Saturday, June 13, 2015

Book Review: The Seven Basic Plots; Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker

That was a lot of book, and there is so much that I could discuss!
"Let me explain--No, there is too much. Let me sum up!"

Booker basically used over 700 pages to communicate a very simple idea: Stories are about the struggle between good and evil, and man's separation from God.
Booker says that stories say men and women embody opposite and complimentary aspects of human nature, that when they come together at the end of a story, it symbolizes a person becoming whole. (Ephesians 5:22-33, marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of Christ and the church.) That stories say people are separated from an essential part of the universe, and without gaining a greater understanding leading to faith in something beyond themselves, will destroy themselves in sin and despair. (Ephesians 2:12-14, man is separated from God and without hope, but is saved through faith in Christ.) That stories are a representation of a battle between good and evil, both in the outside world and within the human psyche.

Unfortunately, Booker seems to be locked in his own lack of understanding, darkness, and un-whole-ness. In vague, inconclusive, humanistic language, he phrases all of that in muddy terms like "light figures" "dark figures" "reaching maturity" "realizing the Self." One has to wonder, in the dim, muddy spirituality of his weak animism or perhaps spiritual-ish humanism, what meaning "maturity" or "self-realization" ultimately have. He seems to believe that man must be re-connected with God, without believing in a God to re-connect with.

Overall, I would recommend this book as a fascinating study of story-telling, an insightful simplification of plots into seven basic archetypes, and an interesting social commentary by a man who believes firmly in morality and spirituality, without believing that there is a God to give meaning to those things.