Study Guide

Common Sense Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Thomas Paine

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Anticipation Stage and "Call"

Thomas Paine opens this book by establishing that Britain's rule over America is nothing short of a brutal dictatorship. He calls upon all Americans to unite in an army and to fight to drive the British out of America. At first, Paine just talks about how wonky the British political system is. But as he continues, he draws specific conclusions showing how Britain's corrupt politics are causing monstrous in justices in America, such as the seizure and destruction of people's private property.

Dream Stage

It looks as if the cause of American independence is a no-brainer at this point. The British are a tyrannical power and America needs to step up and fight them off. What could possibly be complicated about that? But just when it looks like the argument is over, Paine decides to address some of the arguments that people in America have made against the idea of fighting the British.

Frustration Stage

There are many people in the U.S. who think that America would be better off if it just made up with Britain and put the whole revolution idea away. For starters, people say that Britain's mighty navy will protect America from foreign invasion by places like Spain or England. Others say that the cost of a war will plunge America into a crippling debt from which it will never recover. Finally, some people say that America is too young and immature to govern itself. Thomas Paine dismisses these arguments one by one, but they must still have some sway with public opinion if he's going out of his way to mention them.

Nightmare Stage

Tomas Paine closes his pamphlet by urging his readers to act immediately for the cause of American independence. The longer they wait, the bloodier and more brutal their war for independence is going to be. Throughout this part of the pamphlet, there's a clear fear that Americans will ultimately take the safer route and submit to British rule instead of fighting for their freedom.

The Thrilling Escape, Death of the Monster

The Thrilling Escape or "happy ending" to Paine's pamphlet really comes after the pamphlet itself was published. Millions of Americans would go on to find inspiration in its message and follow Paine's call to fight the British. George Washington even had the pamphlet read out loud to his troops to help inspire them for battle. In the end, Paine's dreams of a free America and a U.S. Constitution would ultimately come true, completely changing the course of global history along the way. Well done, Paine.

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