Basic Plot Structure – Rebirth

Basic Plot Structure – Rebirth

Christopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories outlines seven plots. One of these seven is “Rebirth.” At the beginning of the “Rebirth” plot, a hero falls under a shadow of dark power. This may be caused by an outside source such as imprisonment, kidnapping, magic spells, illness, and so on. It may also be caused by a character flaw such as greed or addiction. Over the course of the story, the character changes. He redeems himself in the eyes of others.

Rebirth Mini Lesson with Organizers


Students create a staggered flip organizer that explains Booker’s plot “Rebirth.” The organizer also contains a page for students to list examples from literature or pop culture. Next students answer a ‘”Digging Deeper” question. For this lesson, students think about the plot ‘Rebirth’ in advertising. Questions about multiple story plots and hero characteristics are also discussed. Finally, three outline pages provide practice.

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Rebirth Plot Description

Rebirth Plot Structure - A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’s novel A Christmas Carol is a great example of this plot. At the beginning of the story, Scrooge acts selfishly. He is stingy with his money. He overworks his clerk, Bob Cratchit.

On Christmas Eve, Scrooge falls asleep only to awaken by visits from three ghosts. The spirits show him Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come. When Scrooge wakes in the morning, he realizes the adventure took place all in one night. He understands what he had done with his life. Scrooge changes his ways. He gives Cratchit a raise. Scrooge befriends Tiny Tim. He acts with generosity and love.

Rebirth Examples 

Beauty and the Beast:

Belle changes the Beast’s outlook on life and learns to see beyond his appearance, resulting in his transformation back into a prince.

It’s a Wonderful Life:

George Bailey experiences a life-changing event and realizes the impact he has made on the lives of others, ultimately leading to his transformation and a newfound appreciation for his life.

Sleeping Beauty:

After a long slumber, Aurora awakens to true love’s kiss, bringing her back to life and breaking the curse cast upon her.

The Secret Garden:

Mary Lennox’s experiences in the garden transform her from a spoiled and selfish child to a more compassionate and caring individual.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas:

The Grinch’s heart grows three sizes when he realizes the true meaning of Christmas, resulting in his transformation from a bitter and mean character to a more loving and caring one.

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial:

Elliott and E.T. form a strong bond that transforms both of them, allowing Elliott to become more confident and E.T. to become more human-like.

Snow White:

After falling into a deep sleep, Snow White is awakened by a true love’s kiss, breaking the spell cast upon her by the Evil Queen.

Despicable Me:

Gru’s love for his adopted daughters transforms him from a villainous character to a more caring and compassionate one.

The Snow Queen:

Gerda’s journey to save her friend Kay transforms her from a timid girl to a courageous and strong one.

The Lion King:

Simba transforms from a carefree cub to a responsible and just king after learning from his past mistakes.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle:

This book follows a caterpillar who eats its way through various foods and transforms into a butterfly.

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen:

This classic fairy tale follows a duckling who is rejected for being different but eventually transforms into a beautiful swan.

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Get the printable here.

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Gay Miller

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