An adaptation in our terms is referring to any film that previously existed in some way prior to being that film. Most often, the original material is a book, short story, or play, but it also might have been a poem, magazine article, television show, or even a previous film.

Adaptations can be either literal adaptations or loose adaptations. Literal adaptations strongly preserve what is known as the "spirit of the source," meaning that the original source’s themes/feelings/plots/etc. are preserved/honored as much as possible in the film version. Loose adaptations take significant liberties with the source material (for example, a character that dies in the novel instead lives in the film version). This isn’t to say that literal=good and loose=bad; that is dependent on case-by-case measure.

Example: Jane Austen’s novel, Emma, has had a literal adaptation in the form of the 1996 film, Emma, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. It also has had a loose adaptation in the form of the 1995 comedy, Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone.

Read any one (1) of the short stories in your Adaptations textbook and watch its corresponding film version. Summarize the major differences between the two. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most literal), how literal an adaptation is the film version? How well does the film version preserve the “spirit of the source?”

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