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For many in western society, adulthood is one of the most coveted age groups. In comparison to adolescents, who don’t enjoy many civil or political rights because of their presumed irresponsibility, and the elderly, who are stripped of trivial freedoms like driving because of their physical and mental decline, adulthood is the ultimate site of power. As a result of the privilege that adults hold in being the authoritarian between adolescence and old age, in many ways they are overlooked by the gaze of society. In contrast to the tumultuous coming of age arc that dominates literature and popular culture and the similarly prevalent archetype of the wise old sage, the extensive period between these two ends seems invisible. In Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita, adulthood emerges from its obscurity through characters like Humbert and Charlotte. Adulthood isn’t presented as a never-ending cycle of mundane obligations like work and family, but is instead an unstable breeding ground for regression and the dreaded midlife crisis. This dynamic notion of adulthood is constructed through the framing motif of family, Humbert’s failed sexual relationship with his childhood friend Annabel, and Charlotte’s role as the conventional adult.
When we consider the motif of family that is prevalent throughout the text this construct represents Humbert’s evolving perception of the benefits in establishing a family. Early into Humbert’s pedophilia his moral dilemma is translated into a desire to utilize family as a way to cleanse iniquities. An example of the correlation between family and morality is seen when Humbert decides to marry Valeria, his first wife, hoping that the “regular hours” and “conventions of marriage” would lead to a “flowering of certain moral values” (24). Humbert’s conception of family reflects an urgent want for stability and order and a site of refuge away from the moral debauchery of his private life. When we reflect on the idea that Humbert also wants to use family as a corrective construct and a vessel through which he can discipline and punish himself for his behavior what gets exposed, is the consequence of adults playing the role of the sole authoritarian in society. As adults reside in between the volatile age groups of adolescence and old age they enjoy the greatest amount of power but also the least supervision. Because of the lack of regulation faced by adults, the limitless freedom that is an inevitable aspect of this age group becomes the ultimate source of stagnation.
One example of the transformation in Humbert’s conception of family from a site of moral correction to an opportunity to engage in immorality is his manipulative plans to marry Charlotte. Humbert essentially revels in the “idea of marrying a mature widow [Charlotte]…in order to have [his] way with [Lolita]” (70). This moment embodies the paradoxical functioning of the family site. While the adult can use family as a tool for moral cleansing, it can also be used as a tool to manifest weaknesses and sources of instability. The contradictory nature of family sheds light on how adulthood is a crossroads of self-actualization. The adult essentially has to decide whether to continue the path of growth that was started in his adolescence or manipulate the limitless independence that he could never assert in his adolescence and fall onto a path of regression. In privileging the notion that age is an ever-progressing linear phenomenon, society in many ways favors the former. Those who choose the ladder, as is the case with Humbert, are often demonized and treated as social pariahs.
In another instance adulthood is revealed through Humbert’s obsession with his first romantic love Annabel. While Humbert’s relationship with Annabel was a typical adolescent fling, the sudden “shock of Annabel’s death” along with the “frustration” of never having sex became a “permanent obstacle to any further romance throughout the cold years of [Humbert’s] youth” (14). Humbert’s pedophilia as an adult is directly linked to his adolescence. As he was unable to engage in sex with Annabel, Humbert was unable to fully experience his adolescence and thus transition into adulthood. Humbert’s adult life becomes dominated by a perceived incomplete adolescence. Although the notion of fulfilling missed opportunities of youth and establishing a second childhood is synonymous with the elderly, in this instance Humbert treats adulthood as the privileged site for this freedom.
Humbert’s decision to reassert his adolescence inevitably brings him some sense of gratification. However, a consequence of Humbert’s hedonistic lifestyle is his failure to establish self-reliance. Throughout the novel Humbert maintains the lifestyle of a spoiled child as he appears to live off of his family’s wealth and often can’t hold a job for long until he needs to be “hospitalized” for a mental breakdown (33). As Humbert chooses to live in the carefree manner of a teenager, he is punished within the text by losing his independence as an adult. The construct of adulthood that lies outside of the text is the idea that the adult, in being at the prime of his life, bares imperative duties as a servant to society and the center of order and progression. The moment the adult gives up these duties, they are consequently forced to also give up their autonomy and power.
In another instance while Humbert inadvertently gives up his self-reliance in order to relive his adolescence, he also relinquishes moral responsibilities as an adult. Humbert’s immorality is seen when he returns “to the seaside” of his childhood, to eliminate the “subconscious obsession of an incomplete childhood romance” by having sex with Lolita, and finds that he has “little desire for” her (167). At this point the question of Humbert’s reliability as a narrator surfaces because if his pedophilia is the result of the sexual inexperience in his youth, then one would assume that reenacting and completing his romance with Annabel would purge him of his desires for adolescent girls. As Humbert evidently maintains the same carnal urges, it can be assumed that his immorality, rather than his youth is at fault. Humbert’s refusal to take responsibility for his actions illuminates the image of adults as not only being corrupt in abusing their power for the sake of having sex with children. But adults more importantly come across as delusional as Humbert refuses to take a sobering look at his immense flaws and divorce himself from his false self-perception of grandeur.
Another way in which adulthood is manifested in the text is through the construct of Charlotte as the conventional adult. As briefly mentioned earlier Charlotte is the foil character to Humbert in that parenthood and her seemingly steady occupation as a landlady inevitably make her firmly grounded in adulthood, whereas Humbert through his irresponsibility and lack of independence is more closely linked to adolescence. Although Charlotte more readily and adequately fulfills her role as the adult in Humbert’s eyes she is not free of flaw. At one point Humbert notes how Charlotte is the type of woman “whose polished words may reflect a book club… or any other deadly conventionality, but never her soul” (37). On the surface, Charlotte’s apparent need to unquestioningly conform is one trait that connects adulthood to adolescence. However, when we look below the surface the purpose of Charlotte’s conformity differs from the aims of adolescents. While adolescents are often depicted as conforming for the sake of being incorporated into a group, Charlotte as an adult conforms in order to appear sophisticated and intellectual. Adults appear at this point as being so gripped by social expectations and the need to feel a sense of self-worth that they are willing to dissolve their own individuality for the sake of someone else’s acceptance. Although adolescents have the freedom to compromise themselves for approval, adults who engage in the same behavior are criticized as being deceiving and not baring their souls. A possible reason for this disparity may be society’s conception of adulthood as being the end of inner-reflection and self-exploration. Thus when a person becomes an adult, they are expected to have not only developed a definite sense of self but possess the confidence to unapologetically display their identity within society.
Charlotte, as the construct of the conventional adult, deviates from the idealized adult as she has no conviction in the value of her individuality. This low self-concept ultimately manifests itself in her relationship with Dolores (Lolita). As Charlotte candidly discusses with Humbert the reasoning behind her hostility towards Dolores, she mentions how Dolores “sees herself as a starlet; [Charlotte sees] her as a sturdy…homely kid” which is “the root of our troubles” (65). Ultimately, the true reason for Charlotte’s animosity towards her daughter isn’t Dolores’s own delusions as Charlotte mentions but is Dolores’s audacity, in Charlotte’s eyes, to have hopes and dreams. If we take into consideration the disappointing outcome of Charlotte’s life as a landlady and Dolores’s aspirations of becoming famous adulthood becomes synonymous with pessimism and the obliteration of youth’s optimism. The destructive reality of the adult’s pessimism is that it easily transforms into an inherent desire to see youth fail but also project their own disappointment onto society’s beloved ‘future.’

In the minds of many, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass is a topsy-turvy tableau of illogic, synonymous with chaos and whimsical fantasy. Whether we consider characters like the neurotic white rabbit that is constantly running behind time or the Mad Hatter whose life is reduced to attending a never-ending tea party, a central aspect of the Alice stories is the masterful defiance of human logic. However, one significant element of Carroll’s work that is often overlooked is the complex relationship between children and adults. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland wasn’t merely a children’s fantasy book. Ultimately this masterpiece was a gift, given to a pre-adolescent child by an adult who was fascinated by children as the quintessential overlooked and voiceless group in society. If we acknowledge Carroll’s intimate understanding of childhood in Victorian society, it’s easy to see how the Alice stories aren’t just colorful accounts of the events that took place after an adolescent girl fell down a rabbit-hole. This work is essentially a dialogue between an adult and a child about the absurdities of adulthood and Victorian high class society. Ultimately, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass the relationship between adults and children is depicted as being a union rooted in the selfish neglect of the children, a site through which children reach adulthood, and a hierarchy in which adults and their irrationality places them in the subordinate position.
In one instance, the relationship between adults and children is grounded in isolation. One example that illustrates the fragmented nature of this union is the relationship (or lack thereof) between Alice and the white rabbit. Because Alice is often seen chasing after the rabbit trying to get him to acknowledge her presence, but the rabbit, in being too busy with his affairs ignores her. Alice’s sense of isolation is further increased when the rabbit mistakes her for his maid Mary Ann, and Alice boldly prophecies ‘How surprised [the white rabbit will] be when he finds out who” she is (Carroll 40). The rabbit, he comes across as being selfish and ignorant of the influence he has on Alice’s life as a child, considering how he is the porter that allows Alice to enter Wonderland. Also, as he only acknowledges Alice when he furiously strives to burn her out his house, adults are essentially portrayed as being so consumed with their own lives that they are often negligent of children. Children are essentially insignificant, background noise in the busy lives of adults and should only be met with punishment if they somehow manage to intrude upon adults’ lives.
When we consider the negligence that Wonderland creatures like the rabbit gear towards Alice, Roni Natov, English Professor at Brooklyn College argues that the relationship for Alice becomes paradoxical as she is both “alienated from but still dependent upon [the] adults” of Wonderland (45). On the one hand, Wonderland rejects Alice as a child and consequently an outsider and conceives of her as being the perpetual enemy, forcing her way into their lifestyles. On the other hand, as Alice is reliant on the creatures of Wonderland to guide her through this chaotic, dark world which symbolically represents her adolescence leads her to perceive them as enemies viciously hoarding the wisdom that she needs to progress.
One might feel sympathy towards Alice for having to be a part of a relationship in which she is seen as a perpetual nuisance, however, the threat that she makes against the rabbit within the prior-stated scene sheds light on the consequences that adults face if they continue to marginalize children. In retrospect as Alice continuously gets ignored by the rabbit, rather than develop a sense of self-pity, she becomes scornful and hateful towards the rabbit wanting to enact revenge for the bruising of her pride. Thus, the isolated nature of the adult/child relationship is a breeding ground for the corruption of children as they respond to adults’ refusal to nurture them by seeing them as perpetual enemies.
Another construct of the relationship between adults and children in the Alice stories is the role that the adult plays in facilitating the child’s progression into adulthood. This aspect of the adult-child relationship essentially defies the norms of age relations in western culture. Since adults, in holding conviction in the concept of the child as being inherently innocent are expected to protect children from the corruption of the real world and the transition into adulthood (at least for as long as possible). But when we consider the creatures of Wonderland, their apathy towards Alice inadvertently causes her to willingly enter adulthood of her own accord. An illustration of Alice’s progressive entrance into adulthood is seen in her dealings with the mystical caterpillar. As Alice left alone to figure out how to grow to her appropriate size, and metaphorically establish a true sense of self as an adolescent, the only words of wisdom that the caterpillar leaves for her is the statement that “one side [of a mushroom] will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter” (Carroll 54). As a result of the caterpillar’s apathy towards Alice, she not only increases in size, but also becomes so tall that she is mistaken by a pigeon as being a serpent. This moment in retrospect symbolically represents Alice’s rapid transition into adulthood, but more importantly reveals the corruption that Alice experiences as a result. Because as Alice becomes linked to a serpent, James R. Kincaid argues that this scene represents her “loss of Eden,” in this case childhood (93). In one instance, at this point, childhood is constructed as being a time of innocence and ignorance of the world. However, innocence is not inherent within children, but is instead vulnerable, constantly being exposed to the possibility of dissolution from the outside world.
In another instance the relationship between adults and children is also imaged as a hierarchical structure in which adults are surprisingly placed in the subordinate seat. Some may assert that children are the disempowered group. In one instance, the Alice books to an extent depict children as being inherently inferior to adults. An instance of this antagonistic perspective of children occurs at the beginning of the work when the narrator (who is assumed to be Carroll) recalls an outing in which the Liddell sisters with their “little arms” and “little hands [made a] vain pretence” to row a boat (Carroll n.p.). While some may consider this as an insignificant detail in the larger scope of Carroll’s introductory poem, the narrator’s commentary reveals the condescending and mocking attitude adults bare towards children. As the girls attempt to control the boat, they metaphorically try to don the authority, independence, and control of adults. From the perspective of the narrator, despite the girls’ efforts, they fail to command any respect, and are merely laughed at as children who don’t know the extent of their powerlessness.
Outside of the narrator’s commentary, when we consider the actions of Alice her logical nature in comparison to the irrational world of Wonderland that eventually gives her autonomy over the creatures around her. One example of Alice’s budding dominance occurs when Alice is brought to court and in a rage of fury against the ridiculous accusations made towards her she grows “to her full size” and angrily yells that the Queen’s guards are “‘nothing but a pack of cards’” and not worth fearing (Carroll 116). While the King and Queen of Hearts put on airs of being almighty and immensely powerful, this false sense of eminence is clearly a façade to disguise the fact that their kingdom is grounded in weak, absurd rules. A common children’s story theme that is depicted at this point is the notion that those with authority, whether they are rulers or adults, aren’t as powerful as one would assume. More importantly as Michael D’Ambrosio, head of the Fort Hamilton High English department notes that the kingdom is a “lifeless” mass of “physically vapid, creatures,” the extent of their helplessness is evident (1075). The image of adults that is promoted at this point is the idea that although they may be tyrannical towards children, adults are greatly restrained by the regulations and rules of society. The adult who exists in subservience to society, in comparison to the child who is liberated from the chains of societal norms and conventions is essentially infantile with their debilitating lack of autonomy.

Works Cited
Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass. New York:
Signet Classic, 2000. Print.
D’Ambrosio, Michael A. “‘Alice’ for Adolescents.” The English Journal 59.8 (1970): 1074-
1075 + 1085.
Kincaid, James R. “Alice’s Invasion of Wonderland.” PMLA. 88.1 (1973): 92-99.
Natov, Roni. “The Persistence of Alice.” Children’s Literature Review 3.1 (1979): 38-61.


Lewis Carroll’s (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass” is a pop cultural phenomenon that defies the boundaries of time as characters like the Mad Hatter and the Hookah-smoking caterpillar captivate generations. More importantly this vibrant illustration of one girl’s endless imagination continues to be reincarnated into countless books, video games, and songs. While there have undoubtedly been a number of film adaptations of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the one movie that is often seen as the standard is Disney’s 1951 animation, Alice in Wonderland. In another instance, Director Jan Svankmajer’s Alice pushes Disney’s Alice in Wonderland off its pedestal and contrasts its cheerful, playfully zany qualities in a number of ways.

One fundamental difference between Disney and Svankmajer’s adaptations of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is their depictions of the title character. Disney’s beloved Alice more readily resembles Carroll’s prissy creation as her appearance is very neat, her disposition is prim, and she bares a conviction in the importance of etiquette even under the most chaotic circumstances of wonderland.

The one quality that is absent in Disney’s heroine is the original Alice’s curiosity and ceaseless desire for adventure. Throughout Disney’s film, from Alice’s conversation with the caterpillar to the tea party scene with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, Alice often seems annoyed by these characters’ inabilities to be the parental figures she so desperately wants to guide her. The culmination of Disney’s attack on the themes of imagination and inquiry in Carroll’s masterpiece is the Tulgey Wood scene in which Alice mourns the loss of the predictable real world and berates herself for having the audacity, as a seven and a half year old child, to daydream. This prudish mis-characterization of Alice is a complete insult to the original work as it annihilates Carroll’s encouragement of girls to dwell freely in the worlds of their own makings, and more importantly demands that Alice and her young impressionable audience seek refuge in the adult world of order which Carroll pokes fun at.

In another instance, Svankmajer’s Alice more readily captures the original character’s hunger for curiosity however Svankmajer’s creation is often so driven by her inquisitive nature that at times she becomes dangerously forceful. Examples of the fine line that Svankmajer plays between curiosity and brutality are the numerous instances in which Alice comes across a locked desk and uses all her strength and resources to deviously break into the desk in order to see what’s inside or (with the opening scenes) escape into a parallel world. One could interpret this aggressive take on the original Alice as a simple desire to maintain consistency. Because, Svankmajer’s Alice in retrospect is very wild looking as she dons worn dirty clothes that inform the audience of her lower-class background. Thus it would be illogical for a poverty-stricken child to worry about petty issues of the Victorian upper-class like etiquette for instance. More importantly one could also argue that Alice’s disturbing behavior is a response to the hostile world of wonderland. Ultimately as the white rabbit spends the majority of the film either ignoring Alice’s presence or inflicting bodily on her, it is evident that his cruelty inadvertently transforms Alice into another monster of wonderland, as she holds a pair of scissors menacingly in the final scene and vows to decapitate the white rabbit. This final scene ironically portrays the imagination as a wild realm that at times, can become so complex and immense it exists separate and distinct from the individual’s grasp.

When we consider the contrasting illustrations of wonderland in Svankmajer and Disney’s adaptations both depict the original antagonism between the creatures of wonderland and Alice. However, both adaptations of Carroll’s wonderland are essentially incomplete, as each film lacks an element of the original wonderland that the other has. Disney’s Alice in Wonderland in one instance plays up the illogical nature of Carroll’s work as direct quotes from the original story are taken that play on the ambiguity of the English language, like the Mad Hatter’s riddle “Why is a rave like a writing desk?”

Svankmajer’s film, on the other hand emphasizes the invention of the original wonderland, as we see countless oddly unique, creatures comprised of everyday items (like the tube sock caterpillar), and Svankmajer also stays closer to the original work by illustrating almost all of odd scenes from the novel, including the pig and pepper scene. However, at times Svankmajer’s invention takes a drastic turn into the macabre. One of the first noticeable aspects of Alice is the constant use of muted grays, blacks, and browns that produce a gloomy, cold tone. What is all the more unnerving is the cruel apathy that Svankmajer’s creatures exhibit towards Alice which often transforms into brutal violence. One example of this unpredictable animosity towards Alice occurs when she enters wonderland through the flood of her own tears and a rat proceeds to hammer stakes into her skull and make a fire pit. The lack of stability and an objective moral code in wonderland is only trumped by the unhinged, mad quality of the creatures, which is embodied in the classic tea party scene of Carroll’s original story, as the March Hare and the Mad Hatter act out repeated behavior in a small, white room that is reminiscent of an insane asylum.

While Svankmajer’s wonderland is more melancholy, terrifying, and violent than Disney’s heralded 1951 adaptation of the Carroll’s time-honored classic children’s novel, Svankmajer more effectively captures the story’s essence by maintaining the central purpose which was to portray and criticize the silly and at times disappointing world that adults have made through the eyes of a child.


It’s safe to say, that if the topic of the classic Disney film The Little Mermaid is brought up in front of anyone born between 1989 and 1994, comments that I would expect to hear include “Oh my gosh! I love that movie—I wanted to be Ariel!” or “’Under the Sea’ was my jam when I was a kid!” I admit that at one point I would have made a similar statement. But, after I read the original short story, “The Little Mermaid,” written by Hans Christen Andersen, Disney’s colorful yet two-dimensional film of bratty self-righteousness and feminism falls several notches on my list of all-time favorite children’s movies.
Ultimately the major strengths of The Little Mermaid include beautiful imagery which perfectly illustrates the contrasting realms of Ariel’s magical sea kingdom which she calls home and the world above the surface that captivates her mind. The movie is also well-paced (which is not very surprising, considering that it’s a children’s film), and more importantly contains some of the most infectious songs that entertain and simultaneously convey explicit themes like the insatiable desire of youth to experience all that life has to offer or the Eden-like qualities of life “Under the Sea.”
However, while these characteristics make The Little Mermaid appealing at a shallow level, the movie’s biggest setback is its failure to communicate the central messages of Andersen’s brilliant story which include the disappointments of fate and life, the heavy burden of martyrdom, and the consequences of going against one’s calling and essential place in the world.
In one instance, when we look at the issue of fate and the lack of its presence in The Little Mermaid, Disney ultimately compensated for this disparity by replacing the concept of destiny with Ariel’s quest for free-will and self-assertion. In contrast to the Little Mermaid of Andersen’s creation, Ariel is clearly a heroine with a feminist edge as we watch her at the beginning of the film swim around in a womb-like sanctuary dedicated to trinkets within the human world and sing about the “bright young women” of the sea who are “sick of swimming, [and] ready to stand” (The Little Mermaid). More importantly, when we consider Ariel’s intense relationship with her tyrannical father King Triton, in many ways Triton represents the potential of the original story as he urges Ariel to blindly obey and do what’s expected of her with no complaints as his daughter and a princess. But, when Ariel swims up to the surface, of her own choosing and heroically saves Prince Eric (a heroic scene in Andersen’s fairytale which would have never occurred if the Little Mermaid hadn’t complied with her family’s rules and waited to see the world above the sea until she was fifteen years old), Ariel symbolically rebels against the original tale of submissiveness and sacrifice and places her fate in her own hands.

While on one hand, there’s no problem with the feminist character arc of Ariel as it is consistently carried throughout the movie as her marriage to Prince Eric is essentially a result of her own daring to rebel. On the other hand, the one issue that I have with the feminist angle is that it eliminates the core theme of martyrdom and the consequences that must be faced and dealt with for one’s actions that are heavily present in the original story. Because in looking at the original Little Mermaid, she is the symbol of the Christ-like martyr as she not only gets a brand new set of legs to walk the earth on, but she also has to suffer for her desire to go against her natural place and calling in the universe, as every step she takes makes her feel like a “sword” is “passing through” her body (Andersen). In another instance with Ariel, Disney transforms her into an overgrown brat as she gets to rebel against her father, and live every girl’s princess fantasy by marrying her own knight in shining armor, without any negative price to pay. Ultimately the only pain that Ariel experiences occurs after she finds out Eric’s engagement to the villain Ursula (who is masquerading as an attractive young woman), and we see her sitting at a dock completely immersed in melancholy, self-deprecating shadows and sheds a single tear. It’s important to note that even this pitiful scene barely grazes the surface of anguish that the original little mermaid has to bare as there is no villain in the original story, the mermaid merely acts as her own antagonist by insatiably desiring something that the readers know she will never be able to keep or have in the first place. And more importantly, the little mermaid doesn’t have the pleasure of being able to cry and release a fraction of the suffering and misery that bears down on her body and soul.

Although a film adaptation doesn’t have to be an identical match to its original source in order to be an excellent movie, as Disney overlooks the phenomenon of consequences which is something that is inevitable not only in the life of the martyr but also rules the world, they set up their child audiences for failure by privileging self-entitlement. While many people would argue that Disney’s The Little Mermaid, is geared towards children and therefore it is alright to overlook the heavy issues of martyrdom and languish, I believe that these aspects are too central to the essence of the little mermaid’s story to eliminate. Ultimately, if Disney couldn’t handle such heavy issues than Hans Christen Andersen’s epic fairytale should’ve been left on the shelf.

Link:http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/LitMer.shtml

The Hierarchy of Adaptation




       After reading film critic, James Berardinelli’s review of The Crucible (1996), an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s 1953 play of the same title, one element of his analysis that I agreed with was the portrayal within The Crucible of the play’s central themes, like the manipulation of justice. As Berardinelli points out it’s the illustration of these themes in the actions, desires, and thoughts of the characters that add a layer of drama and tension to Miller’s original work.
     To an extent I agree with Berardinelli’s acknowledgement. It’s inevitable that when we see the hanging of John Proctor (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he recites the Lord’s Prayer, or the sheer fury of Reverend Hale (Rob Campbell) as he realizes that the carnage of the Salem Witch trials was unnecessary, the subtly conveyed themes of the play are heightened and made more visibly apparent in order to increase their consequences and implications. Ultimately, I don’t believe that in this instance it’s a positive development to transform from the medium of a play to a film, and consequently move from a world that depicts the quietness of everyday life being tormented by drama to a more drastic world in which there’s no line between drama and the profane nature of everyday life.
     Berardinelli, in contrast shows a leaning towards the film adaptation and more importantly, the film’s place as a superior medium to stage plays. One example of Berardinelli’s inclination towards the film version of “The Crucible,” is his mentioning of the “detailed period setting” which added a “dimension not available on the stage.” At this point Berardinelli alludes to one of the core arguments in support of film. Often film, in comparison to other forms of storytelling, is seen as most readily drawing the audience into the world that the film is conveying.
     Another example of Berardinelli’s value of film over the stage-play is his belief that The Crucible, takes “black and white” characters like Abigail who are either purely good or purely evil and transforms them into more complex, paradoxical characters whose actions are streaked with “shades of grey.” At this moment Berardinelli adapts the “rebellious child” attitude towards adaptations. Because he essentially indicates that plays, as the older (parent) art form and consequently the more archaic form is outdated and old-fashioned with its emphasis on two –dimensional characters who actively don stereotypical roles in the timeless battle of good and evil. While on the other hand, film in being the younger, more prevalent, and cutting edge form of expression, essentially goes against the conventions of story-telling. As a result, film seeks to portray characters not as creations of an inventive writer, but as mirror reflections of humanity with conflicting aims and desires.
     Despite Berardinelli’s clear favoring of the film adaptation of The Crucible over the original play, he is nonetheless gripped by the esteem associated with theatre, as he notes that one of the film’s strengths was its faithfulness to the “source.”Evidently Berardinelli’s insinuation of the movie’s moral obligation to the play, and the latter’s hierarchical position of authority over the film all contribute to the seemingly unbreakable conviction that people hold towards the superiority of older arts (plays, novels, etc.) and the subordination of film as a simplistic, brutish form of entertainment.

Link: http://www.reelviews.net/movies/c/crucible.html

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