The Good of Films

     Within the birth of films came the birth of film adaptations. For better or worse, film adaptations have become part of our pop-war culture. In today's world, whether it is a classic or new best seller--it does not matter that there is a film to go along with the literary work. So how do these films help us to understand the literary works that they are adapted from? Films add a visual element; they allow us to understand difficult literary works; and, in this fast-paced world today, they are short enough for us to sit down and watch.

     The visual element gives us something new that helps us understand the author's original statement. With The Innocents, directed in 1961 by Jack Clayton, I was able to understand the story so much better than The Turn of the Screw. Written in 1898 by Henry James, this novella about a governess and two possibly possessed children in a country home was confusing and vague. The film, with its visual depiction of the characters and events, was just more concrete.

     As for the language again the films clear up any questions. After reading Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontė, I was confused about some things. The 1939 film, directed by William Wyler, destroyed the barrier between old and new ways of speaking.

     The last way film adaptation help us understand written literature is that films give us a quicker alternative to reading the literature. People with careers and families have very busy lives and really do not have the time to sit and read such long novels as Wuthering Heights. Beyond that, we have so much more entertainment to choose from today from video games and amusement parks. The films give the literary works a large audience of people who normally would not read the books.

     In all, films have helped us to better understand literary works. Though films can never replace reading literary works, they are at least adding to the experience.

Lisa Graham

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