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Notes from the Underground

Notes from the Underground


by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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 : Rebirth

The Shadow of the Dark Power

Almost all of Notes from the Underground

The shadow here is so many things…the Underground Man's isolation, his need for suffering, his enjoyment of suffering, his hyper-consciousness, the wall that is the laws of nature, his poverty, etc.

The Shadow Recedes

The Underground Man reaches out to Liza

The shadow of self-imposed isolation and insular hyper-consciousness starts to recede when the Underground Man breaks through his crusty exterior to reach out to Liza. Unfortunately, his version of "reaching out" is a lecture on how she will likely get a disease and die without ever being loved or remembered (but we can give him points for trying).

The Shadow Recedes Some More

Liza actually shows up to the Underground Man's apartment; he talks about his feelings, and they have sex

Things seem the most hopeful for the Underground Man when he breaks down crying and confesses everything to Liza. She comforts him and they have sex, and we have to wonder for a moment if, perhaps, there isn't some Miraculous Redemption coming soon.

Miraculous Redemption (Or Not…)

Liza leaves forever.

Unfortunately, while there was potential for a Miraculous Redemption, the Underground Man messes this up royally. Far from redeeming him, Liza's exit condemns our narrator to a lifetime of solitude and suffering.

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