The Kugelmass Episode

by Woody Allen

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Student Question

How does Woody Allen manipulate narrative reality in "The Kugelmass Episode"?

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Woody Allen uses a story-within-a-story narrative to create complexity within his short story “The Kugelmass Episode.” Allen’s main character, Kugelmass, discovers a magician with a magic box who can place him in the narrative of other stories. Kugelmass uses this discovery to escape his boring and drab life (his own story line) and enter the literary world of someone else. Kugelmass considers taking various literary lovers including Sister Carrie, Hester Prynne, Ophelia and Temple Drake. He selects Emma Bovary, a bored French housewife, who is looking to cheat on her dull husband, Charles. As Kugelmass transports himself into Madame Bovary, readers around the world notice the story changes.  Allen creates a story line that can alter the story line of other works.

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