Faithfully Adapting a Child’s Voice for the Screen: A Critical Analysis of Narrative Strategies in the Film Adaptations of Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Emma Donoghue’s Room
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Soon after the publication dates of Foer’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and Donoghue’s Room, the books were adapted into films. This brings the question forward how the narrative voice, which is the voice of a young child, is transmitted to a different medium. Hence, this thesis will examine whether the narrator’s voice is faithfully adapted and, consequently, how the film adaptations convey the traumas of the protagonists. Through comparing the film adaptations with their source texts, it will be illustrated that the two films adapted the voices of the young boys faithfully, answering the first question. Surprisingly, one film, the adaptation of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, failed to give the same insights as the novel did precisely because it faithfully adapted the narrator’s voice. This thesis thus gives the following answer to the fidelity debate among adaptation scholars: although adaptations should not always have to be faithful, fidelity is still an interesting notion and should not be forgotten completely as it can explain the success and failure of adaptations.