Wuthering Social Heights is a social media adaptation of Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights. Through Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, each character tells their version of the story in the novel. The characters interact throughout, frequently recreating famous scenes from the novel and other times using text I have adapted. The project also has a base website (www.wutheringsocialheights.wordpress.com), Twitter (@WutheringSocial) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/wutheringsocial), which posts updates and help to guide the user through the adaptation.
I chose to adapt Wuthering Heights for social media for many reasons. Wuthering Heights is a novel revolving entirely around relationships and is all about people communicating, or not communicating, and the consequences of this. Therefore, I thought social media was a perfect medium for Wuthering Heights, as it is a medium in which over-sharing about life is not only acceptable, but encouraged. I’ve often thought, when reading Wuthering Heights, that I could imagine the arguments and monologues reading as Twitter fights or vlogging videos, so I decided to make this a reality.
Social media is a place for interactivity and conversation; therefore, users can interact with Wuthering Social Height’s characters any time they choose. I have tried to encourage engagement with the project through the WSH’s base Twitter and Facebook through asking questions and creating polls about the narrative. I did this because I wanted to take Wuthering Heights from the ‘telling mode’ to ‘participatory mode’, as this would make a classic novel seem more fun and interactive. I believe Wuthering Heights is a beautiful novel that deserves to be shared with as many people as possible, which is what I am hoping to achieve with Wuthering Social Heights.
As well as including Twitter and Instagram, I wanted to include YouTube to include an element of transmediality. In the novel, Cathy has some very powerful speeches that I did not feel would be done justice in short bursts of 140-characters. I thought these would be better suited to a video blog format, which allows for Cathy’s self-absorbed personality to come through as she is sat by herself sharing her problems with the world. In the novel, she tells these problems to Nelly; however, I have not included Nelly or Lockwood in my adaptation. I have done this because I want social media as a whole to take on the role of Nelly and the audience to take on the role of Lockwood.
When I was looking into other social media adaptations to take inspiration from, I found the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. These videos are an adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, in the style of video blogs. This was my initial idea, to have the entire novel adapted as video blogs from Cathy’s perspective, but I soon realised that this would not be possible, as Cathy is too self-absorbed a character to tell the full story.
What I liked about the Lizzie Bennet diaries was the characterisation. Each character in the videos has a distinct personality and is very well written. I decided to follow this path, and give each character a distinct, familiar, social media personality. Cathy is the sassy girl that is always “indirecting” (posting about somebody without tagging them in the post); Isabella suited the sweet, make-up tutorial loving fashion blogger type poster; Edgar seemed to be the posh “lad” of the group and Heathcliff was given the role of the ultra-hip, sullen social media critic almost immediately. As the personalities of the characters so perfectly suited social media personalities we’re all familiar with, it seemed another reason to adapt Wuthering Heights for social media.
[This doesn’t have an evaluation yet as the adaptation is yet to be completed]
[This commentary needs theory + proper referencing; still researching theories]