The English Society fosters conversations about the page and screen

Samantha Correia
Staff Writer

The popular 2015 movie Room has been talked about all over the world lately because of the many Oscar nominations, and Bridgewater State University students were able to hold their own viewing of the movie.

The English Society sponsored the viewing, along with a lively discussion following the film. The program is called Fiction-to-Film and brings together English majors and non-English majors alike to talk about books that have been turned into movies. The event was attended by about twenty-five individuals and was held on March 23 in the Heritage Room of the library.

The novel Room is by the Irish author Emma Donoghue, and it tells the story of a woman who has been kept in captivity for seven years. It tells her story through the eyes of her five-year-old son, and shows how they are able to escape and remake their life together. Donoghue also wrote the screenplay to the film, and was very involved in the film. It is a powerful adaptation that has given voice to many of the individuals whose similar sto-ries go untold.

The discussion was led by English professor Dr. Ellen Scheible, alongside psychology professor and Honors program director Dr. Teresa King.

Scheible is also the director of the Irish Studies Program, so her expertise on Irish history and literature was extremely useful when analyzing this film by an Irish author.

King was able to discuss the psychological aspects of the movie, like how someone in captivity is mentally affected by their situation. The discussion was a literary analysis of the book and the film, but also a comparison to real-life psychology, because this novel was based on a true story.

Gillian Sheehan, a first-year student and psychology major, attended Wednesday’s event. When asked about what she enjoyed about the Room discussion, she said “I liked that it was an interdisciplinary approach, by having both Dr. Ellen Scheible and Dr. Theresa King we were able to analyze the film from the perspective of psychology as well as talk about the symbolism and metaphors through a literary analysis. I feel like there was a way for everyone to actively participate in the discussion since we were discussing it in such a wide lens.”

While the discussion was based on the book and how the movie portrayed the novel, many people did not read the novel, so it is not a requirement for these movie nights.

Room addresses a reality for many people who are struggling to deal with a huge transition in their lives, or who are trying to piece their lives back together after a tragedy. During the discussion, Scheible stated that Room is a “film about hope,”

especially for so many individuals who have lived through similar traumatic experiences. The discussion between students and faculty covered many different topics, but mainly focused on family dynamic and relationships. The film “says a lot about the redefinition of family,” according to Scheible, and family relationships are something many people can relate to.

The English Society sponsors a Fiction-to-Film movie night each semester. During the Fall 2015 semester, the movie Gone Girl was played, and a discussion about criminal justice followed.

Gillian Sheehan was able to attend the Gone Girl screening last semester, and stated “I have found that the movie nights have encouraged me to look for more meaning and to view things in several lenses. The interdisciplinary approach has been very helpful in providing a different yet meaningful interpretation of the films which I feel like can then be applied to the readings and other work that I have encountered in my classes. I feel like no matter what your major is you will leave one of these discussions with a new found skill.”

For more information about upcoming events from The English Society, students can follow them on Facebook at “Bridgewater State English Society.”

Samantha Correia is a staff writer for The Comment.

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