Syllabus and Course Expectations

Film and Literature

2012-2013 Academic School Year


Mr Riordan




Course Overview and Description

This course will explore the relationship between film and literature. Students will be expected to read selected novels (or excerpts of), short stories and plays. These works of literature will be analyzed in relation to film versions and adaptations of the corresponding stories. Stories and how they are told are an essential part of our culture and our society, and will be the basis for how we approach this class throughout the semester. The portrayal and presentations of these stories will be explored through the complex interplay between both the written word and how that particular story transitions to the screen. This will be examined through the study of three main units: Modern Film Adaptations of Classic Literature, The Novel and Short Stories Into Full-Length Film.

In this class, students will:
* Continue to enhance their ability to discuss and understand works of literature through extensive reading and analysis
* Analyze works of fiction and drama for plot, setting, characterization, theme, narrative point of view and other literary elements.
* Use this analysis of literature to develop an understanding of critical examination of film through the adaptation of literary texts. Students will focus on character development, dramatic structure and performance in the literature versus the film.
* Learn and effectively use the terminology of film analysis and how it relates to literary discussion (such as theme, conflict, etc...) as well as those specific to cinema (lighting, dialogue, special effects)

Permission Slips:
Permission slips for the entire semester's film schedule must be signed by a parent or guardian before the first scheduled film is shown. Failure to return your permission slip will result in you being unable to view the required films. This renders you unable to properly complete the course. Please speak with me directly if there are any questions or concerns about the films we'll be viewing. Your parents/guardians are also welcome to contact me with questions/concerns.

Literature Studied Will Include A Selection of the Following:

(Note: This is just a sample of the selections – other pieces may also be read and studied in addition to these works)

  • The Body, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redeption and the Green Mile – all by Stephen King

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

  • Emma by Jane Austen

  • Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson

  • Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

  • Excerpts of Hamlet, Othello and The Taming of the Shrew – all by William Shakespeare

  • The Birds and Rebecca – both by Daphne du Maurier

  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

  • The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Films Shown May Include a Selection of the Following:

(Note: This is just a sample of the selections – other films may also be shown within the context of this course)

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

  • O

  • 10 Things I Hate About You

  • The Lion King

  • The Shawshank Redemption

  • Stand by Me

  • The Birds

  • Rebecca

  • Schindler's List

  • The Outsiders

  • Snow Falling on Cedars

  • The Secret Life of Bees

  • The Green Mile

  • My Sister's Keeper

  • Mystic River

Assignments and Grading Policy:
Assessments on both literature and film will include the following: reading quizzes, film response papers and other short writing assignments, large and small group discussions, technology-enhanced responses (this may include podcasts, use of IMovie, etc...) and your final project. More information on each of these will be given as the class progresses.


Students are expected to come to class prepared and on time, and complete all assignments given. Students are also expected to participate and be engaged when in class. Assignments not done will be given a zero. All assignments are crucial to reinforce and enhance what we are exploring in class. In order to fully participate in class discussion, reading and other assignments should be done thoroughly and on time. **Unless instructed otherwise, all reading and writing assignments should be done individually and without secondary sources of any kind. There is no substitution for reading the material assigned.


Attendance and Make-up Information:

The make-up policy of Beverly High School (see your student handbook) will be recognized, but it is advised and expected that missed homework and classwork be completed as soon as possible to avoid falling behind in the course. A blue or green slip must be presented in order to receive the make-up assignments. Late assignments will be marked down by one grade for each day that it is late. Assignments not done will be given a zero. It is your responsibility to come to me for any missed work due to absences or missed classes.