Stranger Than Fiction and Frankenstein

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1 diciembre, 2012 por jesusfgarciareyes

Sebastián Ducoing Sisto

Rewrite or adaptation

As a hypertext[1] of Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein, Stranger than fiction is a rewrite[2] rather than an adaptation[3]; this is because the main character can be seen by the viewer as the tragic monster that is described in Mary Shelley´s novel, but also because the director reunites many other ideas that may not have a direct relation to the movie but that are also important.

The Monster

Harold Crick is the main character of the movie Stranger than Fiction  and he works at the IRS[4] as a tax agent, as a consequence, he is hated by almost every citizen in New York. His job is the main instance that makes Harold the monster. The other characteristic that may make Harold Crick more monster-like is his awkward conduct and his obsession at being neat and methodical in everything, because he never interacts with anyone unless he is working.


Little did he know

At a certain point of the story Harold becomes aware that his own life is being narrated. At first this female voice bothers him but there is a phrase that she says that would mark his story as a tragedy[5] and it is “little did he know that this simple seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death”. The simple but also head-aching phrase is more than what it hears like: “little did he know and its variations meant mandatory point of deduction” (Roger Hutton).

The whole phrase changes completely the course of the story and creates a doubt, if the story is a comedy[6] or a tragedy.

Understanding his own story

Throughout the movie there are also various points where Harold discovers things, very important facts that changed the course of the story. Those points are related to Frankenstein´s staying at the De Lacey cottage; it is there where he gets the knowledge that makes him aware of what he is; it is there where he becomes certain that he is a monster. There is one difference between Harold and Frankenstein: that while Frankenstein cannot change his being a monster, Harold can. Miss Pascal is the reason ,why Harold changes his way of living and acting, she is what, in the case of Frankenstein ,was never found, a person that would understand him.


Meet your maker

Karen Eiffel is in Stranger than Fiction the omniscient[7] voice, the writer that tells the story, the creator of Harold Crick´s events. Relating her to Doctor Victor Frankenstein is completely correct in this case because she is the maker and she acts almost the same as Victor when her creation makes the proposal for a happy conclusion. This takes out the Meet your Maker concept which describes the meeting between “God” with another individual as a creation of his (Meet your Maker is usually used for when a person dies).


In the movie, epiphanies a represented with circles, they are the circular windows at Pascal´s bakery, the apple that falls down at the sidewalk when Karen goes out for cigarettes, Harold´s watch and the round window guitar shop.

An example of these epiphanies is how Karen finally discovers the way to kill Harold Crick just after the apple falls down.


 Deus Ex Machina[9]

As one of the concepts that are not related to The Monster of Frankenstein; Deus Ex Machina, coming from god out of the machine, appears in Stranger than FictionThe Deus ex Machina may be an object, character, ability, etc. that solves the plot or problem in a story. This is what saves Harold from being part of the tragedy that was thought to be imminent. In this case the Deus ex Machina is Harold´s watch; the watch saves Harold from the bus because when it crashes with the front window from the bus it takes the most impact.


As heroes, both Frankenstein and Harold Crick follow a similar path; both paths are characterized by the different contexts in which they are happening. There are moments in both stories in which this similar path breaks and those moments designate a certain end for their stories. This is where they are classified as comedy (in the case of Harold) and tragedy (in the case of Frankenstein).


Works Cited

-Shelley, MaryFrankenstein. New York: New American Library, 1963 (print)

Stranger than Fiction. Dir. Marc Forster. DVD. Columbia Pictures, 2006

-Stein, Jess and Laurence Urdang(eds). The Random House Dictionary for English Language. New York: Random House inc, 1967(print)

– (electronic) checked 16/4/2012

–   Sutton, Roger. Little did he Know, Chicago: The Horn Book inc., 2007(electronic) checked 16/4/2012 (electronic) checked 16/4/2012

[1]Hypertext: related to linking one text with another, can also be used to compare films, songs, poems, etc..

[2] Rewrite: to write in another form or manner; in this case  a rewrite is a noun and it is related to making another book, film, song, etc… using some elements from the original idea and re-appropriating it.

[3] Adaptation: an Adaptation takes a story or idea from any kind of media (such as films, songs, poems, pictures, etc…) and converts it to another media trying not to take out any detail and to make it as close as possible to the original idea or story.

[4] IRS(internal revenue service): U.S. government agency responsible for tax collection and tax law enforcement.

[5] Tragedy: a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror

[6] Comedy: A dramatic composition, or representation of a bright and amusing character, based upon the foibles of individuals, the manners of society, or the ludicrous events or accidents of life; a play in which mirth predominates and the termination of the plot is happy; — opposed to tragedy.

[7] Omniscient: is the capacity to know everything infinitely, or at least everything that can be known about a character including thoughts, feelings, life and the universe, etc.

[8] Epiphanies: the sudden realization of great truth

[9] Deus Ex Machina: New Latin, a god from a machine, translation of Greek theos ek mēchanēs: a person or thing (as in fiction or drama) that appears or is introduced suddenly and unexpectedly and provides a contrived solution to an apparently insoluble difficulty



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