My Experience at the Wilson Library – Jonathan Burch

During our visit to the Wilson Library, we were presented with many different works and adaptations relating to the books and movies we have read and watched in class.  There were posters, comics, children versions, pocket editions, deluxe issues, and magazines that all contributed to our expanding ideas of adaptations.  One thing I noticed was that it seemed as if the medium a story was portrayed through often altered the overall plot and purpose of the original work.  I consider this the most interesting aspect of our trip to the Wilson Library since it changed my view of adaptations.  I know that adaptations do not always imply a different plot, yet I argue that it at least offers a different purpose compared to the original.  Before further explaining, I must first define that “purpose” is simply the reason for a creation.  By this definition, I present two examples from the Wilson Library that support my argument.

Firstly, there was the children’s edition of Robinson Crusoe displayed to us.  At first glance, I noticed how small and old the book was and immediately thought it could have been a pocket edition for travelers or soldiers.  However, upon opening the cover I knew the edition was meant for children by the many drawings and easy reading.  From this form of adaptation, it is rather obvious that the purpose of its creation opposes that of the original work.  This edition was formed to offer kids an easy and fun read, while the original was likely written to provide adults with a story containing political and cultural weight.  Not only the purpose but also the plot of this edition is likely changed to shelter the kids from violence and depict more adventure.  Overall, it is clear the children’s edition of Robinson Crusoe changes the plot and purpose of the original.

As the second example, the deluxe edition of Frankenstein is an interesting adaptation of the original 1818 Frankenstein.  The edition is massive with glitz and glamour all throughout the text.  The materials of the book are of the highest quality from the time it was created.  From these aspects, we can tell that the purpose of its creation is to show off wealth with the eloquent text.  This is different than the original since the story is likely not even the main aspect of the deluxe edition.  In fact, it is likely that the plot of the story is unchanged from the first work.  This implies that the deluxe edition is only considered an adaptation due to its luxurious presentation.  In other words, even though the plot is the same, this edition is an adaptation simply because the purpose is altered.

In conclusion, from the class held at Wilson Library, I have expanded my knowledge of adaptations and now believe that an adaptation can simply be shifting the purpose of a creation.  From the children’s version of Robinson Crusoe, we can tell that changing the medium the story is displayed through can change both the plot and the purpose creating an obvious adaptation.  However, from the deluxe edition, we can argue that a new edition can be considered an adaptation by only a change in the purpose it was created.  Overall, my experience at the Wilson Library shaped me a new understanding of adaptations and furthered encouraged me to continue analyzing adaptations.