Harold Crick and His Possessions in Stranger Than Fiction

In Stranger Than Fiction, Harold Crick’s identity seems to be dictated by his possessions. The narrator, or Karen Eiffel, constantly makes references to his all knowing wristwatch, that make the watcher think that his possessions know him better than he knows himself.  Throughout the movie, we see these possessions allow him to come to a conclusion about his own identity.

In the beginning of the movie, the narrator makes it clear that Harold lives a monotonous lifestyle. He does the same thing everyday- wakes up, brushes his teeth 76 times, leaves for the bus at the exact same time, and goes to sleep alone every night. He does these things often, looking at his wristwatch to time each of these activities. At times, the narrator makes it clear that the wristwatch knows more about Harold than he knows about himself, such as when Ana Pascal is passing him by on the street. The wristwatch blinks and beeps trying to tell Harold who is passing him by. He is unknowingly reliant on this possession for everything he does everyday. However, the wristwatch somehow shuts down and he has to restart it, but he is told the wrong time. After this, his whole lifestyle changes. He no longer wears neckties, he doesn’t count how many times he brushes his teeth, he starts a relationship with Ana. With the change of the time, he is able to form a new identity for himself.

Another instance of a possession allowing him to form his identity is when Harold buys the guitar. He does this after his wristwatch is reset. It is this guitar and his rendition of Whole Wide World that finally woo Ana. It opens him up to forming relationships in his previously lonesome life.

It is these possessions that allow Harold to form a new lifestyle, as well as the fact that he has been told via narration that a “ simple, seemingly innocuous act would result in his imminent death.” He is forced to reevaluate his life and with the help of his possessions, he is able to develop a new self-identity. In the end, it is his wristwatch that ends up saving his life, which even further demonstrates his dependence on his possessions.

-Frances Sisson

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