WRIT 340 Paper 2 Final Draft

WRIT 340 Paper 2 Final Draft - Trang Ho 5 October 2010...

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Trang Ho 5 October 2010 Trang Ho Writing 340: Section 65060 Yance Wyatt Assignment #2 Foreign is The New Black In the last decade many successful movies have been adaptations from foreign literature, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Let the Right One In. This poses an important question: how do the inevitable modifications affect the original text? Adaption, a process of shifting between different media of artistic portrayal, calls for many creative adjustments, which often result in a product quite different from the original. Literature is commonly a production of an individual and thus clearly reflecting the author’s inner imagination about the world of characters and culture he wants to dictate. On the contrary, filmmaking arguably is a more audience-centered production. Memoirs of a Geisha poses a particularly intriguing example of this xenocentric phenomenon. The movie grossed $158 million internationally and won numerous awards, including three Academy Awards in Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. Despite the popularity of the novel of the same name by Arthur Golden, the tremendous success of its film adaptation introduced the once mysterious practice of geisha into mainstream Western culture. Movie adaptations popularize a foreign culture more successfully than their literature counterparts because filmmakers often modify the original text to appeal to the mass audience while the authors are focused on the quality and authenticity of their work. In writing autobiographical novels, authors sometimes place more emphasis on conveying their characters’ internal world with utmost authenticity than writing to 1
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Trang Ho 5 October 2010 commercialize. In particular, Arthur Golden displays an exceptional talent in bringing characters to life in his debut novel Memoirs of a Geisha . He artfully crafts an enchanted world of memories, thoughts, and emotions through the perspective of Sayuri, the female protagonist. This character is an innocent girl whose insights and imagination are sophisticated beyond her years. Consequently, Golden chooses to write in simple yet elegant prose to highlight Sayuri’s purity and refinement, as illustrated in this description of Sayuri’s debut dance performance: We wore identical kimono of yellow and red, with obis of orange and gold – so that we looked, each of us, like shimmering images of sunlight. When the music began, with that first thump of the drums and the twang of all the shamisens, and we danced out together like a string of beads – our arms outstretched, our folding fans open in our hands – I had never before felt so much a part of something. (Golden 266).
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WRIT 340 Paper 2 Final Draft - Trang Ho 5 October 2010...

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