreciation for a fast and, indeed, thorough answer. Not "exceptional", to quote the next line of this feedback form, but truly welcome nonetheless. THANKS. mike
Re: The Seven Main Plots in All of Literature = ???
From: livers-ga on 15 Nov 2004 10:08 PST
It may be worth noting that Christopher Booker in his "Seven Basic Plots -- why we tell stories" has a different take -- and it took him 35 years to draw his conclusions, having started in 1969!! The man vs xxxx plots above would all be summarised as "overcoming the monster". He gives us, (fogive me for desperately oversimplifying his magnus opus): 1. Overcoming the monster -- defeating some force which threatens... e.g. most Hollywood movies; Star Wars, James Bond. 2. The Quest -- typically a group setoff in search of something and (usually) find it. e.g. Watership Down, Pilgrim's Progress. 3. Journey and Return -- the hero journeys away from home to somewhere different and finally comes back having experienced something and maybe changed for the better. e.g. Wizard of Oz, Gullivers Travels. 4. Comedy - not neccesarily a funny plot. Some kind of misunderstanding or ignorance is created that keeps parties apart which is resolved towards the end bringing them back together. e.g. Bridget Jones Diary, War and Peace. 5. Tragedy - Someone is tempted in some way, vanity, greed etc and becomes increasingly desperate or trapped by their actions until at a climax they usually die. Unless it's a Hollywood movie, when they escape to a happy ending. e.g. Devils' Advocate, Hamlet. 6. Rebirth - hero is captured or oppressed and seems to be in a state of living death until it seems all is lost when miraculously they are freed. e.g. Snow White. 7. Rags to Riches - self explanatory really. e.g. Cinderella & derivatives (all 27,000 of them)!!! Each of these plots goes through 4 or 5 main phases which are universally recognisable and re-used. Some stories choose to jump in at phase 3 or leave early and often leave us feeling unsatisfied. What is much more interesting is Why are there only seven basic plots; how are they important. For this you need to read his book, but the answer is connected strongly to the psychology of Jung, the Ego and the Self.
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