Free «Actanctual Roles» Essay Sample

The themes of victimization and female agency in the face of drug addiction, poverty and neglect are themes that are carefully looked at in Adaptation by Charlie Kaufmann and Missing Sarah by Maggie deVries. Missing Sarah is an autobiographical memoir of deVries's sister, who worked as a prostitute living in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Sarah ran away from home even before she completed high school and eventually turned into a cocaine and heroine addict, working as a prostitute so as to get money for drugs. Thus Maggie grew to deal with and accept Sarah's lifestyle after which she got acquainted with the street life.

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Adaptation is an American comedy-drama film that was written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. The movie was based on a non-fiction book known as The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean through self-referential events. Charlie Kaufman decided to come up with a script that entailed his life experiences.

In the book, Charlie is said to be experiencing melancholic depression and seems to be saddened by the fact that his twin brother Donald has decided to move into his house and is in turn mooching off him. Along the way, Donald decided to follow in his brothers footsteps and become a screenwriter just like Charlie and attends seminars held by the famous Robert McKee.

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Charlie on the other hand rejects simplistic script writing and ensures that his script is a rather faithful adaptation of actual true events. However, he realizes that the book has no narrative and that it is impossible to turn into a film, this leaves Charlie with a major case of writer's block. Meanwhile, Donald's script for a psychological thriller which according to Charlie is somewhat clichéd sells for around six to seven figures. While trying to write a script Charlie pays Susan a visit in New York to seek advice on the screenplay and at the same time inviting Donald to assist him with the screenplay..

Donald personifies himself as Charlie and interviews Susan but is suspicious at some point of her account of events because it seems too perfect. Both Donald and Charlie follow Susan to Florida where they meet Laroche. Laroche introduces Susan to a drug that causes fascination. Charlie is caught observing Laroche and Susan taking the drug and having sex, so Susan plans starts planning his death. Charlie is taken hostage at gunpoint by Susan and although he miraculously escapes, his brother is shot and killed in an accident. Later on Susan is caught and Laroche is killed by an alligator. Charlie goes back to his script writing and thus his movie is made. In both stories actantial roles help in the actual analyzing of actions that take place within any form of literature.

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In deVries book, it is almost clear that all the stated actions that pertained to Sarah are almost real, this is because, the events that lead to Sarah's drug addiction can at some point be compared to real life situations. That is, in most cases when someone feels neglected or is made to feel like an outcast they tend to turn to drugs to seek solace. Every chapter of Missing Sarah starts with a legend of most women last seen or identified between the period 1978 to 2003.This corresponds in time to with Sarah's life and the very last times her family and friends saw her alive. It is only through this that the readers are able to see what Sarah was actually part of, and may want to know more about the women's lives, the police and media investigations into their mysterious disappearances and deaths.

Learning about Sarah's life and at some point extending this toward other women in the story, readers tend to refigure who we take ourselves and them to be. Maybe now they are willing to take into consideration the ideologically normative representations of women which are rather florescent in nature and in some major populist literature and artwork. Now, when people see Sarah de Vries' name or photograph, likely a cropped picture to resemble a mug shot amongst a grid of photos of many murdered and missing women, she will no longer be a depersonalized figure since most people have gained her life's fullness and maybe reflect to the other nearby women.

Missing Sarah and adaptation provide a kind of healing alternative to the day to day distancing, sensationalizing, stereotyping, simplistic, uninformed, dismissive and  idealizing practices in many ways: thus, by putting Sarah's life and work into context, and by offering a sense or kind of loyalty, support and difficulties in Sarah's family and community. It is only through Maggie's continuing awareness that she is able to narrate Sarah's life with her own, friends' and her family's, with Sarah's life being their guide and by asserting both her sister's and her own implications, not innocence, as a major perspective to speak.

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