Is “Where the Crawdads Sing” Based On a True Story? Everything You Need To Know

The hype surrounding the movie “Where the Crawdads Sing” clearly makes it a winner. Reese Witherspoon’s production company, Hello Sunshine has taken charge of giving a visual representation of Delia Owen’s novel having the same name. The fans of the novel were more than just excited to see the final outcome of the film when it was released back in July 2022.

Star Daisy Edgar makes a deep connection with the viewers with her role of Kya and now that the film has dropped on Netflix, we will get to learn why it has such a craze build-up. However, the main question that still lingers in one’s mind is whether “Where the Crawdads Sing” is based on a true story? It has been one of the most popular questions and of course, we are here to quench your thirst to know more.

Is “Where the Crawdads Sing” Based on A True Story?

We get it, the story has been convincing enough to make all believe that “Where the Crawdads Sing” is inspired by a real-life story. However, let us point straight that “Where the Crawdads Sing” is a fictional story and there is no connection with reality. The movie narrates the story of a real-life woman who is currently living somewhere in the marshes of North Carolina. She took shelter there after being accused of murdering her former love interest.

However, the main reason to assume that “Where the Crawdads Sing” is a true story is because it has an uncanny resemblance with the author, Owens’s past. You may now know Owens to be an author but her life before that was different. Owens and her then-husband Mark Owens were a conservationist in Africa.

Their main focus was to protect the elephants from poachers. In fact, ABC also covered them as the subject for the 1996 special, “Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story”. It covers Mark and Delia’s conflict and tension with the local poachers. 

is where the crowds sang based on a true story
is where the crowds sang based on a true story

In one of the episodes, Mark was seen instructing scouts who are the wildlife protectors assigned by the Zambian government to take their hit at poachers and shoot them whenever seen to make an entry into the national park with firearms. Later in one episode, it was shown one alleged poacher was shot dead when entered the campsite and the shooter’s uniform clearly indicates that it was a scout.

Thus, an open homicide investigation is still going on to this day by the Zambian government. Moreover, the alleged poacher’s identity has not been disclosed as of now. In a 2010 New Yorker article, a more complicated story was shared by Jeffrey Goldberg that detailed Owens’s involvement in the shooting and everything associated with the case.

That is why fans were convinced that Delia was trying to tell her own story through “Where the Crawdads Sing” but that is not the case. The story is fictional.

Are There Any Given Similarities Between “Where the Crawdads Sing” and Owens’s Past Life Story?

If you have read “Where the Crawdads Sing”, you may have already spotted certain similarities. In the 2019 Slate piece, Laura Miller the writer provided a detailed comparison between Owens’ real-life incident and that of the story of protagonist Kya.

The first similarity is that of a “righteous” murder after which the killer is walking free. In the story of Kya, we see Chase trying to rape her and automatically becoming the villain. Plus, she was also an outsider. Miller writes, “Although Kya is, in fact, guilty, the book frames her trial as unfair, the targeting of a mistreated outsider by a community incapable of justice”.

Thus, this was a situational comparison with her case in Africa where she was also an outsider. Besides, there were symbolic comparisons as well like, “After all, isn’t Chase, like that nameless poacher, a bad man, who got his just deserts even if his killing technically violates the law of the land?”

Being an author, you have the freedom to express personal experiences in the way you want. Though she didn’t totally jump off to the story of the poacher’s death, the story touches on certain sensitive parts.

Final Words

“Where the Crawdads Sing” is still labeled as a fictional story but there are real-life elements that you cannot ignore. Do a thorough comparison of the situations and the answer will be right in front of you.

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