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Persuasion

Persuasion

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

Characters are trapped in a dark state

Anne regrets rejecting Captain Wentworth; Wentworth is angry at Anne for rejecting him

At the beginning of the novel, both Anne and Wentworth define themselves in relation to a brighter past, and both see the time since those happy days as darker in comparison. When Wentworth turns up again, Anne is stuck in the painful position of watching her ex flirt with the Musgrove girls, while she tries to convince herself that she doesn’t want him anymore anyway. And then, even when Anne leaves Uppercross, she’s stuck in Bath, which she hates, with her family, who are obnoxious, being followed around by Mr. Elliot, whom she suspects is not what he seems.

Characters are revealed for who they really are

Wentworth realizes that Louisa is foolishly headstrong while Anne is thoughtful and competent; Anne realizes that Wentworth still loves her; Mrs. Smith explains Mr. Elliot’s secret self-interested motivations

The contrasting behavior of Anne and Louisa in Lyme causes Wentworth to start reconsidering his prejudices and to realize that listening to others’ advice isn’t all that bad (especially when that advice is not to dive headfirst into the pavement). Wentworth’s jealousy of Mr. Elliot tells Anne that he still cares about her, and that she can hope for a reunion. And Mrs. Smith’s story of how Mr. Elliot is really a Slytherin at heart ultimately makes it easier for Anne to justify her choice (version 2.0) of Wentworth to her family and friends.

Each lover is reunited with his/her other half

Anne and Wentworth, Louisa and Benwick, and Henrietta and Charles Hayter marry; Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Clay might get married too

Older and wiser, Anne and Wentworth manage to work things out the second time around. Just to make things extra-safe, all their rivals are paired off too. The only one of the younger generation left out is Elizabeth, who repeats the past and gets snubbed by Mr. Elliot in favor of her former bosom buddy Mrs. Clay. Hurrah for poetic justice.

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