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Discuss the relationship between literary and film versions of a particular 'romance' text. What role does the medium have in making/changing the meanings?

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Introduction

Discuss the relationship between literary and film versions of a particular 'romance' text. What role does the medium have in making/changing the meanings? Discuss how genre analysis can highlight the formulaic nature of texts, mainly those of the popular media. When a reader reads a novel and then watches a movie based on the book, they take in two very different perspectives. The use of camera techniques within the movie creates the story from the director's or script writers perspective, leaving the viewer only with one interpretation of the novel whereas when a reader reads the novel, he or she takes in a personal insight to the book and creates their own version to the narrative process. Wuthering Heights, written by Emily Bronte in the mid 19th century is a gothic novel which presents the love of Cathy Earnshaw and Heathcliff as a very innocent relationship whereby many people will see it as been a 'teenage crush'. The novel is structured around two key points (purposes): the strong male 'hero', and the romance between the hero and heroine (Cranny-Francis). Wuthering Heights is in many ways a romance novel (even though many critics choose not to agree). The term 'romance' according to the Oxford English Dictionary the term is defined as: A prevailing sense of wonder or mystery surrounding the mutual attraction in a love affair. Cathy and Heathcliff's romance for one another is outside social due to economic circumstances therefore they do not marry even though their love for one another remains strong until the end of the novel (Cranny-Francis). ...read more.

Middle

Peter Kosminskys 1992 version titled Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights did not achieve the audience response that the 1939 one received merely due to the fact of poor casting. French actress Juliette Binoche played both the characters of first generation and second generation Catherine. The controversy surrounding this poor casting was simply the fact that Catherine in Bronte's novel was from an English background. To cast a French to play the role of an English girl was part of the reason of why the movie did not seem to do well. Another interesting casting in this movie was the actor who took on the role of Heathcliff: Ralph Fiennes. Although he did not look in the part with his refined features, he quite differently to Olivier's performance of Heathcliff in the 1939 version presented a quiet, smiling torturer at play. This is a major personality characteristic of Bronte's Heathcliff in the novel. The cruel personality of Heathcliff in this movie version cannot be understood to be an act of anger or personality as the Heathcliff played by Olivier presents. Different to the 1939 Wuthering Heights and the book by Bronte, in this version it is not Heathcliff who holds the narrative process together but rather it is Catherine. The story in this version gave the character of Catherine more maturity and power as opposed to in the book where Bronte seemed to present an immature 'school-girl' type of girl in the first generation Cathy's personality. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, going back to the question bought up earlier in regards to whether the two movie versions made of Wuthering Heights have brought to life the novels' key strengths, the novel and the movie both are unique and interesting in their own set ways. Whilst the novel has been interpreted to be a Gothic novel with a metaphorical aspect of romance in it by many critics over the past centuries, the movie versions of this is novel is far from been described and categorised as been Gothic. It is a highly dramatic piece of work with a totally different presentation of the characters which Bronte firstly introduced in her 1800s novel. The novels plot thickens mainly around Cathy and Heathcliff and for a director to put this into action a lot of things need to be toned down as of the fact the story was written two centuries ago and the audience who view it in today's society will vary in ages therefore it needed to be played down so the viewer can take in more of the story and the characters and walk away with the basic concept of what the book is about. The use of sadism in Heathcliff's character is played down on in the movie versions of the novel, and although both the Heathcliff's played out by Fiennes and Olivier are differently presented they both sum up the main plot of the un-dying love between Catherine and Heathcliff that Bronte sought to present in her book but however, each director displays this theme accordingly to his own personal interpretations of the story. ...read more.

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