Christopher Booker’s book The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories outlines seven plots. One of these seven is ‘Voyage and Return.’ In this type of plot, the main character enters another land where normal rules don’t apply. This ‘dream world’ is often very different from his own home. The character must overcome threats. He conquers or escapes the world before returning home as a more mature person.
In the new land, logic and common sense don’t apply. The hero must ask for advice from allies. Unfortunately, these are often tricksters that lead the character into deeper trouble.
‘Voyage and Return’ is common in children’s books. The plot helps the reader conquer fears such as being afraid of the dark, storms, going to new places, and so on.
This video shows heroes from several popular movies.
- Alice in Wonderland
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Goldilocks and the Three Bears
- Peter Rabbit
- Cast Away
- The Hobbit
- Gulliver’s Travels
- Chronicles of Narnia [The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe]
- Finding Nemo
- The Wizard of Oz
- Back to the Future
In the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Eurydice is bitten by a poisonous snake on her wedding day. Orpheus is so upset that he decides to go to the underworld to bring her back to Earth. Orpheus encounters many trials along the way. He must get past Cerberus, the three-headed dog. He gets Charon, the ferryman, to take him to Hades. Orpheus convinces Hades to allow Eurydice to return. Hades agrees on one condition. Orpheus must not look back to see if Eurydice follows. At the end of his journey, Orpheus looks back. He loses Eurydice forever. Orpheus returns alone.
Students create a staggered flip organizer that explains Booker’s plot ‘Voyage and Return.’ 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 and contrast two of Booker’s plots ‘The Quest’ to ‘Voyage and Return.’ Finally, three outline pages provide practice.
Jump to the plot you are interested in using these links.
I hope you have a fantastic year! Enjoy reading.