Thursday, February 3, 2011

More response to Abram's book

In oral traditions story change with each telling, to suit each new situation. This is something I already knew, and something that David Abram emphasizes in his book The Spell of the Sensuous.

When you write a story down, however, it becomes fixed in time. How it was written down is the way it is. That's it. It can't change. That's what Abram says. (Or anyways, that's all he says by page 201. We'll see if he decides to refute that claim later on...) And that's how it seems to be. After all, who can argue with the pages of a novel.

The answer: Plenty of people argue with what's written in a novel.

In oral traditions people can adapt old stories to meet new needs. It seems to me that adapting and retelling stories is somehow ingrained in humans, because we do do this all the time today. Just look at movies.

Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling is being turned into a movie.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien has been turned into a movie trilogy, and the same producer is now doing Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini was turned into a movie.

In some cases the movies are so different from the books that it's as though the movie people are saying "Oh, you want to set this story in stone? Well, guess again! I'm gonna prove to you that stories are meant to change over time." And then, in some cases, they go way overboard as though they're trying to make a point that stories should be fluid creations, not things that are set in stone.

Maybe this is why with some movies, such as Eragon, it seems as though the movie people barely skimmed the Wikipedia article about the book before writing the script. Maybe this is the backlash of us presuming to put stories down on paper and say "There, that's it. That's how it is. It's not gonna change."

Thoughts, anyone?

2 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I guess the flip side of the good point you're making is that preventing a story from being changed is the kiss of death. I'm thinking of things like the Bible, whose stories are regarded as "written in stone" and which can't be elaborated on or improvised about.

Sarita Rucker said...

Actually, the Bible can be and is elaborated and improvised on. One example of this is "The Action Bible." It's sort of a graphic novel of the Bible.

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