Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Lynda Hall
Dr. Joanna Levin
Dr. Justine Van Meter
Retellings of popular stories have become a prevalent form of storytelling in media and literature. This paper explores the background of the genre and the drive for creators to reimagine older stories, while also considering the “why” behind retellings. The claim is that maintaining the integrity of the characters from the original source material is what causes the story to translate and be received well by its audience. The characters that communicate the main themes of a story and they are what draw readers in, so if they are changed too drastically from the foundation created by the original author, then the story will fall flat and the thematic importance of the story will not be recognized. For this paper, this idea is explored by focusing on retellings of Jane Austen’s novel, Pride and Prejudice, and analyzing how the changes the authors of the retellings make affect the overall message of the reimagining. The importance of setting and character in a narrative is examined as well to assist in recognizing why a story could be compelling enough for a writer to retell it, specifically what appeals to readers from Pride and Prejudice. The way characters engage with the narrative is what allows Austen’s themes in Pride and Prejudice of complex relationships, societal expectations, and class issues to be communicated with the reader. The pattern noticed within all the retellings analyzed for this paper is that plot and setting could be adapted to fit whatever twist the writer put on the story without affecting the reader’s thematic understanding of the retelling. However, when the writers of these retellings change too much from the core of the characters, this interaction between character and narrative cannot happen because the character motivations and actions change as a result. Therefore, changing the meaning and thematic importance of the story.
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Turner, Sara. The Significance of Maintaining Character Integrity in Literary Retellings. 2023. Chapman University, MA Thesis. Chapman University Digital Commons, https://doi.org/10.36837/chapman.000519