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by Jane Austen

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Comedy

Twilight Stage

Emma refuses to believe that she could fall in love; she also believes herself to be the center of Highbury society.

Emma is a comedy for a few reasons. For one, it’s funny. For another, it revolves around the mischief that Emma inadvertently creates because she can’t figure out how she feels about her own feelings. Instead, she throws other people into love affairs (or tries to, at least). She’s in the dark about her own need to love. It’s a lot more complicated than that, of course, because Emma’s not the only person in the novel – and other characters have their own faults to overcome, as well.

Revelation Stage

Marriages all around.

As Harriet confesses that she loves Mr. Knightley, Emma begins to understand how much trouble she’s really created. Without Emma’s help, Harriet would never have tried to cross class boundaries. Of course, for Austen, love is always linked to class, and Emma’s self-understanding comes with a new sense of what it means for her to be one of the centers of Highbury society.

Happy Ending

Marriages all around.

Comedies have to have happy endings, right? And the best ending is always a wedding (unless you’ve been watching too many episodes of Bridezilla. In that case, we don’t know what to tell you). Frank marries Jane, Harriet marries Mr. Martin, and Emma marries Mr. Knightley.

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