Essay on Sandy Welch's Adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw

Essay on Sandy Welch's Adaptation of Henry James' The Turn of the Screw

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“A literary adaptation creates a new story; it is not the same as the original, but takes on a new life, as indeed do the characters.” (12) Therefore when we are discussing and analysing the adaptation I do not find it necessary to discuss the issue of fidelity which has become a mere tedious discussion. However, as “adaptations are a synergy between the desire for sameness and reproduction on the one hand, and, on the other, the acknowledgement of difference.” (Hayward) I do feel it is essential to compare the sameness and difference Sandy Welch uses in her glossic adaptation compared to the novel as this helps the reader to form an interpretation of the story or message it is trying to achieve. Therefore, I will turn away from the criticism of the adaptation on the grounds of its lack of subtly as the ambiguity of James novel is hard to portray as “the medium of film has its limitations... it cannot probe the depths of psychology or emotional consciousness.” (Leitch) However, the adaptation is able to portray the ambiguity by showing both debates of criticism. The apparitionists who believed the ghosts were indeed real and that there was a presence of evil over Bly and the non-apparitionists who believed the Governess' sanity was to be questioned because of the sexual hysteria surrounding her. The adaptation uses its setting; lighting; dialogue; framing; mise-en-scène, characterization, narrative and many other techniques to help portray both sides of the debate to keep in with James ambiguity. Portraying that “there is not a single preferred reading”(Hayward 18) of the novel and therefore its adaptation.
The apparitionists debate of the novel, was that the apparition, the “ghost or ghostlike image of a person” (OED) of both Qu...


... middle of paper ...


...ess her feelings as she is open about being carried away with the master and exerts her love for the children. Although the Governess is seen as over-sensitive, this quality may be the reason as to why she is able to see the ghosts and others cannot.



Bibliography

Hayward, Susan. Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts third edition. New York: Routledge, 2006.

Heilman, R, N. The Turn of the Screw as Poem. University of Kansas City Review, Vol 14, 1948: 277-289

James, Henry. The Turn of the Screw. New York: Penguin Classics, 2011.

Leitch, T,. M. 'Literature vs Literacy: Two futures for adaptation studies.' The Literature/Film reader: Issues of Adaptation. Plymouth: The Scarecrow Press Inc., 2007.

Bazin, André. What is cinema? Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.

Wilson, Edmund The Ambiguity of Henry James. Hound and Horn, vol. 7, April-May 1934: 385-406.

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