This article explores the extent to which millenarianism can be understood as a narrative structure and even a potential “master plot” akin to quest and stranger motifs. There have been previous attempts to describe millenarianism as a narrative or as a period-specific motif, but this article suggests that writers engaging with millenarian ideas use a structure similar to that of actual millenarian movements. Through an application of Kenelm Burridge's approach to millenarian movements, a theoretical model is developed to demonstrate the range of millenarianism as a narrative structure. The article moves through three stages in order to argue for a coherent millenarian narrative. The first section, “Millenarianism and Literature,” discusses previous approaches by literary scholars. The second, “Burridge's Anthropological Model,” explores Burridge's anthropological structure and applies it to the popular film trilogy The Matrix. The third section makes use of a more literary subject—W. H. Auden's long poem The Age of Anxiety—as a sustained case for analysis and exegesis.

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