This afternoon, I read a review of The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker, wherein the reviewer seems to like Aristotle better than Carl Jung. But then, who doesn’t?
In any case, the book apparently argues (I say “apparently” because I haven’t actually read it) that the plots of all stories, from Beowulf to Robinson Crusoe can all be boiled down to the same seven basic storylines:
— Overcoming the Monster
— Rags to Riches
— The Quest (no, not this one)
— Voyage and Return
This is an interesting idea (I suppose, I mean, I once heard Vonnegut speak, and he boiled all stories down to “There’s a person, doing stuff. And it’s okay. And then, oh shit! Something happens!” which is much more succinct), or at least I think it is. If you could break down all works of literature (at least the storytelling kind) into seven categories, which ones would you pick? Do you agree or disagree that everything really comes down to the same handful of plots?
And perhaps, most importantly, if Aristotle and Carl Jung were to fight in a steel cage, who do you think would win?