Study Guide

Animal Dreams Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Barbara Kingsolver

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Rebirth

A Young Hero or Heroine Falls under the Shadow of the Dark Power.

Codi Noline is trapped under the shadow of directionlessness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. Her little sister has left the country for Nicaragua and has taken the better half of Codi with her. Codi believes that without her sister, she has little to offer the world, despite years of education that almost culminated in being licensed to practice medicine like her dad. Now she works at a 7-Eleven and can't tell the difference between her own real memories and ones she made up.

To top it off, Codi has to return to the scene of her own youthful misery: to a hometown where she was an outcast, and to a father whose mind is falling apart.

For a While, All May Seem to go Reasonably Well. The Threat May Even Seem to Have Receded.

Things go pretty well in Grace. Codi has a job as a high school teacher and finds she's pretty good at that. She starts dating her high school ex-boyfriend, the guy who unknowingly got her pregnant at fifteen, and he's great. The people of Grace seem to accept her, asking for her help to save the town from an evil, polluting mining company, and her best friend surrounds her with family. She's even beginning to recover her memories, one by one.

But Eventually It Approaches Again in Full Force until the Hero or Heroine is Seen Imprisoned in the State of Living Death.

When Hallie is kidnapped and killed, Codi is overwhelmed by her feelings of uselessness and inadequacy. Also, nothing is permanent, she thinks, so what's the point of getting attached? She runs away from Grace and all of the relationships she has built there, intending to return to her life on the road, like a politically correct Jack Kerouac with a Billy Idol haircut.

This Continues for a Long Time. When It Seems that the Dark Power Has Completely Triumphed…

Actually, this continues for a very short time—like, maybe a couple of chapters. Codi plans to leave Grace for Colorado, then she does leave Grace. She's a total zombie, dragging her suitcase up onto the bus and not even saying goodbye to Emelina. She passes a dump on the way out of town and is like, Yaaaasssss, that is my liiiiiiiife.

But Finally Comes the Miraculous Redemption: Either, Where the Imprisoned Figure Is a Heroine; or, Where It is the Hero, by a Young Woman or a Child.

So it's definitely miraculous. Codi's plane refuses to take off, until Codi is proverbially washed, like Jonah in the belly of the whale, back up on the shores of her destined destination. It is indeed both a young woman and a child that bring her back. On the one hand, there's a teenager on the plane being annoyed at her annoying parents, and Codi is like, Way to stick it to your annoying parents. She remembers how much she likes teaching high school—and also kissing her boyfriend Loyd.

Then Codi gets redeemed by the burial of Hallie, which is in turn a kind of burial for Codi's pain of having lost her own first child. She's basically free from the burdens of her past and is reborn as the hometown girl she always wanted to be.

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