Study Guide

Johnny Got His Gun Plot Analysis

By Dalton Trumbo

Plot Analysis

Exposition (Initial Situation)

Your Average Joe

Things start out pretty normal for Joe. Well, yes, his father dies, but that's not hugely abnormal. We start out thinking that Joe is just a guy like us.

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

How Did It Happen?

This is when we find out that Joe is in the hospital, and that he's badly hurt. We aren't given the extent of Joe's condition all at once, and even when do we find out about all the physical damage, there is still the plot buildup surrounding Joe's life and how he got to be where he is.

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

Finally, A Little Attention

Another conflict in this book revolves around Joe trying to break out of his physical prison and communicate with the world. Tension builds as he learns how measure time, and then how to tap. It peaks when the tapping is finally successful with the new nurse. It seems as if Joe's just about to break through the communication barrier.

Falling Action

It's Against Regulations

Oh, but what a barrier it is. Joe is successful beyond what he could have dreamed of in terms of finding a way to commune. But his hopes come crashing down when he realizes that the world doesn't seem to care about what he has to say (and he has a lot to say). You could say that the action falls immediately after he receives the second response from the doctor, since before that moment, we're still excitedly anticipating what his reply to Joe will be.

Resolution (Denouement)

You Say You Want a Revolution

Well, now Joe sees the way things are, and he doesn't like it. He thinks about everything he has gone through he decides that there need to be some major changes around here. It's kind of the "moral of the story" moment.

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