Posts Tagged ‘Film Adaptation’

Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice
by Jane Austen
ISBN: 9780141439518
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Date of Publication: 2002 (Originally Published in 1813)

Reader’s Annotation:
Elizabeth Bennet struggles with balancing the needs of her family when a new neighbor moves near the Bennet’s family home.

Plot Summary:
Elizabeth Bennet is the second-oldest daughter of the Bennet household. Her older sister is named Jane and she has three younger sisters; Mary, Catherine “Kitty” and Lydia. Jane and Elizabeth are the more mature sisters, while Kitty and Lydia enjoy their immaturity. Mary is the quiet one, preferring to study instead.

Mr. Bennet, the father of the girls, has a dry-wit and enjoys irritating his wife. Mrs. Bennet is an excitable woman whose only focus is successfully marrying her daughters off to single eligible men. She often pushes potential relationships at the expense of her daughters’ humility, creating more trouble than success. Her reasons for her actions do lie in necessity. Mr. Bennet has no male heirs and the house will go to his nephew, Mr. Collins, when he dies. The girls will be left with nothing.

As the story begins, news of the Bennet’s new neighbor have reached the household. Mrs. Bennet is excited in that Mr. Bingley is wealthy and single. When the Bennet household meets Mr. Bingley, he becomes instantly smitten with Jane, and she with him. During this first encounter, the Bennet family meets a friend of Mr. Bingly, a wealthier young man by the name of Mr. Darcy. A quiet, proud man, Mr. Darcy insults Elizabeth in their first meeting, leading her to have a harsh opinion of his character. At the same time, a regiment of soldiers have settled in the area. Elizabeth befriends one of the soldiers who has a past connection with Mr. Darcy.

From these different meetings, miscommunication and misunderstanding begin to emerge and all parties involved find themselves to be in a fine mess of their own doing. But who is right and who is wrong? And what does it mean for the Bennet sisters?

Critical Evaluation:
Jane Austen’s classic about misunderstandings continues to be an influence on modern literature and modern popular culture. Many romantic comedies continue to use the format, most famously Bridget Jones Diary which was an adaption of Austen’s material. Austen’s ability to observe and comment on the absurdity of class situations and the needs of society provide for witty dialogue that readers will enjoy.

The story remains interesting in that it highlights how unsure the concepts of love can be for those experience the feelings for the first time. As the characters come from a time in which physical contact in improper situations can create scandal, the power of a mere handshake can create disjointed feelings within each party. Combine this confusion with the issues of social class (only being able to marry within your economic ranking) and wealth (seeking a marriage partner that will lead to a lifetime of welfare comfort), it’s no wonder that Darcy and Elizabeth were left in a confusing state for the majority of the novel.

The issue of marriage is an interesting one for modern readers in that it again mirrors our modern times. How much pressure is there for young girls to marry, even in this more feminist driven society. Female self-worth is deemed by beauty and the success of a relationship. The question of “Do you have a boyfriend” are asked to single girls and they are looked upon as hopeless if they fail to marry. While this has slowly changed throughout the decades since Austen’s time, there is still an emphasis on the value of a woman based on her ability to marry and reproduce. The important lesson of Austen’s novel is that Elizabeth still chooses to be with who she wants to be with. She has a choice and it leads her to happiness. And that’s an important lesson to remember, no matter what era you live in.

Information about the Author:
From Jane Austen’s Wikipedia Page, born in Hampshire, England in 1775, Austen left very little information about herself due to her desire for privacy after her death in 1817. Her sister Cassandra fulfilled her sister’s wishes and burned a majority of Austen’s letters.

From what has been ascertained about Austen’s life is that Austen was born in a large family to a father who was a rector. Austen began to write at an early age and eventually published her first full novel in 1911. Austen wrote six books, with some work unfinished. She died at the age of 41 due to illness that had lingered in her body for over a year.

Romance, Classics

Curriculum Ties:
English Literature

Booktalking Ideas:
Has your mom ever done something to embarrass you?
How important is a first impression?
Reading Level/Interest Age:
14 and up

Challenging Issues:
There are no current challenges for this book. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
I’ve recently have become addicted to a YouTube series produced by Hank Green, John Green’s brother. The series is called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. It’s a video blog about Lizzie Bennet and how she copes with her parents, her sisters Jane and Lydia, and the strange boy she’s just meet, William Darcy.

The series is a modern adaptation of a classic using a format rarely used for this type of storytelling. The series is compelling and fun. Fans of the show are looking towards the original material to compare and discovering the joy that is Jane Austen’s words.

YouTube: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Tumblr: The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Jane Austen. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Austen

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Star Wars Lego: The Video Game
Created by Traveller’s Tale
Released: 2005
Rating: E for Everyone

Play within the adventures of the Star Wars Prequels, in Lego format.

Based on the Star Wars film franchise, Star Wars Lego places fans into the world of Lucasfilm but in Lego form. Play within the story of the prequels or create your own team of characters and free play between story lines. Players are encouraged to find special items that build vehicle replicas. Collect all vehicle pieces and discover the hidden level.

Critical Evaluation:
Star Wars Lego was the second franchise to use Lego as a video gaming format, the first being Harry Potter for PC. The play is simple enough between levels, with each level a different part of the prequel storyline. Each level features key characters used in the film. Some levels feature vechile interaction, allowing players to focus on something other than character play.

The game ends too quickly for those more advanced players. The sequel to the game, which features the original trilogy, created longer game play. The original game is still fun and does provide a challenge for those interested in puzzles.

Information about the Developer:
From the company’s webpage, created in 2005 Traveller’s Tale Games has set out to be the leader in providing quality games for young players. The company was acquired by Warner Brothers Entertainment in 2007. Traveller’s Tale has now expanded into animation with a show currently broadcasted on Nick Jr.

The company has expanded their products with other Lego games such as Lego Batman, Lego Pirates of the Caribbean, and, most recently, Lego Lord of the Rings.

Games, Science Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Game Design

Booktalking Ideas:
Which Star Wars prequel was your favorite?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
The game is rated E which means it will appeal to players of all ages.

Challenging Issues:
Potential Issues would include slight violence with science fiction weapons.

Why did I include this game in the title selections?
While the GameCube format has been phased out of mainstream play, I still enjoy my GameCube Console. One of my favorite games to relax to is this particular game. It’s fun but isn’t taxing. While modern teens might finish the game quickly, it’s still a fun game to play and worth the time and effort.

Traveller’s Tale. (n.d.). History. Retrieved from http://www.ttgames.com/history/

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The Outsiders
By S.E. Hinton
ISBN: 9780143039857
Publisher: Penguin Books (First Published with Viking Press)
Date of Publication: 1967

Reader’s Annotation:
Ponyboy Curtis, a Greaser, finds himself in trouble after an attack from a Soc.

Plot Summary:
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, there are two sides, two types of people; the Socs who are the rich kids and the Greasers who struggle to make ends meet. Ponyboy Curtis is a one of the greasers. With his parents dead due to a tragic car accident, Ponyboy’s older brothers, Sodapop and Darry, work hard to support the family while pushing Ponyboy to finish school. Ponyboy sometimes resents that he’s forced to focus on school, never understanding the sacrifices his brothers have made to support his eduction.

Ponyboy’s best friend is Johnny, a boy who has suffered too much violence in his young life. Together, Ponyboy and Johnny make up the younger part of their Greaser group, alongside their reckless friend Dallas, Two-Bit and Steve. One night Ponyboy meets Cherry Valance, a doc who helps Ponyboy to break down the ideal barriers of the Greasers versus Soc mentality. That same night, Ponyboy and Johnny face-off with Cherry’s boyfriend, Bob. What happens from that encounter changes everything for Ponyboy and he must face the consequences of that night and the actions that followed. In the end, Ponyboy discovers what it means to have a label and that a family is what we have when we stand by the ones we love.

Critical Evaluation:
S.E. Hinton’s tale of different social classes have stood the test of time mostly because Hinton wrote from personal experience. Hinton felt that her generation wasn’t being portrayed honestly in Young Adult fiction and set out to tell the truth about her life.

This is a a story about social struggle and how being a teenager doesn’t change that struggle but sometimes makes it worse. Ponyboy knows that his life isn’t ideal and as a teenager, his voice is constantly ignored by those who have his “best interest” at heart. But like millions of teenagers across the globe, Ponyboy feels misunderstood and begins to find his voice in the midst of all the confusion.

Ponyboy’s relations to the social class scheme is an important lesson for readers in that it shows the world is not fair and never will be. What’s important is that a connection is formed with friends and family that will last a lifetime. That support is important in that it shows it’s not easy to go through life alone. An example of this would be in the action of Dallas, who suffers for being a loner, despite his varied personal connections.

The story still resonates with Young Adult readers in that the concepts of alienation and social class remain prevalent, even more so in this ultra-connected society.

The A.V. Club on The Outsiders

Information about the Author:
From S.E. Hinton’s Webpage, Hinton first published The Outsiders as a response to lackluster teen novels that had been published in the 1950s and 1960s. Being a teenager herself, Hinton wanted to present a story in which a reader would understand the real issues that faced teenagers.

After the publication of The Outsiders, Hinton found that she was experienced writer’s blog and didn’t write anything new for three years. Luckily, her future husband encouraged writing bits at a time until she eventually finished the book That Was Then, This is Now. Hinton continued to write Young Adult literature, growing in strength as a writer. She has also written the adult novel, Hawkes Harbor.

S.E. Hinton’s Webpage

Realistic Fiction, Family Relationships

Curriculum Ties:
Drama, Classic American Literature

Booktalking Ideas:
What would you do for your family?
What would you do for your friends, if they were threatened?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
As the book was written when Hinton was in her teens, the book has an intended audience of such. Recommended age range would be 15 and up.

Challenging Issues:
The Outsiders is a frequently challenged and banned book. Complaints against the book cite gang violence and obscenities as some of the reasons. The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged again in the future.

Why did I include this book in the titles selection?
This book pushed the boundaries of what teens read in the 1960s. The story still resonates with teen and adult readers. While there are some faults with the narration of the story, the themes of alienation and family/friend connections are issues that teens continue to face. This is a book about teens, written by a teen for teens.
Hinton, S.E. (n.d.). Biography. Retrieved from http://www.sehinton.com/bio.html

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By Stephen Chbosky
ISBN: 9780671027346
Publisher: MTV Books/Pocket Books
Date of Publication: 1999

Reader’s Annotation:
As Charlie begins his first year in high school, he must navigate between what it means to be a friend and what it means to be yourself.

Plot Summary:
On the day before the start of his freshmen year in high school, Charlie begins to write a letter to an anonymous recipient. Throughout the year, Charlie continues to write letters about all the things he experiences.

For Charlie is a shy boy. His favorite aunt died in a tragic car accident when he was young and his good friend killed himself last year. An artistic soul, Charlie longs to make a friend but finds himself to be more of an observer on the sidelines.

But something magical happens to Charlie. He makes not only one friend but two which leads him into a whole new world he never imagined. Together with his new friends, Patrick and Sam, Charlie begins to emerge from being a mere observer to a person with purpose and direction.

Combining family drama with the chaotic world of high school, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the tale of a young man struggling to find his voice and to find love with friendship and other possibilities.

Critical Evaluation:
Tackling issues such as depression, suicide, abuse (sexual and substance), homosexuality, teen sexuality, and homophobia, this teen classic continues to have an impact on its audience. It’s clear from Chbosky’s writing that he feels that it is important to maintain an honest discussion of these highlighted topics. Chbosky doesn’t shy away from these issues and does use them in a away that they don’t feel like plot devices but a natural part of Charlie’s growing maturity.

The interactions with Patrick and Sam were amusing at the beginning in that it seems that the duo are merely humoring Charlie, but as the year goes on, it’s clear that Charlie has begun to have an impact on their lives as well. While Charlie is meant to be an observer, a wallflower, he does miss key elements due to his innocence. One can’t help but wonder if Charlie’s parents have been overprotective of him, shielding him from situations that other kids find normal or if Charlie’s depression has clouded his sight.

The book does showcase a tie to the writings of J.D. Salinger, specifically with The Catcher in the Rye. While the character of Holden Caufield might be more known for his alienated behavior, he shares a sense of loneliness in Charlie. The letter writing format of the story doesn’t detract from the storyline and is an entertaining format to read.

Information about the Author:
Stephen Chbosky grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. A graduate of University of Southern California, Chbosky has worked in film and television. His first book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, has been recently adapted into a film, which Chbosky also directed.

Stephen Chbosky on Twitter

Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Abuse, Homosexuality, and Alienation

Booktalking Ideas:
Why are some memories are fresh and why are some forgotten?
Have you ever felt alone in a crowd?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Ages 16 and up.

Challenging Issues:
According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a highly challenged or banned in 2009. (OIF, 2010). Those who have challenged the book have cited issues with the book’s discussion of sexuality (masturbation and homosexuality), the use of drugs and alcohol, and language.

The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
I read this book when it first came out in 1999. I was instantly enamored with the material and felt a deep, lasting connection to Charlie and his life. When I attended a screening for the recent film adaptation, it was exciting to see a large group of teens scattered throughout the theatre. What was even more excited was to overhear the teens discuss the difference between the book and the film. For a book to continue to resonate with teens, after over ten years since its publication, means that this is an important book to recommend to teens, and possibility to older readers as well.

Office for Intellectual Freedom. (2010). Spotlight on censorship – The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  OIF Blog. Retrieved from http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=1525

Simon and Schuster. (2012). Stephen Chbosky/Official Publisher Page. Simon and Schuster. Retrieved from http://authors.simonandschuster.com/Stephen-Chbosky/1843916


Bonus Feature!

Mini Film Adaptation Review!


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