Adapting the Short Story: Fidelity and Motivation in Sarah Polley’s Away From Her | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1753-6421
  • E-ISSN: 1753-643X



This article explores the challenges of adapting modern short stories, using as a case study Away From Her (2006), Sarah Polley’s cinematic adaptation of Alice Munro’s ‘The bear came over the mountain’. Drawing on Linda Hutcheon’s adaptation theory, the article asks whether some common assumptions concerning the constraints of film can be sustained in relation to adaptations of short stories. Focusing specifically on the issue of Weltian ‘mystery’ that has become associated with the form, the article considers Polley’s claims to textual fidelity and her handling of the many tensions inherent in Munro’s elliptical story. The article pays particular attention to Polley’s treatment of the story’s silences and absences and highly ambiguous ending. It considers Polley’s manipulation of dialogue and visual and aural cues and argues that she ultimately compromises the story’s mystery through the elaboration of narrative structures favoured by Hollywood: the love story and the discovery story.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...
  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): fidelity theory; Hutcheon; Munro; Polley; recalcitrance; short story
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error