The Red Room
The Red Room
by H.G. Wells

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

We meet the narrator, who proclaims confidently that ghosts don’t scare him, because he doesn't believe in them. We meet the foreboding older custodians of the castle, who add to the general sense of dread. The narrator sets off for the red room, and gives us the back-story, (which isn't much). He arrives at the door of the red room and enters. There is no turning back now.

Act II

The narrator explores the red room and tries to make himself comfortable. To get rid of that spooky darkness, he sets up a few candles. Then he decides to battle darkness with light by getting more candles. Man, this red room isn’t so bad after all. Then the first candle goes out. The narrator’s epic struggle with the dark begins…and ends in total blackness when the fire itself is extinguished.

Act III

His wits gone, the narrator rushes to the door, and gets beat up, although we're not sure how. He loses consciousness. Waking up the next morning, the narrator recovers his temporarily lost memory and all is explained. We learn that it is no ghost, but "fear" itself that haunts the room.

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