“The Dream it’s Always Been: Fractured Narratives in Awake”

Zinder, Paul ORCID: 0000-0002-9578-4009 (2014) “The Dream it’s Always Been: Fractured Narratives in Awake”. In: National Conference Popular Culture Association American Culture Association, 16 - 19 April 2014, Chicago, Illinois. (Unpublished)

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Michael Britton, the psychologically damaged protagonist of the NBC series Awake, creates his own alternate reality as a subconscious response to his grief following a car accident that took the life of either his wife or his son. In the series’ “Pilot”, the viewer learns through Britton’s visits to two separate therapists in two separate realities, that he lives with his wife until he goes to sleep, only to awake the next day a widow, living at home with his son. The series’ season-long mystery questions whether the world he experiences with his wife and his male therapist, or the one he experiences with his son and his female therapist, denotes true reality. Awake utilizes a complex narrative structure that mirrors Britton’s psyche as he undertakes separate investigations in each of his realities as a police detective. While the story design of Awake initially depends on a dual episodic case-of-the-week construct, where his potential dream(s) offer clues that assist him in solving the mysteries of individual police cases in two different realities, the viewer is led to question why Britton begins to experience hallucinations in each reality, and whether these visions infer that a psychological breakdown may be imminent. The proposed essay offers a close-reading of the narrative construct of Awake, considering how the series’ dystopic viewpoint counters the ambiguous thematic concerns of more popular media texts that include alternate realities, including Lost (2004 – 2010), Inception (2010) and Fringe (2008 – 2013).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Paper presentation formed part of a panel session in the Television Area of the national conference of the Popular Culture Association.
Related URLs:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1992-1992.92 Television Broadcasts
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Creative Practice and Theory
Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2016 08:59
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2023 08:00
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3750

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