1. “The Orchard Thief” by Susan Orlean contains a clear theme at the beginning of the novel, which is mutation. Orlean focuses on things changing in the novel for example she said that in Florida nothing seems permanent and everything is always changing. She also mentions that Florida is always fomenting change, it is moldable and different from day to day. And the reason why John loved plants so much is because they were adaptable and mutable. The theme mutation is basically the title of the film “Adaptation”. Or like Professor Byrne said in the lecture “…mutation as a form of evolutionary adaptation…” So the terms go hand in hand.
  2. The film “Adaptation” directed by Spike Jonze contains themes such as passion and self esteem. Susan is lacking a passion for anything in her life and she so badly wants to it, or how she puts it “I want to know what it feels like to care about something passionately”. Or how David Denby phrased it in The New Yorker “…her (Susan’s) life lacked consuming passion”. This is why she was so attracted to John because he was so incredibly passionate about everything, well until he got over it. Susan even said it is intoxicating being around someone so alive; this is John’s passion for life in general. Self-esteem can be considered a theme as well in the sense that Charles had a very low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence. This is seen thought the movie but especially in the very beginning when he’s concerned about his weight, hair loss, the need to learn a new language and many more things. John also has a self-esteem issue, which might have stemmed for the fact that his dad was not in his life much resulting in his obsession with everything.
  3. This film/novel reminds me of The Hours somewhat but more of Tristam Shandy. The story was partly the book and partly a story about making a movie based on a book. An issue or problem in adapting the book into a film is, like many of the critical reading reviews said that the film is simply unfilmable. Having a complicated story is even harder to make a movie out of. But in doing so it implied a stronger theme. Like Professor Byrne said in the lecture “it plays with the different meanings of ‘adaptation’- both film adaptation and behavioral adaptation…” If anything this is extremely clever because it enforces the ‘adaptation/mutation/change’ theme in the book and film. The main issue here is that not every book can be turned into film because literature and movies are so different and sometimes doing a satire is the only route to go.
  4. http://www.pheasnt.demon.co.uk/mudge/cmudge/adaptation.htm                            This source is critical in understanding the film because it points out that this film is not an adaptation at all instead it’s about writing movies. This film is basically what happened in real life when Charlie was asked to write an adaptation of the book. Orlean wanted to write about John in the book but ultimately wrote more about herself. This author tells a synopsis of “Adaptation” but also more than that, really digging deeper into the meaning of the story.  It is also nice to see “Adaptation” being compared to other works. Understanding all of the points this author makes in their analysis will help in understanding the film. His statements help the film make sense.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUwrIeEB9-Y                                                          Susan herself talks about how her book transformed into a film (also the complexities of it), her first impression and favorite parts of the film, and how her and the real Charlie met.


This source is someone’s blog comparing the book and film; he mentions the themes, his impression of the book and he digs deep in an analysis of the film.

5. Q: Adaptation has two interlocking stories: the story of John Laroche, and his relationship with Susan Orlean; and the story of Charlie’s struggle to make the Laroche story work for the film adaptation. If you took out one of those stories, would the film still work? And which story would you remove?

A: Adaptation’s two interlocking stories are essential in getting the main theme of Adaptation/change/mutation across. I suppose if one of the stories were taken out the film might still work, but it will be no where as strong without both. Both stories really complement each other and give the viewers two examples in two situations of mutation. In John and Susan’s storyline mutation means changing your passions, Orchids, and life in general. Charlie’s change had to deal with changing the book into film, and finding something that would make the story flow and make sense. I think the situation helped change him as a person as well. I would probably remove the story of John and Susan because like Susan said herself in the youtube video above that she didn’t understand how they could make a movie out of her book because it isn’t linear and doesn’t flow like a movie. In one of my sources someone mentioned that this book is really just filled with tons of information and it’s not really a story. Charlie’s storyline could be a movie on its own; it would just be a movie about making a movie.