Study Guide

Fredric Jameson Files

First draft of a screenplay about the life of Fredric Jameson.

Tentatively titled:
From Early Childhood to Late Capitalism: The Story of Fredric Jameson

INT. CHILD'S BEDROOM—Day

Mr. and Mrs. Jameson stand in the doorway wistfully observing their child playing in his room.

MRS. JAMESON
                                                     I really thought that this time we picked
                                                     the right game.

MR. JAMESON
                                                    Now, honey, these things take time.

MRS. JAMESON
     But what child doesn't want to play
                                                     Monopoly? It's just not, well, normal. (Weeps)

MR. JAMESON
                                                    Now, honey. It's not that he's not playing the
                                                    game, per se; it's just that he's not playing
                                                    according to the rules.

MRS. JAMESON
      Is it because I drank coffee when I was
                                                      pregnant? He just sits there, taking all of the game
                                                      pieces and putting them in and out of jail. Over and over…
                                                      It's unnerving. And the way he looks at the Luxury Tax
                                                      card. Such anger!

DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. RANDOM EUROPEAN CAPITAL—DAY

Fredric in his early twenties. People hurriedly brushing past him on a busy sidewalk. He looks as if in a trance. A thrashed copy of The Wall Street Journal hangs out of his trench coat pocket.

STRANGER (bumping into him)                                                              Watch it, buddy!

    FREDRIC
                                                          Uh, sorry, sir.

His attention is drawn to something. As if in a trance, he moves toward the window of a rundown bookstore. His hot breath steams up the window. Fredric's hand reaches up and slowly draws a dollar sign in the steam. In frustration, he quickly wipes it away.

INT. BOOKSTORE

BOOKSELLER
                                                       Hello, son. Anything I can help you with?

FREDRIC (stammering)
Uh, yes. That book in the window. With the froggish
looking man on the cover. What is that? What is Being and Nothingness?

BOOKSELLER
                                              Well, son. That's Jean-Paul Sartre! He's
                                              got all sorts of ideas in there about how men aren't trees—
                                              they're men; and as a result of not being, they can change
                                              through the decisions they make. How a man acts in the
                                              world creates who he is. Existence precedes essence, and all that. Not so much for trees…

FREDRIC
I'll take it, please…

FADE…