Any re-writing or re-making is creative. It embodies a different vision and uses different materials. It makes something new. If you are re-writing in a different language (that is, translating) you use the materials of that language, in which everything will be a bit different, with new sounds and connotations. If you are re-making the book in another medium – like a film or comic book – the medium will help you express things in a new way.
We can see this happening in this extract from a comic-book version of Jane Eyre (the words have been adapted by Amy Corzine, and the artwork made by John M. Burns). It shows a famous scene from early-on in the novel when Jane meets Mr. Rochester for the first time. In Charlotte Brontë’s novel the scene takes up ten printed pages; the comic book needs only two.
What do the pictures in this comic do differently from words? If you wanted to turn the comic back into a written text without pictures, what would you need to write to put across what happens in the images? How would that change the scene?
And what do you think the comic does differently from Charlotte Brontë’s novel? If you want to check up on this, go here for the text of Jane Eyre, search for ‘This lane inclined up-hill all the way to Hay’, and read on from there.
You can explore lots of other adaptations here.
How are things different when the book is re-made in other languages? Click here to find out.
Text by Matthew Reynolds