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Short Stories & Film Adaptations

ENGL 2341 with Dr. Dalvi

The Assignment

Short Story to Film Evaluation Essay 20%


In this assignment, you will pick one short story from the selection this semester and evaluate its big screen adaptation. Please refer to the syllabus or D2L for a list of the stories. They are also linked on this guide for your class.


The purpose of this evaluation is to argue the overall quality of the movie adaptation. Specifically, you will be evaluating the story and the film based on how well one portrayed cultural nuances over the other, and the claiming one is better and why. While you will be expressing your opinion in this essay, your tone and voice should come across as reasonable and unbiased. Your aim should be to convince the reader that your ideas are believable. 

To make your audience agree with your opinions, you need to be clear and fair. Follow these steps to ensure that your evaluation is successful.


Establish what outcomes were necessary for the film adaptation to be a successful one. For example, to evaluate a movie adaptation’s success (or the lack of it), you should think of criteria like plot, theme, actors, direction, genre, setting, audience, etc. On the other hand, if the story was more impactful, consider what it did with descriptions, plot, or dialog to convey the cultural significance. 


Then, you must establish if these criteria are met. This will be stated in the form of your thesis.


You will offer details to support your judgment. Each body paragraph should focus on one criterion and explain why we should agree with your judgment.

  1. What cultural traditions, values, or systems did the story or the movie make evident?

  1. Did the movie enhance the story or weaken it? 

  1. Did the actors do justice to the characters they were portraying? 

  1. Did the movie make any major changes? If so, were they effective? 

  1. Is the story more memorable or the adaptation?

  2. Does the story speak to a global audience or does the movie do so?

You will be graded on the following: 

  • The length of the essay is no less than four pages 

  • A succinct summary of the short story and movie in the introduction 

  • Specific criteria to judge the movie adaptation 

  • A clear thesis that establishes why (or why not) the movie is a good adaptation (ie gives reasons) 

  • Body paragraphs that chronologically explore the thesis 

  • A conclusion that makes recommendations for a better adaptation or urges the reader to watch the movie with reasons 

  • Correct use of MLA format 

  • Cite at least three quotes from two movie reviews correctly

International Learning Outcomes:

The essay should display an understanding o how the literary and/or cinematic medium can be used to reflect upon global awareness and diversity.


  • Is the adaptation a straight or a loose interpretation of the novel?
  • Can the adaptation stand-alone, or is it necessary to have read the novel to understand the film?
  • Does the adaptation capture the novel’s formal elements: the theme, characterization, style, tone, and plot of the novel?
  • Is the adaptation a quality film in its own right?
  • When the screenwriter and/or director changes any of the formal elements of the novel, is the overall message retained?

Questions by Linda Hall, Chapman University

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