Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/34649
This paper looks at the art of adaptation, specifically the move from page to screen/stage, through the lens of three films from the early aughts: Spike Jonze’s Adaptation, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, and Joel and Ethan Coen’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? The analysis identifies three main adaptation-related themes woven throughout each of these films, namely, duality/the double, artistic madness/genius, and meta-commentary on the art of adaptation. Ultimately, the paper seeks to argue that contrary to common opinion, adaptations need not be viewed as derivatives of or secondary to their source text; rather, just as in nature species shift, change, and evolve over time to better suit their environment, so too do (and should) narratives change to suit new media, cultural mores, and modes of storytelling.
The analysis begins with a theoretical framing that draws on T.S. Eliot’s, Linda Hutcheon’s, Kamilla Elliott’s, and Julie Sanders’s thoughts about the art of adaptation. The framing then extends to notions of duality/the double and artistic madness/genius, both of which feature prominently in the films discussed herein. Finally, the framing concludes with a discussion of postmodernism, and the basis on which these films can be situated within the postmodern artistic landscape.
The paper then goes on to analyze Adaptation, Birdman, and O Brother, Where Art Thou? with respect to the light these films can shed on the literary endeavor of adaptation. Finally, the analysis concludes with a brief discussion of a similarly provocative film, Darron Aronofsky’s Black Swan, and a synthesis of the main points gleaned from placing these three movies in conversation not only with literary and adaptation theorists, but also with one another.
The central thesis of the paper is that adaptations should not be viewed as derivative of, secondary to, or parasites of their source texts; rather, we should celebrate the multifarious ways in which stories, much like species in the natural world, morph and shift and adapt to different environments over time. The more we can embrace the kaleidoscopic lives that a single narrative goes on to live, the richer and more robust our appreciation of stories and the human experience will become.
|MA ESSAY - Literature Culture Media - Adaptation.pdf||667.33 kB||Open||Complete Text||View/Open|
|Doc Jan 01, 2020, 11-02.pdf||299.26 kB||Locked||Declaration of Access|