© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.


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

Even though Reuven Malter is sure that Danny Saunders hit him in the glasses with a baseball on purpose, he soon learns that things aren’t always what they seem. At first, Reuven sees Danny as almost sub-human – or, at best, really different from himself. But very quickly, Reuven becomes Danny’s best friend and strongest ally.

Act II

Politics can be rough on a friendship, though it’s not Reuven and Danny’s politics that causes problems between them, rather the politics of their fathers. Reb Saunders vehemently opposes the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine (what is now the state of Israel). When he learns the extent to which David Malter publicly supports such a homeland, he forbids Danny and Reuven to have any contact whatsoever. On top of that, Danny is constantly watched. One false move, and it’s bye-bye psychology.


When Israel becomes a reality, the Reb relents and lets the boys resume their friendship. But Danny still has two big problems: his father still won’t talk to him about anything but Talmud, and he still hasn’t told his father that he plans to refuse his inheritance and pursue a secular education in psychology. Luckily, on the first day of Passover, 1949, the Reb breaks the silence and gives Danny his blessing to live his dreams.

back to top