Word-Formation in Mark Boal’s The Hurt Locker
The repetition and development of unifying themes, ideas, and images within narratives are long-standing concerns in the literature on screenwriting. Four points of consensus concerning themes are evident: themes are 1) very few 2) are different from—but related to—the plotline 3) are oft-repeated and 4) are implicitly, rather than explicitly, stated. Several areas within the field of linguistics are relevant to these topics. Foremost among them is morphology, specifically word-formation—the rules by which new words are built upon the bases of other words, roots, or stems. This article considers the relationship of several kinds of word formation to thematic repetition in Mark Boal’s The Hurt Locker, the 2010 Academy-Award winner for best original screenplay. The morphological analysis reveals a pattern of thematic repetition extending to every scene of the screenplay and that encompasses the story’s underlying and unifying themes.