Christopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories outlines seven plots. One of these seven is ‘The Quest.’ In ‘The Quest’ plot, the main character, along with some companions, sets out to find an important object or priceless treasure. This plot is the most likely to have a group of main characters. The questors might include:
- a close friend
- a sidekick (A sidekick is a person who helps and spends a lot of time with someone who is usually more important and powerful.)
- a generic group (soldiers)
- a set of characters that each have their own stories (These usually have brains, heart, and strength to help the hero.)
They face many obstacles and temptations along the way. The hero obtains the treasure and returns home.
Raiders of the Lost Ark is an excellent example of “The Quest.” Jones travels to a new land to get the prize – the ark. He meets danger on his journey. The obstacles grow causing frustration. Jones finally gets the prize and returns home.
In this Disney feature, Miguel dreams of becoming a musician. He takes his idol’s guitar to use in a show. Soon Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead with his ancestors. Miguel learns he has been cursed for stealing from the dead. Through a series of events, Miguel unlocks his family’s history. He returns home and rights the wrongs.
- The Phantom Tollbooth
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Hobbit
- Raiders of the Lost Ark
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- The Land Before Time
- Treasure Island
- The Odyssey
- The Wizard of Oz (also Voyage and Return)
Students create a staggered flip organizer that explains Booker’s plot ‘The Quest.’ 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, the question asks students to think more about the quest plot. Finally, three outline pages provide practice.
Jump to the plot you are interested in using these links.