Journal of Media Studies, Vol 37, No 2 (2022)

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Rites of Passage: Transformation of Female Characters in Musical Adaptation ‘Into the Woods’

Tabassum Saba


Hutcheon (2006) considers adaptations not just a way of showing or telling stories but a mode of interaction as well. Adaptations offer something different and new and hence, their success does not depend solely on retaining fidelity to the original. The current study intends to show how the musical movie, Into the Woods offers this 'something' new by showing the transformation of its female characters as compared to other Disney versions. The data consists of the musical adaptation Into the Woods and since the movie is a combination of different fairy tales, the original story and different versions of those fairy tales are taken into consideration for analysis. Adaptation theory serves as a theoretical framework for the study whereas Campbell's (1949) Rites of Passage provides methodology to the studies. The data has been analyzed through three components of the Rites of Passage i.e. separation or departure, trials and victories of initiation and return and integration with society. The findings reveal how female characters in the movie transform themselves in the course of the film: from dependent to independent, submissive to domineering and from indecisive beings to bold and strong females.


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