Study Guide

The American Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Henry James

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis


Anticipation Stage:

Newman is rich and worldly. He has practically everything…except a wife to make it all worthwhile. When Mrs. Tristram suggests he go after the beautiful Claire de Cintre, he practically makes her an obsession.

Dream Stage:

Let's face it: Newman was ready to wed Claire from day one. But when she finally agrees to marry him, all of Newman's dreams seem to be coming true. Claire's difficult family even seems to be getting on board with their marriage.

Frustration Stage:

Newman's totally shocked when Claire changes her mind. He'd ask his pal Valentin for help, but Valentin is dying in Switzerland after a duel gone wrong. Newman starts considering extreme actions in order to hold his "dream wedding" together…even blackmail.

Nightmare Stage:

Newman comes to terms with the fact that Claire's out of his life, but he can't let go of the bitterness. As everything seems to be closing in around him, he wants to take it out on the Bellegarde family.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage:

Okay, so a typical tragedy ends with the hero's death or destruction. Newman doesn't die, thankfully, but his dreams of marrying Claire are totally shattered. And he's forever locked out of aristocratic French society.

Womp, womp.

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