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Literature / Framed

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Framed is a British novel written by Frank Cottrell Boyce in 2004 . Set in a fictional British town of Manod, it follows the life of the young boy Dylan Hughes, whose father runs the local auto repair shop. When the going gets tough financially, his father is forced to go and work in another town to keep the family afloat, effectively leaving him in charge of the family business. At the same time, the local slate mine has been converted into the temporary storage of paintings from the British Museum following particularly severe floods. A stroke of luck grants him a meeting with the art gallery manager and a unique access to the paintings stored there.

Tropes featured in this novel include:

  • Conspiracy Theorist: The local butcher is a relatively mild version: he is only absolutely convinced that he’s met Elvis back in the 1990’s and doesn’t subscribe to anything else. He has even done a drawing of the moment on the local park’s fence. when he gets better after seeing one of the pictures at the gallery, he takes it down with a chainsaw.
  • Diary: Used here as a framing device, as each chapter begins with an entry into one, recording the cars passing by their shop, the orders they had plus a particular plot-crucial reference.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: The mother of the family is very much depressed regarding their outlook on life. She does get better when she’s shown the picture with umbrellas, however.
  • Mother Nature, Father Science: Here it’s framed as art vs. engineering but the outcome is the same. The art gallery inspector only considers the paintings and such as art, and refuses to consider the blasted cave as art, instead calling it a work of engineering. He’s called out on it when he finds a Mini Cooper work of art, which would clash with these criteria.
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  • Name's the Same: The entire plot is started when the art gallery inspector notices the two chickens, finds out they were named Michelangelo and Donatello and thinks it’s because Dylan is interested in painters. In reality, he’s just a Ninja Turtles fan, but now has to try his best to hide it.
  • Old Shame: For the Tom, a guy who works in their store, it’s the one time he attempted to rob it and failed terribly. Since then, he’s reformed and doesn’t ever want to go back to it.
  • Promoted to Parent: When their father leaves them, Dylan effectively now has to act as in his role for the family.
  • A Simple Plan: Averted with their eventual idea to steal the picture. The planning for it is fairly complex, but the end result is very much simple picture is rapidly returned and the insurance representatives are given a replica, which they’re quickly called out on.
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  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Dylan is frequently seen as one by others.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Dylan's sister Minnie often gives off this vibe.


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