© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.



by Henry David Thoreau

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 : Quest

The Call

Is it Possible to Live Differently?

Thoreau is inspired to embark on his quest for spiritual enlightenment by his own desire to find out what life really is all about. He's dissatisfied with contemporary society and questions whether modernization has really improved the quality of life. He's basically called to question the world around him.

The Journey

We're About To Find Out

Thoreau decides to live alone at Walden Pond and he lays out his rationale: it is a private experiment to see whether it is possible to live a rich and fulfilling life without all the luxuries of modern life.

Arrival and Frustration

Let's Get It Started In Here

When Thoreau arrives at Walden Pond and begins to set up his home, he doesn't experience much frustration. Everything generally goes according to plan, with a few minor hiccups like a neighbor stealing his nails. So, arrival? Yes. Frustration? Not so much.

The Final Ordeals

The Long Haul

Over two years, Thoreau enjoys life at the pond as it changes over the four seasons. He experiences what many might consider to be hardships: he lives on a diet mostly of tasteless bread, he gets snowed in during the winter, he is often alone, and he spends much of his day laboring in his garden. For Thoreau, though, these hardships are welcome opportunities for learning. If only we could all see the world that way.

The Goal

…And He's Outta Here

Satisfied that he has learned all he can from his two years at Walden Pond, Thoreau sets out to join civilized society once again, enriched by his experiences.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...