Composition Project 2: Themes Remade
Jane Austen’s Emma became Amy Heckerling’s Clueless, The Wizard of Oz was woven into David Lynch’s film Wild At Heart, and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has been re-invented into Mel Brooks’s musical stage comedy Young Frankenstein. Whether the adaptation seems to directly parallel the original work, or whether it is a ridiculous parody, there is much to be said about how the arguments in texts get remade into new media. Sometimes these media resend the original argument. And sometimes, they take on a whole new message, attract new audiences, and make a new kind of cultural splash.
In your first project, you branched out beyond the texts we’d read and into popular culture in order to examine the rhetorical (re)construction and sustainability of those themes. In this second project, you will build toward the same FWP outcomes, and use your rhetorical skills to construct your own creative rendition of an argument you’ve found in one of our readings. Would any of the texts for this term make a good sitcom? Board game? Motion simulator ride? Fantasy adventure role-playing game? Movie? Ad campaign? Ballet? Music video? Choose one of the readings from this term and 1) adapt it for a new medium, and 2) compose a rhetorical analysis that explains how and why you have adapted it.
Your Adaptation and its Rhetorical Situation
As you develop your adaptation, keep your vision of the rhetorical situation close by at all times:
•Why have you chosen this text and this argument?
•What old or new argument would you like to make with your adaptation?
•Who would watch/listen to/read that adaptation?
•How do you want to be perceived as its creator?
If you don’t have the technical knowledge to realize your big ideas for an adaptation, this limitation shouldn’t stop you from sketching it out. Consider how you might “depict” or describe your adaptation in the best way you know how.
Your Rhetorical Analysis
As we have discussed, rhetorical awareness lets you “in” on how persuasion happens—how and why it is successful, how and why it fails—and fosters an ability to “read” your world in new ways. Just as important, then, is your ability to be introspective about how and why you have created your own arguments. No matter what discipline you choose to pursue in your professional life, your ability to invent, analyze, and defend the how and why behind your creations will be integral to your ability to communicate and to your success. As you develop the creative piece, consider keeping a journal of how and why you’re making the decisions you’re making. This journal will be key in developing your analysis of this project.
- Project Proposal: your plan for your adaptation, including
- A rationale for why you’ve chosen the original text, and why you want to adapt its argument for a new medium
- Why your choice of medium will be especially appropriate
- Who your intended audience is
- How you want to be perceived as the creator of this adaptation
- Adaptation: the creative piece itself
- It can take any of a variety of media forms: film or storyboards for a film, podcast, Web site, written text (short story, poem, satire, non-fiction, screen- or stage play), cartoon or graphic novel, painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, music video, ad campaign, dance, video game, sketches of a clothing or furniture line… even an academic paper.
- It should have a title
- Rhetorical Analysis: your examination of the how and why behind your creation
- 750 words
- It should examine the rhetorical situation of the original literary text, as well as how you have reconstructed the argument of that text in your adaptation. Compare/contrast the original and new rhetorical situations (rhetorician, message, audience) of this argument.
- It should document all sources (including images) appropriately
Important note: As your creative genius works on your adaptation, remember to save some of your energy for analysis; you will be evaluated on both the creative project and the rhetorical analysis.