Sunday, March 3, 2013

Waiting for the Movie

I read two articles, "One Nation, Under Google, with Wikipedia Access for All: Information Entitlement" by Derrick Clements and "'Some Text': E.B. White's Web of Primary Texts" by Carlie Wallentine. These two made me think about the attitude of access toward different mediums of novels.

My little brother doesn't like to read. As much as it saddens me, he doesn't. When I read a book that amazes me, that keeps me up reading, I haven't given up begging that he give it a try. He always replies, "I'll wait for the movie." When I explain to him that they might not make it into the movie, he scoffs and says, "Then it must not be a very good book."

With a digitalized world, we've come to expect several different mediums from our primary sources. Why read Great Expectations when PBS made it into a movie? Why spend the time on Shakespeare when you can Sparknote it (for free, no less)?

Having access to several different mediums of a primary text is a wonderful thing. I myself enjoy watching different portrayals of Pride and Prejudice from the traditional Regency, to Bollywood, to a modernized vlogger version. But does easier mediums take away from people's decision to access the original? Do too many people expect a movie, and without a movie the book isn't worth a read?


  1. Such a great point Jenna. We live in a day where Hollywood is eating up adaptations for novels old and new alike. It seems everywhere we turn, our beloved novels are receiving the silver screen treatment, from The Great Gatsby to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It saddens me that some people choose to view a film as a substitute for reading the book. The two mediums provide entirely different experiences and really shouldn't even be compared to a certain degree. However, I believe that film is becoming the new literature of the day and that it would be wise for us to acknowledge the impact it is having on our culture and use that to inform those who aren't big readers. While film adaptations certainly deter some from reading the book, I think most of the time, it reignites the fuel that feeds the fire to explore a book. I imagine there are few books that have not experienced a huge spike in sales when they have received a film treatment, because they almost always have a rerelease featuring a new cover that resembles a poster for the movie with the seal "NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE" emblazoned upon it.

    To answer your question, I'd say that ultimately, there are more people willing to experiment with the printed word after viewing the film than not.

  2. I think so too, Josh, but I think that they are often disappointed, as well! I am reminded of my recent experience being horrified by Les Miserables. I know, I know, it's the best movie of the century etc., but you have to understand it is my favorite book. I read it unabridged! Then I read it in French! I'd never seen the musical, so I was picturing some beautiful retelling of the book--and was just scarred after seeing it. It wasn't even close to the book! (I've calmed down a lot since, and I'm planning on seeing the musical and then watching the movie again, but it was really depressing at first). The mediums are just different. Movies provide all the visual that books require you to imagine in your own mind. I'm not sure what that means, but it's definitely important.

  3. I agree with both of you, Josh and Dia. I also think though that just as books can inspire movies, movies will inspire going back to the book. And I agree too that horrible movie adaptions can misrepresent the book it adapted from. But look at the success of Harry Potter. Even with those mishaps, (the actor for Harry did not have green eyes, and the actress for his mother had brown eyes, and an entire motif of 'Harry has his mother's eyes' is ruined) it still inspired people to go back to the book. Recently I saw Life of Pi and remember reading it in high school. Visually seeing Pi existing with the zoo animals in a movie made the book scenes and descriptions A LOT clearer. To connect this all to our eBook, it will be very important for us not to misrepresent Renaissance texts too. And like movies sometimes do to books, we can either over-embellish or understate the importance of the source. Have to find the happy medium and how to do that will be trick.