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.
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 compare Booker’s Plot Structure to the Roller Coaster Plot Diagram. Finally, three outline pages provide practice.
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 Quest Examples
The Phantom Tollbooth:
Milo, the protagonist, goes on a quest to restore Rhyme and Reason to the Kingdom of Wisdom, which has fallen into chaos due to their absence.
The Lord of the Rings:
Frodo Baggins goes on a quest to destroy the One Ring, which has the power to control all other rings and bring about the destruction of Middle-earth.
Bilbo Baggins goes on a quest to help a group of dwarves reclaim their lost treasure from the dragon Smaug.
Raiders of the Lost Ark:
Indiana Jones goes on a quest to find the Ark of the Covenant, which is believed to hold great power.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader:
In this Chronicles of Narnia book, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie, along with their cousin Eustace, join King Caspian on a voyage to find the seven lost lords of Narnia.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
Harry Potter goes on a quest to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes, objects containing pieces of the evil Lord Voldemort’s soul.
The Land Before Time:
Littlefoot goes on a quest to find the Great Valley, a lush and safe haven for his dinosaur herd.
Jim Hawkins goes on a quest to find the buried treasure of the infamous pirate Captain Flint.
Odysseus goes on a quest to return home to Ithaca after the Trojan War, facing many obstacles and challenges along the way.
The Wizard of Oz:
Dorothy goes on a quest to find the Wizard of Oz, hoping he can help her return home to Kansas. (also Voyage and Return)
In each of these stories, the protagonist sets out on a journey or quest to achieve a specific goal or complete a task. Along the way, they often face obstacles, challenges, and adventures that test their courage, skill, and determination.
If you missed the link to the handout, here it is again.
Jump to the plot you are interested in using these links.