Apparently, since the beginning of storytelling and the beginning of humans, there are only seven basic stories authors can write (filmmakers can film) about humans. It’s the way an author tells the story that matters. Think about contemporary films and how they are simply retellings of classic stories. Love The Lion King? Well, it’s Hamlet. Dig O Brother, Where Art Thou? What you’re really digging is The Odyssey. And A Fistful of Dollars? That’s actually a reimagining of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo, which is Red Harvest. There really aren’t any new stories to tell about people; we just haven’t done anything new since very early on. For this essay, you’ll choose a story and present an argument that despite what the story is about, the text actually represents a much older, much more established story arc. After you read several stories, and the information about the Seven Basic Plots, please address the following prompt:
Which one of the Seven Basic Plots does the short story most align?
Simply recalling what the story is about is not analysis of the text. Just listing places in the story where similarities occur is not analysis. While you read these stories, pay special attention to not only where you see evidence of the story representing the classic plot structure but how. Your analysis will be created when your writing demonstrates the relationship between the plot structure you learn about and the story you’ve chosen to explicate. Remember, this is a 200-level college writing class. Craft an essay that works beyond trite, simplistic ideas. This essay sets the tone for the rest of the semester. Take it seriously, and you will surprise yourself with what you can accomplish. To prove your points, you’ll spend the time in the support paragraphs demonstrating the fact the story in fact represent what you’ve claimed it does, and you’ll provide textual support in the form of paraphrases and/or direct quotes from the short story, AND from the list below, correctly formatted. Keep in mind, you are NOT arguing about authorial intent. You are not saying the authors’ have created this story to represent one of the classic story structures. It is through your terrific analytical minds that you figure out which one structure the story represents. You may also include any pertinent information linking the use of literary device to the author’s working with this plot structure, but you are not obligated to. Your researched/cited information should be the additional information you find about the plot structure you choose. You must also have a correctly formatted Works Cited page. Please do not guess at issues of format and/or grammar. Look up the answers to questions. P.S. You do not have to capitalize “seven basic plots” if you mention that by name, but you might italicize the one you choose when you type it. Minor thing. **A special note: please do not Google information about these stories. You do NOT need someone else’s perspective. Yours is the only one that matters. Please, please, please.
Overcoming the Monster
Rags to Riches
Voyage and Return
Comedy (Remember, there are rules for this genre/theme. It cannot be that a story is merely comedic)
Tragedy (Remember, there are rules for this genre/theme. It cannot be that a story is merely tragic)
One story from the list below AND
Christopher Booker’s The Seven Basic PlotsPreview the document… this is 700+ pages. You’ll read/cite only what’s useful for your essay’s support. AND
Bureman and Bunting’s 7 Story ArchetypesPreview the document
To get started, but you should not cite nor rely on these, you can begin by looking at the VERY Quick Seven Basic Plots Preview the documentand Seven Basic Plots Booker Detailed SummaryPreview the document
Battle RoyalPreview the document by Ralph Ellison The Last Leaf (Links to an external site.) by O. Henry The Passing of Grandison by Charles W. Chestnutt
The Mission of Mr. Scatters by Paul Laurence Dunbar An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge (Links to an external site.) by Ambrose Bierce A Jury of Her Peers (Links to an external site.) by Susan Glaspell
The Selfish Giant (Links to an external site.) by Oscar Wilde The Mortal Immortal (Links to an external site.) by Mary Shelley The Namesake (Links to an external site.) by Willa Cather
Desiree’s Baby (Links to an external site.) by Kate Chopin The Veteran (Links to an external site.) by Stephen Crane 2BR02B (Links to an external site.) by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
At least 6 pages, correctly formatted to MLA standards (Links to an external site.) AND a correctly formatted Works Cited page (Links to an external site.). You can see a samplePreview the document.
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