Through the process of adaptation, is it possible for the adapter to “preserve the major cardinal functions” without adhering to the strict order and sequence of its source material? On pages 13-15, McFarlane heavily discusses a filmmaker’s utilization of “cardinal functions,” and how he or she must adhere strictly to these in order maintain the chronology and logic of the original work.
This rigid construction denotes adaptation as being nearly if not entirely impossible. McFarlane states that a true adaptation must keep the cardinal functions in tact; however, even if the functions are kept in tact, the adaptation can suffer deformity due to situations surrounding the functions (14). Though he does outline the constitutions of how deformations may form, the tone of his writing seems to lead to the idea that adapting a novel both truly and fully is impossible.
In strict comparison to this rigidness are Dudley Andrew’s three modes (covered in last weeks readings). Andrew’s modes seem to suggest that in order to truly adapt the novel this holistic and all-inclusive mentality is not the only avenue (Fidelity of transformation mode and the intersection modes). Though these modes support different avenues of approaching adaptation, McFarlane seems to ignore these modes. Instead, he offers a different solution.
While he does address that even exact translations do not/cannot adapt a novel correctly (14), he moves to combat the points of lengthiness in an adaptation. Shortly after his rigid defining, McFarlane’s discussion of “distributional and integrational functions” offers a way in which the filmmakers can utilize metaphor through characterization. This ultimately allows more freedom in cardinal functions and their inherent link to chronology and logic. Though this does not exactly incite the modes, if offers a different means to an end in adaptation.
McFarlane’s piece offers some interesting points that ask a lot of questions. Though he seems to present both sides of an argument, it ultimately seems as though he does not believe is accurate adaption from film to literature. Yes, he does offer different techniques and methodologies, but ultimately his tone seems pessimistic.