Boyz N The Hood

Comprehensive Storyform

The following analysis reveals a comprehensive look at the Storyform for Boyz N The Hood. Unlike most of the analysis found here—which simply lists the unique individual story appreciations—this in-depth study details the actual encoding for each structural item. This also means it has been incorporated into the Dramatica Story Expert application itself as an easily referenced contextual example.

Story Dynamics

8 of the 12 essential questions

Main Character Resolve

It is in Tre’s nature to look for the easy way out; his decision not to seek revenge against the gang members that wasted Ricky is indicative of his resolve to change.

Main Character Growth

Tre must stop giving into the temptation to act before he thinks. He needs to look at the possible consequences of his actions.

Main Character Approach

Tre looks for physical solutions to his problems: As a kid he gets into a fight with his classmate without regard to the consequences; he tries to coax his girlfriend, Brandi, into bed without thinking it through; after his run-in with the police, his first instinct is to high-tail it out of LA; when Ricky is murdered, he rushes to seek revenge without stopping to think about the consequences until after he’s in the car with Doughboy and the gang.

Main Character Mental Sex

Tre tends to view problems in a linear way, without considering the big picture. In his relationship with Brandi, he wants to take the immediate step of having sex with her, without regard to the consequences that could adversely affect their relationship. For example, Brandi could become pregnant, impeding their college plans and creating a financial struggle to maintain an income necessary to provide for a child. When Tre seeks revenge for the death of his friend, he does not immediately recognize the action will also put himself in danger.

Story Driver

The story deals with the decisions kids must make while growing up in the hood, and how every decision they make impacts their lives.

Story Limit

There is an indefinite amount of time to choose a finite number of options to get outta the hood.

Story Outcome

Tre and Brandi get outta the hood.

Story Judgment

Tre survives life in the hood and attends Morehouse College with Brandi across the way at Spelman.

Overall Story Throughline

"Surviving the Hood"

Overall Story Throughline

Everyone in the hood is stuck in a bleak situation that appears hopeless (e.g. violent crime, drugs, harassment by the police, and so forth).

Overall Story Concern

During his gentrification speech in Compton, Furious points out to Tre, Rick, and the others they must start thinking about their future; as parents, Furious and Reva are concerned for their son’s future; Brandi is concerned with her future college education; Rick is concerned about his future in college and football; Tre is concerned with his future in college and a future with Brandi; Brenda Baker is concerned for her son Rick’s future, and believes her son Doughboy’s future is hopeless.

Overall Story Issue

The story explores the choices that everyone in the hood makes: does one “go to blows” over a wisecrack remark or delay until cooled off; Tre and Brandi must choose to give in to sexual desires or wait until marriage; Ricky must decide whether to join the army for college funding now, or wait and see if he is accepted to USC.

Overall Story Counterpoint

Overall Story Thematic Conflict
Choice vs.Delay

Overall Story Problem

Everyone is tempted by sex, drugs, easy money, and the power generated from violence and vengeance. Tre is tempted by sex; Ricky dreams of becoming a football player but doesn’t take into account the necessity of academics, which tempts him to forego taking the SAT test and join the army for college funds; Doughboy is tempted by power and money; all these temptations directly or indirectly lead to problems for the characters.

Overall Story Solution

Foregoing the immediate benefits of engaging in unprotected sex, easy money earned by selling drugs, or stealing because of future consequences, will solve the Objective Story problem.

Overall Story Symptom

Brandi is upset that Tre does not respect her wish to wait until marriage to have sex; Brenda feels only one of her sons has a chance at a viable future; Ricky doesn’t feel he can pass the SAT test; Tre’s emotions come into play when he sees evidence of the horrors of the hood, for example, a baby crawls into traffic because her mother is too high on crack to notice; when Tre walks across the street in front of his own house, a car pulls up and a shotgun is put in his face; he and Rick are unjustly harassed by the cops; and so forth.

Overall Story Response

Brandi uses logic when she explains to Tre her reasons for wanting to wait until marriage before having sex; Brenda uses logic with Ricky to reason why he and his girlfriend should temper their sexual feelings for each other to avoid having another child; it is logical to Reva that Furious is the only one who can teach their son to be a man; Furious asks people to use their logic to see how gentrification pushes African Americans out of their neighborhoods; college is a logical way out of the hood; and so forth.

Overall Story Catalyst

When Ricky stops to relieve himself, the gang members catch up with him in the alley; when Doughboy and friends put off looking for Ricky’s killers to stop and eat, they happen to run into the killers.

Overall Story Inhibitor

Doughboy and his cronies dream about living the hustler lifestyle, which keeps them from looking for success in positive ways.

Overall Story Benchmark

Reva informs Furious that women have shouldered the responsibility for raising boys to men for many years; Furious rants that the current plight of the black man in this country is a result of not learning from the past.

Additional Overall Story Information →
Overall Story Throughline Synopsis

Life in the hood is the reality of children raised by single parents, (some virtually children themselves) under the adverse circumstances of violence and poverty.

Main Character Throughline

Tre — Son

Main Character Throughline

Tre endeavors to survive while trying to get out of the hood.

Main Character Concern

Tre wants to obtain a college education; achieve sexual intimacy with Brandi; keep his friendships with the “boyz” in the hood.

Main Character Issue

Tre doesn’t have sex because he is afraid of becoming a father; at Brenda’s bbq he suggests “ladies first.”

Main Character Counterpoint

Main Character Thematic Conflict
Morality vs.Self-Interest

Main Character Problem

Tre is tempted to follow the ways of his friends, regardless of the consequences.

Main Character Solution

En route to avenging Rick’s death with Doughboy, Dookey, and Monster, Tre gets out of the car because he knows the immediate benefit of vengeance may lead to the consequence his own death (as it ultimately did for Doughboy).

Main Character Symptom

Tre doesn’t believe the situation in the hood is going to change.

Main Character Response

Tre attempts to have faith in his father’s teachings.

Main Character Unique Ability

Tre concentrates on studying for college; when he and Ricky are chased, they split up-which gives Tre a better chance of surviving the gang member’s fury; and so forth.

Main Character Critical Flaw

Tre’s feeling of responsibility for his friends could undermine his chance for a future.

Main Character Benchmark

The more Tre understands the desperate situation of life in the hood, the more determined he is to break out of it.

Additional Main Character Information →
Main Character Description

Soft-spoken young man with a strong sense of loyalty to family and friends; ambitious; intelligent

Main Character Throughline Synopsis

Tre must struggle with the temptations life in the hood offers, and the straight and narrow path his father insists he follow.

Influence Character Throughline

Furious — Tre's Father

Influence Character Throughline

Furious is able to manipulate his ex-wife into relinquishing Tre to him for his upbringing; his manner of thinking influences Tre to follow a path different from his friends and garners respect from those who listen to him.

Influence Character Concern

Furious is concerned with becoming a good father for his son and a good role model for all the “boyz” in the hood.

Influence Character Issue

Furious believes he is best suited to raising Tre, and is committed to the community.

Influence Character Counterpoint

Influence Character Thematic Conflict
Responsibility vs.Commitment

Influence Character Problem

Furious hinders Tre’s efforts to be like his friends.

Influence Character Solution

Furious’ lectures help Tre’s goal of becoming a responsible man.

Influence Character Symptom

Furious has strong feelings on what is right or wrong, and imposes them upon Tre.

Influence Character Response

Furious uses logic to help Tre develop mentally as well as physically.

Influence Character Unique Ability

Furious is committed to raising his son, despite the fact that he is a single father. His overwhelming commitment to Tre has the biggest effect on Tre’s life.

Influence Character Critical Flaw

Furious’ overwhelming sense of morality can be a turn off for Tre and his friends, inhibiting his influence on them. He’s often too “preachy.”

Influence Character Benchmark

Furious is able to judge how successful he is in raising his son by how closely Tre conforms to his conception of a responsible man.

More Influence Character Information →
Influence Character Description

Intelligent, strong sense of responsibility

Influence Character Throughline Synopsis

Furious undertakes the responsibility of raising his son under adverse circumstances, i.e., in the hood. He is able to guide him through the obstacles of temptation to a future that promises a college education and marriage to a “nice, Catholic girl.”

Relationship Story Throughline

"Raising a Man"

Relationship Story Throughline

Tre and Furious come into conflict over Furious’ strict guidelines for Tre’s upbringing.

Relationship Story Concern

Tre and Furious come into conflict over Tre succumbing to his basic drives and desires, such as sex without protection and seeking revenge.

Relationship Story Issue

At times, Furious’ passionate dream of African Americans taking control of their life makes Tre uncomfortable.

Relationship Story Counterpoint

Relationship Story Thematic Conflict
Dream vs.Hope

Relationship Story Problem

Any uncontrolled situation such as unprotected sex, or Tre putting his life in danger, is the source of problems between Tre and Furious.

Relationship Story Solution

Furious has to teach his son self-control in order to save him from dangerous situations that include possible death.

Relationship Story Symptom

Although his love for Tre is evident, Furious conceals his feelings and uses strict disciplinary measures, so as not to spoil his son.

Relationship Story Response

Furious takes the only logical approach he knows to raise his son, which is often hard on Tre.

Relationship Story Catalyst

Furious’ hopes for his son puts a lot of pressure on Tre.

Relationship Story Inhibitor

Tre’s decision to get an after school job and to pay attention to his studies decreases conflict with Furious.

Relationship Story Benchmark

Tre and Furious measure the growth of their relationship by how well Tre remembers and follows his father’s words and examples, and how well Furious remembers what it is like to be a young black man growing up in the hood.

Additional Relationship Story Information →
Relationship Story Throughline Synopsis

Tre and Furious conflict over the strict way Furious is raising him, compared to the “freedom” Tre sees his friends enjoying.

Additional Story Points

Key Structural Appreciations

Overall Story Goal

Everyone wants a better future, especially for Tre, in or out of the hood.

Overall Story Consequence

Tre and his friends will have to face the daily fear and violence in the hood if they don’t achieve their future goals.

Overall Story Cost

Some “boyz” become crippled (Chris) or dead (Rick). Ricky becomes a teen father; in trying to become a man, Tre tells a lie to his father that he regrets; Reva becomes a part-time mother.

Overall Story Dividend

Tre’s job allows him to buy nice clothes; Ricky has a son he adores; Furious achieves a certain amount of pride for raising Tre, a responsibility that many men would shun.

Overall Story Requirements

To reach a goal in the future, the “boyz” (and girls) in the hood need to listen to their parents and avoid the past situations with which they had to grapple.

Overall Story Prerequisites

Kids in the hood need to recall specific events and situations in their and others’ past that they can use as examples of what or what not to do for their future. For instance, they need to study to advance their education, they need to avoid the temptations of the hood, and they need to listen to their parents and learn from their experiences.

Overall Story Preconditions

The “boyz” are reminded of what has happened in the past and told to visualize what needs to happen to achieve their goal of the future: Ricky’s mother asks him to imagine the impact having another child will make on his future, and makes it clear that SHE doesn’t want to raise another child of his; Furious must visualize how to raise his son to be a man; and so forth.

Overall Story Forewarnings

Reva wants her son to understand the reason she is allowing Furious to raise him is to avoid a future in jail, as a drunk, or dead; Furious and Brandi understand that if Tre seeks retaliation for Ricky’s death, negative consequences will occur; Doughboy understands his actions may very well lead to an early demise; a young Doughboy and Chris don’t understand the consequences of stealing.

Plot Progression

Dynamic Act Appreciations

Overall Story

Overall Story Signpost 1

Everybody is concerned with how things stand in the hood; what is taught in the inner city elementary schools is not relevant to the world of inner city children; kids scoff at Furious’ offer to pay $5 to rake his lawn, knowing that they can make more money otherwise; life in the hood is volatile and violent with a high crime and a slow police response rate.

Overall Story Signpost 2

From the time Tre and his friends are children until they are teens, no progress toward a stable environment in the hood has been made; Tre is concerned with his progress with Brandi; Ricky is concerned with getting into college on a football scholarship; and so forth.

Overall Story Signpost 3

Brenda is sure Ricky will obtain a football scholarship, as he never was without a football as a child; Brandi lets go of her past resolution to wait until after marriage to have sex; Tre is faced with the past when he is harassed by the same cop who aggravated his father years ago; no one in the hood is learning from the past, as the violence goes on day after day.

Overall Story Signpost 4

Ricky is concerned with having a future, instead of living the dead-end life his brother leads; Furious and Reva discuss their son’s future; and so forth.

Main Character

Main Character Signpost 1

Tre learns that breaking the contract he agreed to with his mother means his father is to raise him; Tre learns life with father includes adhering to strict rules and regulations; to be a leader means learning three rules: always look a person in the eye, don’t be afraid to ask your father for anything, don’t respect anyone who doesn’t respect you.

Main Character Signpost 2

Tre is concerned with obtaining sexual experience.

Main Character Signpost 3

After the violence on the street and the harassment by cops, Tre comprehends the desolation of his living situation; Tre understands he can open up and share his emotions with Brandi, and still be a man.

Main Character Signpost 4

Tre sets out to avenge Ricky’s death.

Influence Character

Influence Character Signpost 1

Furious is concerned with fulfilling the role of a good father.

Influence Character Signpost 2

Furious does not want to become a grandfather before his time.

Influence Character Signpost 3

Furious shares his ideas about gentrification with Tre, Rick, and others. To avoid gentrification, he comes up with the idea of keeping everything in their neighborhoods black-owned.

Influence Character Signpost 4

Furious realizes that it is too late to implement any ideas he may have to prevent his son from seeking revenge for Ricky’s death.

Relationship Story

Relationship Story Signpost 1

Furious asks Tre to recall the house rules; Furious recollects how he felt about being a teen father, and how he wanted to be someone Tre could look up to; Furious makes Tre commit to memory the three rules to follow in order to become a leader.

Relationship Story Signpost 2

When Furious asks Tre about his sex life, Tre impulsively makes up a story about he and a girl to appear “macho” for his father. Furious reprimands Tre for not using condoms during sex. (Not a problem, since Tre lied about his sexual encounter.)

Relationship Story Signpost 3

In his gentrification speech, Tre learns from Furious why as African Americans they must resolve to unite, instead of fighting and killing each other-and eventually wiping out their race.

Relationship Story Signpost 4

After a discussion with Furious why seeking revenge against Ricky’s killers would be a poor course of action to take, Tre, fully aware of the detrimental consequences, still joins his friends in the endeavor.

Plot Progression Visualizations

Dynamic Act Schematics


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