For the final project, Amelia and I chose to do an adaptation of Robinson Crusoe through the form of a children’s book. The reasoning for choosing this form of adaptation is due to always wanting to write a children’s book. Through this project, I was able to do this. The preparation for the book was more than I pictured it to be. Making the outline was more difficult than I pictured in my mind.
In this project, we told the story of a little boy named Robbie. The moral of the story in which we decided to use for the story was always obey your parents. Throughout the book, the story of Robinson Crusoe is told with a little twist. The age of the boy has been altered to appeal more towards young children. This specific children’s book is used both as an adaptation as well as to teach children a lesson. The story goes on to Robbie falling off the passenger boat that he got on and eventually ended up on an island where he only saw one person, who also got stranded there. The book also started to promote and teach teamwork as the two boys built a boat together in preparation to get home.
Once the story goes on, the boy’s face adversity and hardship when they come in contact with a storm. They learned to stay together and remain calm until the storm passed. In this part of the book, another moral was portrayed. The moral depicted that there is going to be adversity and hardship, but that is not a reason to give up ever. This is one of the strongest morals through the book in my opinion.
This book created a flashback for me to my childhood. It reminded me of the many books I would read that portrayed the same morals throughout. This story of Robinson Crusoe creates room for many morals to be placed inside when creating a children’s book. This gives room to the author and illustrator to have fun with the making of the book. Each children’s book has a specific meaning to a child upon reading it over and over during their childhood. In this case, the concept that remains in children’s head is what lesson is being taught at the end. There is always a happy ending in most children’s books and that is what they remember as they grow into young adults. The foundation of children’s books is what creates the kind of people we have walking around on this earth today.
This is what inspired me so much to create an adaptation to Robinson Crusoe. I remember many books from my childhood and the many lessons that were taught through them. For me, I have always wanted to create a book of my own for children to read and be able to reflect upon as they grow up into adults. I really enjoyed this assignment and being able to create this adaptation children’s book with Amelia.
On November 15th, the English 123 class took a trip to the Ackland Art Museum. Two of the interesting paintings the group looked at were Looking at the Sea painted by Howard Hodgkin and River Landscape with Fishermen painted by Salomon van Ruysdael. The ladies giving the tour of the museum and the art showed these pieces to the class because of the novel read as a class. These two paintings involved shipwrecks and the sea just as the story of Robinson Crusoe included. It was interesting to see these paintings and try to make connections with the interpretive descriptions of Robinson Crusoe.
Looking at the Sea which was painted by Howard Hodgkin, was the most talked about painting within my group of classmates. This piece is considered an abstract painting including the colors blue, some orange, and outlined in red. The interpretation of this art showed how the sea is fun and inviting and blue, but there is a fine line with fear being just across that line. The guide showed how this painting depicted how the sea is big and most of it is unknown. The world is around two-thirds water; therefore, it is a significant part of the planet. Looking at the Sea is a piece of abstract art; the interpretation can vary. Abstract art is open to any interpretation depending on how people look at the art and see it depicted, which is the coolest thing about abstract art. This specific piece of art showed how rough and rigid the sea can be, but also at how calm and soothing it can be. This piece of art is open to many types of interpretations.
The other painting being looked at that I thought was intriguing was River Landscape with Fishermen that was painted by Salomon van Ruysdael. This painting included ships in the calm sea and a skyline of a village or town in the background. The color scheme of this painting is gray and gloomy. In the top corner of the painting was dark, gray clouds and then realized that the painting is the calm before the storm. Something horrible was set to happen just after this moment, but in the one moment of the painting, there is calm and happy. This painting is also up for various interpretations, but since it is not an abstract piece, the room for interpretation is a little slimmer but still open.
The trip to the Ackland Art Museum did two things for me. The first thing was that there are not only adaptations with movies and books, but there are also adaptations in art. This is interesting because when reading a book everyone has their own sense of interpretation and making pictures in their mind. Seeing a piece of art as an adaptation shows how the picture can change due to different interpretations. Secondly, going to the Ackland made me realize how much I have begun to like art. Being in a museum for the first time ever in my life made me realize that I want to start visiting the different museums to see other pieces of art. This trip was rather eye-opening for me as a whole.
On October 23rd, the entire English 123 class took a trip to Wilson Library to take a look at many unique and rare adaptations of the novels that we were reading in class. The materials out on display had specific details and instructions on how to handle the materials. There were two specific materials on display that stood out to me, which were Jane Eyre: an autobiography and Frankenstein, which was published in 1953. Each of these two materials being looked at and talked about as a class made the trip to Wilson Library not only intriguing but also made reading these specific novels more understandable as to why we were reading them.
Jane Eyre: an autobiography was the best material out on display in my opinion. When opening the book, the paratext seemed odd. Jane Eyre was easily one of the hardest reads I have had to do. The deeper meaning of the book is clear when reading Wide Sargasso Sea, but when reading Jane Eyre, I struggled to read it and comprehend everything throughout the book. At the beginning of the novel, multiple quotes and reviews were written to encourage people to read the novel. Other people could have been struggling to read this novel or there may not have been enough purchases of the book so it was decided to put reviews as a part of the paratext. The material aspects of the novel appeared old and worn. For example, the pages in the book were a yellow color rather than white. When turning the pages, they had to be supported when attempting to turn them.
The other material I found intriguing was the 1953 edition of Frankenstein. This specific book was so fragile that we were told not to open the book and turn the pages. The only thing we were allowed to do was turn the novel over to the back cover. This novel was easy on the eye, meaning that the cover was fun to look at with it having multiple colors and having a distinct picture of Elizabeth’s murder as the cover. Along with having Elizabeth in the cover of the novel, there was also a depiction of the monster’s characteristics. This copy of Frankenstein is considered a part of the Rare Book Collection at Wilson Library, which makes the field trip there all the more exciting and special. Being able to touch and handle such rare materials is not something that many people have access to, so being able to have that opportunity was awesome.
The trip to Wilson Library was helpful in learning new facts about the books that were being read and talked about in class. The adaptations on display were good representations of what we learned throughout the class during the semester. This was an insightful trip and I plan to go back to Wilson Library to do some research or maybe to just simply study. I enjoyed exploring and seeing Wilson Library and having a staff member talk to us about the property.
When beginning to read Foe, Susan Barton created an entirely new perspective for me from the novel Robinson Crusoe. Barton is a character who is being introduced in this adaptation of the novel to help change the perspective of the story. This character changed the attitude and role of every main character from Robinson Crusoe. Foe portrayed Friday and Crusoe differently, as well as introduce a whole new character to the same plot line. Each aspect of the characters evolves from the original story of Robinson Crusoe to the phase of Robinson Crusoe on Mars and finally to the book titled Foe. Each story told creates a sense of modernization, which means relating more to the present.
In the novel Robinson Crusoe, Friday becomes a companion to Crusoe. Friday is his best friend that he goes everything with. This character is depicted completely different in the movie Robinson Crusoe on Mars. Friday is described as someone who follows Crusoe around like a puppet. This aspect is an evolution of the original book. In the novel Foe, Friday is portrayed as a slave, who was originally a native on the island. Each of the characterizations of Friday is different in each of the three stories of Robinson Crusoe. The evolution of this specific character is apparent throughout the different versions and portrays how each text changes over time.
The character of Robinson Crusoe is unique in each of the adaptations. The nature of Crusoe in the first text and the adaptation Robinson Crusoe on Mars are relatively the same. Although Crusoe is not the actual main character in Foe, Crusoe is portrayed as not really caring about things and not wanting to keep the record of his time on the island. This aspect is just very different from the original text because he was always so detailed and caring about everything he created or crafted. I feel like in showing these differences there is an apparent effort to show a modernization of Crusoe in a sense.
The character Susan Barton is introduced only in the novel Foe. This character is the most crucial character throughout the book. If she would have been introduced in the movie or the original text, I feel like there would have been a very different plot to the overall story. Barton is said to be the wife of Crusoe. She continuously keeps Crusoe in order. Once Crusoe dies, she takes Friday under her wing and tries to teach him new words and new things to do. This is most certainly an example of the novel being modernized. It was assumed that women were not of the same importance as men but in this specific novel, there is a push for women doing more than expected of them. This was an example of modernization from one text to the other.
Characterization is one of the most important parts of novels, movies, etc. Seeing the modernization through different texts makes it easier to make a connection throughout the text. Each character made some change from the original text to one of the adaptations.