Cornell and the Concept of Visible

Cornell identified himself with Meaulnes as a ‘seeker of visions.’  Through his job as a traveling salesman by bike in Manhattan, he had the opportunity to see and observe.  This was important to his work because it provided inspiration.  He enjoyed it so much that even after his job ended, “his habit of wandering did not” (Blair 61).  Everything artistic comes from some sort of inspiration we collect from the brain’s database of experiences.  If it hasn’t been experienced, it is invisible. 

My blox for the quality visible captures a boy as he walks down a Kenyan road.  My intention with this was for it to represent the path Njoroge takes to school.  The small child on the road is actually a white boy though.  I chose this to show how the white Europeans were the only truly privileged.  Although Njoroge makes it further than any other boy from his village and surrounding areas, he does not make it as far as Stephen Howlands, the white boy from his area.  There is a partially transparent image of a crying boy layered over the rest.  The focus is on his eyes.  The transparency has him looking out at us or looking into the photo.  The land is slightly distorted.  What we see depends on the eyes we see them through.   I chose a film reel as a border in relation to Seger’s novel on adaptation.  I feel that visibility is Calvino’s most significant quality when it comes to adapting a novel to film.

Adaptation of Visible

Seger finds details and information to be an important aspect when adapting a piece.  “Details in a novel build ideas, but they also give us information that is useful and often fascinating in itself” (Seger 21).  Imagery translates well in adaptation because it applies to our senses.  Seger gives an example from “Gone With the Wind” which describes a bloody scene of wounded soldiers during the Civil War.  When described on paper, our minds automatically form the picture in our heads.  We could have easily watched the same thing on film or looked at a picture depicting the scene. 

Seger’s insights help me to focus my adaptation.  There are so many scenes within the novel that could be translated into picture form.  Instead, I chose some images that seemed to represent the novel in its entirety.  The goal of the blox was to translate my perception of the novel to others.  I did that not only through carefully chosen images but through the use of colors, saturation, and brightness.

Experience of Visible

Perhaps the reason I chose this novel for the learning screen is because I found it to be highly adaptable.  I found it to be adaptable because I could see it in film form.  Calvino’s quality, visibility, is embodied in “Weep Not, Child.” 

“In the cinema the image we see on the screen has also passed through the stage of a written text, has then been ‘visualized’ in the mind of the director, then physically reconstructed on the set, and finally fixed in the frames of the film itself…This mental cinema is always at work in each one of us, and it always has been, even before the invention of the cinema.  Nor does it ever stop projecting images before our mind’s eye” (Calvino 83). 

Visibility is adaptation.  In reading “Weep Not, Child” the mental cinema was in business.  It’s funny how when you think back on a novel you’ve read; you don’t see the words on a page.  You see what your mind imagined it to look like. 

“There was only one road that ran right across the land.  It was long and broad and shone with black tar, and when you travelled along it on hot days you saw little lakes ahead of you.  But when you went near, the lakes vanished, to appear again a little farther ahead” (Thiong’o 5).  The first chapter of the novel is uncharacteristically descriptive painting the picture of the land for the reader, maybe to emphasize the importance of what everyone is fighting over.