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Choose one of the following questions and construct a 1-2 page (250-500 word) typed response. It is not a formal essay but it should demonstrate your knowledge of the readings and the relationships between the texts that we are discussing: films, television series, novels, stories, and critical texts. Make sure that you go beyond plot summary to make an argument about the relationships between the texts, their specific details.
Focusing on Victorian and subsequent revisions of the story of “Beauty and the Beast,” Laurence Talairach-Vielmas writes, “the revisions and transformations of the motifs and plot patterns of classical literary fairy tales serve to question and subvert the dominant socialization discourse meant to be internalized by children and adults through the fairy-tale reading experience” (290). Alex Flinn’s Beastly experiments with perspective and point of view to tell its version of the story. What does this retelling do to traditional representations of the story? Use the frames from his critical analysis to contextualize what this work shows us about the original story as well as its setting in our 21st century world.
Daniel Barnz’s Beastly is a visual spectacle in its treatment of the “Beauty and the Beast” story, both Flinn’s novel and a longer history of retellings. How does Barnz use the medium of film to experiment with the story? How does he articulate Kyle/Hunter’s perspective on the curse and his situation? How does the film represent his “otherness”? What are the results? (Note: try to stay away from a film review here—instead discuss how the visual medium [as well as the screenplay] works with and against its sources. And, yes, Sara, you could even focus on the music of/in the film.)
Flinn’s Beastly can be read as a metafictional text on reading and writing stories, particularly fairy tales. Consider this novel’s self-conscious approach to fairy tales and other works of literature. How does it engage with a literary and critical history? You might trace the connections to some of the texts referenced in the novel or instead consider how the novel offers critical approaches within its structure (along the lines we’ve discussed, for example, feminist and psychoanalytic readings). Or you might entirely focus on the experimental “chat room” structure, how that frames the narrative and comments on its story/stories.
The story of “Beauty and the Beast” is one that centers on transformation as well as wish-fulfillment. Discuss how transformation (or even “shape-shifting”) is central to Beastly, both the novel and film. You might consider how it adapts this concept from the earlier works and/or revises its terms. You might connect this representation of transformation to Aronofsky’s Black Swan as well as the selection of Brothers Grimm’s stories that we are focusing on to frame your argument.