Essay #2: comparing novels and films. The proposal is due 3/21; the paper is due 4/4.
The idea of the assignment is to compare the book and film closely, not with a foregone conclusion that the book is better, but to see how a film narrative can supplement, surpass, change or (perhaps) lose something from the literary narrative.
- The choice is A Month in the Country, book and film; Namesake, book and film; or The Haunting of Hill House and (1963) Haunting. If you have written or given a talk on either or A Month in the Country, you must choose one of the other two pairs; if you have written or talked on both, you must choose The Haunting of Hill House and 1963 Haunting.
- a) Find one or more episodes in the novel dropped from the film and discuss why you think these were omitted and why you think they should be included. How would these episodes have contributed to the film story and changed its meaning;
- b) Find one or more scenes in the film not in the novel (or only implied) and discuss why you think these were added, and how they contributed to the film story's impact and changed its meaning from that of the boo; or
- c) Choose one or more scenes in the novel kept in the film and discuss why you think these could not be left out without changing the original story so fundamentally it would carry an entirely different set of meanings; in other words, why are these crucial hinge-points in the story and development of the characters.
- Your strategy would be a straight comparison paper. Use the terms you find in Corrigan's Writing about Film (there are further terms in a chapter on conventions and a glossary in the back of the book.
- For your conclusion you might if you like for the conclusion, suggest further changes you would have made -- either by remaining more faithful or departing more, to fulfill your idea of what the film and novel mean.
- Which pair of novels/films will you write about. The choice is A Month in the Country, book and film; Namesake, book and film, or The Haunting of Hill House and the 1983 Haunting (book and film). If you have written or given a talk about either A Month in the Country or The Namesake, you must chose one of the other two; if you have covered both, you must write on Haunting of Hill House and the 1963 Haunting. If you are curious about the 1999 Haunting, you could watch that on on your own and could substitute it for the 1963 Haunting, but I warn all students the later part of the 1999 Haunting is very different and much is changed in the earlier part of the film too.
- Which choice are you going to do? a, b, or c.
3. A provisional thesis: your thesis should concern why you provisionally think this scene or set of scenes should not have been dropped, made a good addition to the film as a film, or why they are so essential they must appear in both the novel and film.
- . The paper would correspond to what Corrigan calls a "formalist" paper -- one concerned with formal features, patterns, themes in the novel and film, but taken as a whole these things have important ideological import (this is a phrase which sums up what Mason and Dixon have shown us in the classic and popular children's books they discuss). So what would you say is the overt ideological project of the novel and/or film? Who does the author/film maker want us to empathize with and why? who is not sympathized with and why?
Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated: March 6, 2012.