THE PRACTICE OF ADAPTATION

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Adoption is a term that describes the process of adapting to a new meaning, feature, or environment; it can also be interpreted as the transformation of one thing into something else. Adoption, according to Hutcheon (2102), is an alerted version of a text, musical composition, poem, or short story that is adapted for film, broadcasting, or television production on the stage of a book or other literary source. There are several reasons for the adoption, including the fact that first novels have a built-in audience ready to see the film, which gives the art a new level of popularity by borrowing literary forms. Another aspect is the commercial appeal to adaptation. Movies are usually made after accredited and appreciated novels, which are unlikely to become failures. Authors are likely to find an audience of many million through television. There is also the educational reason why adapting literature into films is necessary.

Adoption is commonly associated with novels being translated into movies. It should be noted that some films such as Hitchcock’s The wrong Man (1957) was an adapted newspaper story. Carlos Diegues’s Veja esta cancao changes a Brazilian popular song with the same title. Historical movies change ancient texts such as Reds (1981).

Film adaption is widespread; this is because stories have been written, making the prospect of adaptation simple one. If the book is the first in a series, especially a popular one, there is a possibility that film distributor may capitalize on lucrative merchandise. For example, the Twilight became a success while the Golden Compass (2007) failed. There are plenty of illustration of a book to film adaption that disappointed viewers, those familiar with original text and outsiders to the story who only exposure to it is the film adaption. This failure can be attributed to poor theming, inability to create conversation and poor translation of events. Adaptation acquires meaning in the same way as translation.

Mcfarlane (2008) described three approaches employed by filmmakers to understand the process of adoption; the medium-specific approach and the comparative approach.

Medium-specific approach

This theory argues that each media is different with its conventions, artistically values and methods. Hence work produced must be unique from other work generated by another medium. This theory is a comparison study which starts by finding a resemblance between text source and movie then ends by loudly showing their difference. The major shortcoming of this methodology is that the novel and the film remain separate institutions with each trying to bring the best by exporting unique and distinct properties. Using this method, it is realized that not only are there similarities between raw text and adoption; there are oblivious contradistinction between the adapted movie and novel which affirms the topic statement by Stam and Raengo

Comparative approach

This theory overcomes the antipathy for approval by applying the assumption that the end product is inferior to the source text, and tries to concentrate on the process of adaptation is possible. The comparative approach is keen on the book to film “Faithfulness” since it allows for the analysis of the differences between the two media for possibilities of convergence and fidelity in adoption. It is important to note that analysis using the comparative approach, adoption theory is made possible by clearly making boundaries between the story and discourse. Shortcomings of this approach include the degree of equivalence that can be found between the two media and what possibilities of convergence have been realized.

Types of Adoptions

There are three types of adoption. The first category is the faithful impression; the second group retains the basic structure of the storyline while changing the interpretation of some texts, and the third class regards the material source as feedstock. Heart of Darkness (1902) by Conrad adapted for Apocalypse Now (1979) is a good example that belongs to the third category. Regardless of the type of adoption method used, the success of a movie depends on its fidelity to the text. Many movies do try to be faithful to their source. Approval doesn’t mean direct translation from the text of origin into the new form, but as a current work of art, it should portray a relation with its source.

Borrowing as a way of adoption implies that the narrative has its roots in some earlier source, on that has probably appeared throughout cultural history in multiple forms. A good example includes Borrowing from the Bible to create biblical stories.

Intersection, as defined by Stam, is the effect opposite of borrowing. The uniqueness of the source text perseveres to such an extent that it is intentionally left unassimilated in adoption. The third method deals with adoption fidelity to the source. Fidelity under adoption refers to faithfulness to both the “letter” and the “spirit” of the original work. The letter of the text can be recreated mechanically while fidelity to the minds of the book means loyalty to its tone, rhythm, imagery, and values, and it’s often harder to transform these intangibles into their film equivalents. GoodFellas (1990) is a good example of intersecting form of adoption since it uses voice –over narration and the fact that the author of the original work also has an authorial role in his books adaption to the screen. This connection between the adoption and the original contributes to its strong fidelity to both the letter and the spirit of the text as well.

Narration

There exist a distinction that has to be drawn between many storytelling modes as they develop in a book and how they are sustained in the film narrative. Some of this modes include the first-person, the omniscient, a mixture of both, and the use of ‘restricted awareness.’ This method significantly influences the narration procedures adopted by the films. First-person narration, this analogy attempts to bridge the own description portrayed in a movie and the novel’s first person narration, incorporating the original dialogues of each character surrounded by a progression. Discourses defined a known and identified narrator who may or may not play an active role in the plot of the source text. The goal of narrations to give an account for the novel’s “narrator” in the film and concept of “point of view.” In Stam’s study of “the mechanic of narratives” (Stam, 2008) he deals with time in the novel under three principal categories, order, duration, and frequency.

Order

The order defines the order of events, the plot, it can also be defined as the art of arranging events or incidents to make up a story.

Duration

Duration refers to the complex relation that existences between discourse time and that varsity impossibility about how long a made up lasted

Frequency

This describes the relationship between how many times an event occurs in a film and how many time it is told in the source text.

Language in Films

Films, unlike verbal language it does not have a vocabulary, it lacks any syntax structuring. However, there are convention codes that describe its operation. This code enables us to read the film narrative since we ascribe meaning to them through frequent exposure to their deployment in a particular way. There are several codes categories such as; language codes which responds to distinct tones of voice, visual codes which include interpretative and the selective, non-linguistics sound codes, and cultural codes which describe how people live or lived at a particular time and place.

In Moving from novel to film there is a symbolic difference, including the difference between the two languages system, one works wholly symbolic while the other works with codes, tense: film cannot present action in past as a novel, and films are spatial orientation which gives it a physical presence denied to the unique linearity.

Another notable distinction between telling and presenting a narration is located in the way which the novel met language is replaced at least in part. In a scene, the story is not told rather it is presented

The Story/Plot Distinction

According to Stam and Raengo, film adoption can be a ‘bad’ object in discourse due to the difference in the stories told and presented. Moving from novel to film has problems, but this does not create room for the differences. The story/plot distinction must be identified; Story is the primary sequence of event in the raw material while Plot is the representation of the unique way in which events are made unfamiliar, creatively formed and defamiliarized. It is essential that the difference is noted since it plays a crucial role in characterization, although the novel and the film share the same story.

Screenplays for standards films run around 100 pages while the novel normally is more than 2000 pages, thus when a book is adapted to a movie the story is shortened. The directors decide to compress the film content to meet this standard. These compressions include cutting of plot lines, removal of sub plots, an omission of events and characters, transfer of actions to a limited number of locations, language simplification and making dialogues shorter. However, sometimes filmmakers find the need to add actions or dialogue to close narrative gaps. A good example is the adoption of William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet by Kenneth Branagh. Although he manages to capture most of the play within standards time and loses the audience between scenes in the original text. Adoption requires consideration of space, time and language since it involves the transfer of words into a performance.

The most successful adoptions have the origin as stories that have defined the novel concept. Films such as Jurassic Park, Sorcerer’s stone, Shrek and the lords of the rings have these stories, the hero visible charter and goals are defined. Adoption has to set central characters and single goal that is to be achieved.

Culture

For a truly successful interpretation, culture is more important than bilingualism; Text only has a meaning concerning culture in which they function. This means that translation refers to comparing cultures of the novel and the target audience. People of different cultures differ regarding how they create messages and build utterances, and sociocultural context they apply these statements too is different. It is important to be aware that adoption is subject to the fact that translator can take into account both the original and the target cultures, and has an awareness of the differences and, can act as a mediator between the two cultures, one should make a decision of which culture the translation is suitable. Roulston differentiates between the various kinds of sociocultural characteristics of a source text which may cause sociocultural adoption (Roulston 2010). The difference in the way of creating an abstraction of a notion, the tendency to generalize or abstract ideas. The difference in syntactic and discourse organization and lexical meaning of two languages pose challenges in the cross cultural adoption of text into films which can fail the movie.

Domestication aids in the translation of a particular cultural aspect of source languages such that they can fit into the target culture norms. Foreignization is the direct opposite of the above process; it aims at borrowing or transferring directly those specific concepts that can’t be adapted at all.

The Novel Linearity and Film Spatiality

To for an adoption to be a success, there is a need to construct meaning from the adaptive text, by taking books as they appear on the page. This facilitates viewers with a chance to grasp a scene. The physical film settings must strictly follow linearly or try using symbols set out, for the most part, to ensure linearity with the novel. Adoption becomes involved and fails because the filmmakers do not care to interpret the source material correctly. The success of children’s stories such as How to train your Dragon (2010), Harry Potter films and Catching Fire (2103) can be attributed to linearity, and sequential follow of the movie and source novels.

In A companion to literature and film, Stam and Raengo observes that while a movie appears analogous in relying on sequentiality of viewing time. An author forces his/her readers to see characters through imagination but in a film adaption of the same lacks that compelling power of imagination to the viewers.

Narrative Functions

The story is made up of services which signify everything. There are two categories of narrative functions. They include the distribution and integration services. Distributional function defines actions, location, and events, they are smooth, and they are combined linearly throughout the book. On the other hand integrational function refers to the concepts that bring out the meaning of the story. For instance, psychological information relating to characters and the representation of place. The integrational function is vertical, they influence the readers of the story in a pervasive way instead of a linear way, and these features don’t refer to operations but functions of being.

Pleasures of Adaptation

Adaption can be of mutual benefits to the original work and the film adapting it. Books helped by adoption can be reprinted with the picture from the movie with the slogan “Now a major motion picture.” In the same way, the film can benefit from not only the book fan base but also using its name as a marketing strategy. Adoption should never pretend that they are not adapting. This implies that there are instances which a film is not classified as adoption because it is never acknowledged or the book is not well known. However, adoption should be recognized by anyone who is familiar with the source text. Other reason for the huge attraction to watching and making adoptions, give rise to a desire to create. Being excited by writers work filmmakers may find the desire to sharing this aesthetic understanding by finishing the literary work and through their curiosity they try to find out ways in which this wholesome art can be transformed to the screen. Filmic modifications dim the interface between the various types of media, they force the translators to enter into the surface of a written sources, to analysis out what lies below that surface and recreate it in the visual medium.

The complexity of an artistic work represents a superior challenge to the reader since the world it portrays is an open-ended world which is left to be completed as the reader is in the process of reading the text. The users are made to create their ideas regarding this world by bringing together pieces of visions of both the directly and indirectly articulated. An adaptation request the viewers to discuss not only the film itself but also their private readings of the adapted text, for it gives them an opportunity to see how the cinematically active readers have responded to the book.

Adoption of interpretation doesn’t have to gather all the events and actions of the complexity of the text, but it has to maintain a work of art, independence, coherent and convincing recreation. It has to be faithful to the internal creation logic of the new version of the adapted creation. Film adaptations can also be viewed in the context of a source text generating other documents. Film adaptation studies should be able to identify how a movie version amplifies, ignores, subverts, transforms or extends the meaning of a source text. The book of origin gets influenced by the prevailing ideological discourses of the day in its transformation towards a film version. The film adaptation of a novel is also largely dependent on the political constraints, auteurs predilections, charismatic stars and the new technology.

Conclusion

Adoption of text into a film if done correctly within the fidelity and using the right approach can be a great success. Hutcheon developed a theory that focuses on nature of human engagement with various kind of adoption, and these engagement models include: telling way (e.g. novels), showing the method (e. g. film), and interactive mode (e.g. video games). The first two approaches involved too many activities for her respondents since they included activities like reading, watching and listening. The third mode of engagement allowed them to participate physically in the adapted texts, by acting as one of the characters. Involving the participants make it a success with the final product of adoption. Poor adaptation leads to the view of ‘bad’ object discourse.

Reference

Hutcheon, L., 2012. A theory of adaptation. Routledge.

Stam, R. and Raengo, A. eds., 2008. A companion to literature and film. John Wiley & Sons.

Roulston, K., 2010. Reflective interviewing: A guide to theory and practice. Sage.

MCFARLANE, B. (2008). Screen Adaptations: a close study of the relationship between text and film. London, A & C Black

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