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Three-Act Plot Analysis

For a three-act plot analysis, put on your screenwriter’s hat. Moviemakers know the formula well: at the end of Act One, the main character is drawn in completely to a conflict. During Act Two, she is farthest away from her goals. At the end of Act Three, the story is resolved.

Act I

Book One. We experience the life of Winston Smith through his eyes and some additional narration. Basically, Winston hates the Party, and his life, but that’s the doing of the Party.

Act II

Book Two. It starts with our introduction to Julia, and ends with Winston and Julia being caught and taken away by the Thought Police. Book Two traces the love life of Winston Smith, in which love is a political act, one of rebellion against the Party.


Book Three. We’re with Winston in the torture chambers, a.k.a. the Ministry of Love. Ironic? Again yes, yes it is. Here, Winston is physically and psychologically manipulated so that he accepts and loves the Party again. That is, O’Brien reforms Winston the nonconformist into being, well, a conformist.

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