Author: Robin Rivera
Robin trained as a professional historian and worked as a museum curator, an educator and historical consultant. She writes dark young adult fiction, with diverse characters. She's currently querying a novel, and working on two new manuscripts that started off as NaNoWriMo projects. You can follow her on Facebook(https://www.facebook.com/robin.rivera.90813) or on Twitter @robinrwrites. However, Pinterest (https://www.pinterest.com/RRWrites/) is where her inner magpie is happiest of all.
View all posts by Robin Rivera
21 thoughts on “Masterplots Theater: S is for Sacrifice”
J here, of the #atozchallenge Arlee Bird’s A to Z Ambassador Team. Thanks for visiting me.
Have you enjoyed the challenge? Did you hop to other blogs? Reflections sign up is May 9– mark a calendar.
My blog’s giveaway ends in a few days.
In my Fractions of Existence book, one of my main characters, Xavier, sort of goes the other way on this. In his mind, “The needs of his one outweigh the needs of the many.”
Hi, I’m trying to get back around to some of the posts I missed during the challenge and your blog was on my list of top five favorite blogs that I tried to never miss, but as you know, life sometimes gets in the way. I wanted to thank you for an amazing month and the plethora of knowledge, story plots and examples you provided your readers. I looked forward to each of your topics even if I didn’t get a chance to stop by that day. You didn’t disappoint with this one either. I love a powerful sacrifice story, especially a tear jerker. My sister’s keeper is the perfect example and never fails to make me sob.
Melissa Sugar @
Melissa Sugar Writes
Aw, thanks so much, Melissa! We’re so glad you enjoyed Masterplots Theater!
Great theme. Excellent choice of example. This whole series is about sacrifice. Even, as you’ve mentioned in the comments, a willingness to sacrifice counts too.
Another great and helpful article! Thanks for all the info…
Michele at Angels Bark
I have to confess, I hate when characters dies, even when it make a lot of sense. So I’m not very likely to read this kind of plot.
But I agree that it is very powerful when it’s done right. I also think it isn’t very easy to make it right. Some of these plots rely on ideas we take for granted (parents love their childen, parteners love each other) and the plot don’t really show this to the point I’m convinced the final choice is believable. A person giving up their life for whotever reasons is something huge. Human’s spirit of conservation is probably one of the storngest feelings nature has given us, so it takes a very good reason for anyone to willingly give up their life.
I find that in stories, very often this happens too easily.
The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz
I have a story where I have a character sacrifice himself. Always makes me tear up when I read it. *sniffle*
~Ninja Minion Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
Patricia Lynne, Indie Author
I feel bad now, it seems like I made everyone sad with this one. : (
You line about the “needs of the many” of course made me think of Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, where Spock dies sacrificially at the end. I’ve seen this plot somewhat frequently in Christian fiction, though they often like to make the sacrifice a partial one, where the person who dies comes back in some way, or doesn’t actually have to die, but just be willing to die (which in some ways cheapens it, I think; there has to be real sacrifice and suffering involved to make this work. Even if they don’t die, they should go through “hell” in some way.)
Thanks for sharing!
Nicely done! You are completely correct. Spock’s moral code is modeled on an ethical philosophy called Utilitarianism. That’s were this concept stems from.
I don’t think a partial sacrifice is cheating. If the person was willing to die there’s power in their actions.
There is, but when the willing to die keeps cropping up it can feel overused, like the author is trying to get the readers to feel tension on the part of the characters even when we know they’re going to make it, just fine.
Excuse me, but, HOLY CRAP! Your website is a gold mine of great information. Great job on the A to Z Challenge. I’m going to be spending a lot of time here. Thanks so much for the great content!
My A to Z link: http://www.julievalerie.com/thesaurus-tyrannosaurus/
Thank you, that’s the nicest compliment. I’m glad you like our A to Z theme, yours is a lot of fun too.
I want to sob my heart out just thinking about this category. 🙂
Sorry, I didn’t plan on making any sad. : (
Some sacrifice stories can be uplifting, like Gift of the Magi. It just depends. : )
Great perspective, Robin. I’m just too soft-hearted. 🙂
Personally, I think the ultimate sacrifice story is that of Christ…The Passion of the Christ. While I don’t know about the accuracy of the movie, it is played out in the Bible. I don’t know that there is another story out there that could top this one, though there are many great ones as you’ve mentioned above.
I read A Tale of Two Cities in the 9th grade. My husband and I read it a few years ago as a couple read-aloud. My grandma had to read it in 3rd grade!
Have a blessed day. 🙂
Wow, Tale of Two Cities is a pretty scary book for a 3rd grader. I’m glad schools don’t require it now until high school age.
In that I don’t think I could have processed it in 3rd grade, I would tend to agree with you. However, I think the dumbing down of America is quite depressing.
I think The Flowers of War, a film based on the history of the Rape of Nanking and made in China with all Chinese actors except for Christian Bale, falls into this category. I don’t know if it was based on a book, but the story is excellent. One entire group of people sacrifices for another group. I don’t want to write more because it will spoil it for anyone who’d like to see the film. Also, W. Somerset Maugham’s A Painted Veil, about a British doctor and his wife who travel to Hong Kong during a cholera epidemic. Maugham of course is a masterful writer whose work exhibits an economy of words and a lavish psychological panorama of human motivation, failure, and fulfillment.
I haven’t read any Somerset Maugham in ages, I’ll have to revisit A Painted Veil and see how closely it follows the Sacrifice Masterplot. Thanks for the suggestion.