Hillary’s Reprise–Would a Master Plot Help the Campaign Narrative?

Hillary Clinton is pictured. | AP Photo

Mrs. Clinton wiping away a tear in January 2008 the day before the NH primary after a woman in the audience asked her, “How do you do it?”

Seven years ago, the last time Hillary Clinton went to New Hampshire trying to be president, a woman asked her a question there in a coffee shop.
“How do you do it?” the woman, Marianne Pernold Young, asked Mrs. Clinton.

It felt at first like a friendly throwaway. It wasn’t. It cut to the core for Mrs. Clinton. Her eyes got teary. Her voice got shaky. Her answer, uncharacteristically emotional, made news, but the trigger was the question. It was the key question back then. It is the key question still now.

Perhaps looking at the archetypal stories that have characterized much of the world’s literature, not to mention current social media (content is king, yes?), perhaps there is a guide here as to how the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State (name other roles here), could re-fashion and re-imagine her current presidential campaign.

Here are the seven with examples with their possible connection to Mrs. Clinton and her possible reactions to each.

1. Overcoming the Monster

The protagonist sets out to defeat an antagonistic force which threatens the protagonist and/or protagonist’s homeland.

Examples: Perseus, Theseus, Beowulf, Dracula, War of the Worlds, Nicholas Nickleby, The Guns of Navarone, Seven Samurai and its Western-style remake The Magnificent Seven, James Bond, Star Wars: A New Hope, and Die Dollar Die: Fall of the American Colossus.[2]

HC Rating: Interesting. Need to identify the monster: Republicans? Rich people (nah, too close to home), Men? (ouch! Sorry, Bill)

2. Rags to Riches

The poor protagonist acquires things such as power, wealth, and a mate, before losing it all and gaining it back upon growing as a person.

Examples: Cinderella, Aladdin, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, David Copperfield.[2]

HC Rating: Mmm, could be a possibility.  Lots of folks could identify with being poor and wanting to be rich (like Bill and I are now.  How would we weave in Chelsea who’s really pulling it in now?)

3. The Quest

The protagonist and some companions set out to acquire an important object or to get a location, facing many obstacles and temptations along the way.

Examples: Iliad, The Pilgrim’s Progress, King Solomon’s Mines, Watership Down.[2] The Wizard of Oz, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, “Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny“, “The Land Before Time“, Aladdin and the King of Thieves

HC Rating: A definite possibility.  Note to Bill: Didn’t this work in ’92?

4. Voyage and Return

The protagonist goes to a strange land and, after overcoming the threats it poses to him/her, returns with nothing but experience.

Examples: Odyssey, Alice in Wonderland, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Orpheus, The Time Machine, Peter Rabbit, The Hobbit, Brideshead Revisited, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Gone with the Wind, The Third Man.[2]Chronicles of Narnia

HC Rating: Again, not bad.  I have traveled the globe lots of times and we do have a dog like Odysseus but I don’t think he’d recognize me when I got home.

5. Comedy

Light and humorous character with a happy or cheerful ending; a dramatic work in which the central motif is the triumph over adverse circumstance, resulting in a successful or happy conclusion.[3]

Examples: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Bridget Jones Diary, Music and Lyrics, Sliding Doors, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mr Bean

HC Rating: Tried this.  Didn’t work

6. Tragedy

The protagonist is a villain who falls from grace and whose death is a happy ending.

Examples: Macbeth, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Carmen, Bonnie and Clyde, Jules et Jim, Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, John Dillinger, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar,[2] Death Note, Breaking Bad

HC Rating: Not going there.  Lady Macbeth and I aren’t sisters, OK?

7. Rebirth

The protagonist is a villain or otherwise unlikable character who redeems him/herself over the course of the story.

Examples: Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, Beauty and the Beast, The Snow Queen, A Christmas Carol, The Secret Garden, Peer Gynt.[2], Life Is a Dream, Despicable Me, Machine Gun Preacher, The Return of Jafar

HC Rating: Got it.  This is it!  Go figure! Who knew? Love it, love it!  It’s so American! (Note to Huma Abedin: Please get with Bill and work out story line).

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