Study Guide

Johnny Got His Gun Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Dalton Trumbo

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Anticipation Stage

You might say that Joe is literally unfulfilled: he has no limbs or senses. His desire becomes to reconnect with the world in his new condition.

Dream Stage

It's, again, literally a dream stage: all of Joe's memories reinforce his desire to reconnect with the living.

Frustration Stage

Yeah, there's a lot of frustration in this book. Learning how to measure time, learning where things are and who people are, and learning how to communicate—all this takes Joe years, and there are a lot of pitfalls along the way.

Nightmare Stage

Things get tougher for Joe when he starts tapping. His usually nice nurse gets impatient with him, and the doctor starts injecting him with morphine to quiet him down. And then, of course, there is the literal nightmare involving Christ on a train.

Destruction or Death Wish Stage

This is where things finally fall apart for Joe. The doctor shows Joe that all his efforts to communicate have been for naught. Joe has been wishing for either life or death this whole time, but ultimately he's denied both.

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