Sam Raimi’s A Simple Plan: Context

Directed by Sam Raimi in 1998. Based on the novel (same name) by Scott Smith.

  1. What is Raimi’s purpose?


  1. What does secular mean? What does humanism mean?
  2. How have these perspectives influenced Raimi’s portrayal of the notion of greed?
  3. What do Raimi’s three “rioters” desire? How do their desires reflect secular/humanistic values?
  4. What consequences do Raimi’s “rioters”, Hank, Jacob and Lou fear? How do these fear reflect changes in context?
  5. At the end, Hank does not die like the rioters. How is this an ending more appropriate for Raimi’s audience?
  6. How does Raimi visually show us the absence of religion in the film?


  1. What is the American Dream? What is idealised and what are its values?
  2. What does Raimi suggest to us about the American Dream and its  pursuit?
  3. What class of people do Hank, Jacob and Lou represent?
  4. How do Hank, Jacob and Lou’s situations and the setting reflect the economic decline of the 1980s and 1990s (particularly in the rural sector)?


  1. What kind of role does Sarah play in the plot?
  2. How is her role reflective of changes in context regarding the role/position of women?


  1. What types of visual language does Raimi use? Consider setting, motifs, symbolism etc.
  2. What kind of narrative structure has Raimi used and why?


  1. Interesting article on the American Dream in A Simple Plan:
  2. Bored of Studies resources on A Simple Plan: Use Ctrl+F “simple plan” to locate the specific resources. In particular, this comparison of between A Simple Plan and The Pardoner’s Tale is really good:
  3. Short and simple comparison between A Simple Plan and The Pardoner’s Tale:

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