Harold and Maude – Literary Elements

Young, rich, and obsessed with death, Harold finds himself changed forever when he meets lively septuagenarian Maude at a funeral.

1) What is the point of view of the movie?

2) What is the plot of the movie?


How does the boy meet the girl?

How does the boy lose the girl?

Funeral Crashing Rules | Hugh Fox III

How does the boy get the girl?

3) Describe the following characters using the Fox Character Analysis Pyramid which includes name/title, physical appearance, personality, character’s role, character’s problems/challenges, major accomplishments, cultural context, and world view.

Ruth Gordon as Maude

Ruth Gordon as Dame Marjorie “Maude” Chardin, a 79-year-old free spirit who wears her hair in braids. Maude believes in living each day to its fullest, and “trying something new every day”. Her view of life is so joyful that, true to the film’s motif, it crosses a blurred, shifting line into a carefree attitude toward death as well. We know little of her past, except that as a young woman she lived in pre-war Vienna, was once married, and has a Nazi concentration camp tattoo on one arm.

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Bud Cort as Harold Parker Chasen

Bud Cort as Harold Parker Chasen, a young man in his 20s who is obsessed with death. He drives a hearse, attends funerals of strangers, and stages elaborate fake suicides. Through meeting and falling in love with Maude, he discovers joy in living for the first time.


Vivian Pickles as Mrs. Chasen, Harold’s opulently wealthy mother, is controlling, snooty, and seemingly incapable of affection. Hoping to force him into respectability, Mrs. Chasen replaces Harold’s beloved hearse with a Jaguar (which he then converts to a miniature hearse), and sets up several blind dates, or more accurately, “bride interviews” with young women. It is clear that she, not Harold, will make the final choice.

Is characterization direct or indirect?

Are the characters flat or round?

Are the characters dynamic or static?


Dynamic vs. Static Character

Static vs. Dynamic Character

Is Harold a static or dynamic character?

Is Maude a static or dynamic characters?

4) What is the theme of the movie?

5) What is the setting of the movie?  How important is the setting?

6) What is the genre of the movie?

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7) Does the movie have any love lessons?

How are Harold and Maude opposites?

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How are Harold and Maude similar?

Birds of a feather flock together

Birds of a Feather Flock Together Sample

Do opposites attract or do birds of a feather fly together?


Heterophily – Wikipedia

Heterogamy – Wikipedia

Homophily – Wikipedia

Homogamy (sociology) – Wikipedia

8) What are the conflicts of the movie?

Does Harold suffer from some sort of Oedipus Complex?

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Worksheet at Scribd:

Wikipedia Entry

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