Monday, May 3, 2010

Mentor Monday: A Plethora of Plots

A woman I know said she was not interested in seeing the movie, Avatar, because she’d heard it was just basically the Pocahontas story all over again. Interesting point, but I thought it was sort of a remake of Romeo and Juliet or West Side Story or…

You get the idea.

It got me thinking about the concept that there are only a limited number of plots in literature.

If you try looking up “basic plots” on Google, you find several theories from the single literary plot to the “20 Master Plots.” I’ll share one from the middle of the bunch

The Seven Basic Plots in Literature:

Man vs. nature
Man vs. man
Man vs. the environment
Man vs. machines/technology
Man vs. the supernatural
Man vs. self
Man vs. god/religion

Before my feminist friends get upset, let me say that I’m comfortable enough with the strides made in the Women’s Movement to use the term “man” here to mean “all people.”

Your assignment today, kids, is to take your favorite children’s books and see if they fit in any of these categories. Here are some examples that occurred to me:

1. Man vs. nature: The Cay
2. Man vs. man: Amos Fortune: Free Man
3. Man vs. the environment: The Little House books
4. Man vs. technology: John Henry an American Legend
5. Man vs. the supernatural The Graveyard Book
6. Man vs. self: Hatchet (Could also be Man vs. Nature)
7. Man vs. god/religion: Preacher’s Boy

Now you try. Feel free to share your lists with the class.

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