‘Any adaptation of a novel for a film, television or the theatre is never as effective as the original.’ Discuss.

Source: 2016 GCE A-Level General Paper

What do we need to know about this question?


This is a comparison question.

  • We must compare film, television and theatre adapations of novels with their originals. Think about the differences between the different mediums and use that as our basis for comparison. For instance, adaptations cannot possibly convey all the details mentioned in the novels they are drawn from. What might be lost or gained as a result of the adaptation?
  • We should discuss a range of examples that cover the different mediums of adaptations. Some possible examples include the Hunger Games novels and films; the Game of Thrones novels and television series; Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and its musical adaptation on stage.

Unpack the word, “effective”.

What could it mean in this context? We could evaluate how well the originals and adaptations convey the plot and themes and how effectively they bring the characters to life. We could also evaluate their ability to draw us into the world of the story that is being told.


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