The Challenge of Being Yourself: Adaptation, Adolescence, and Disguise in Teenage Romantic Comedy Films of the Late 1990s and Early 2000s

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The Challenge of Being Yourself: Adaptation, Adolescence, and Disguise in Teenage Romantic Comedy Films of the Late 1990s and Early 2000s

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Title: The Challenge of Being Yourself: Adaptation, Adolescence, and Disguise in Teenage Romantic Comedy Films of the Late 1990s and Early 2000s
Author: Clark, Isabel Stirling
Advisor: Sheehan, Rebecca
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of English
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: Film adaptation is inherently a liminal endeavor, a balancing act between the preservation of the source material and the innovations necessary to translate that material into a new medium. Modernized adaptations compound this dynamic even further--the characters and the language shift to function in modern times, modern settings. The turn of the millennium saw an emergence of modernized film adaptations, all within a similar vein--plays of much earlier centuries moved into the space of the teenage romantic comedies of late 1990s and early 2000s. Films such as She’s All That (1999), based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Whatever It Takes (2000) from Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, Get Over It! (2001), a film that gains its inspiration from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Never Been Kissed (2002), loosely inspired and informed by As You Like It, present issues of fidelity and originality in the modern film adaptation. Just as adaptations function in a space caught between a source text and the moving image, the teenager portrayed in modern adaptations also struggle with their position as individuals determined in part by parents, the institution of high school, and themselves. These teenage characters confront novel and sometimes differing perspectives on life, but are essentially socially and economically dependent upon their parents and their high school. My senior project focuses on the common elements shared between the process of adaptation and adolescence, and the common themes and elements that emerge as a result of the movie from text to screen. One of those themes is that of mistaken identity or disguise, through the element of the secret wager, bet, or agreement that most of these films contain. These disguises and the commodification of those disguised identities speaks to the influence of society over identity, especially during the teenage years. This societal influence is what creates the need for a balance between innovation and fidelity, independence and relianceidentity shaped through an individual’s compliance with and rebellion against the constructs that shape it. Disguise is essential to that navigation, as a subversive tool as well as one of conformity. The liminal spaces of adaptation and adolescence are continuously fluctuating, as societal implications of the teenage change, contemporary concerns shift, and methods of communication and presentation change with the evolving technology shaped by the concerns of society.
Subject: Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Film and video adaptations
Subject: Teenagers in motion pictures
Subject: Film adaptations
Terms of Use: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
Permanent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10066/3614

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Citation

Clark, Isabel Stirling. "The Challenge of Being Yourself: Adaptation, Adolescence, and Disguise in Teenage Romantic Comedy Films of the Late 1990s and Early 2000s". 2009. Available electronically from http://hdl.handle.net/10066/3614.

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