Kara Davis, Jillian Fitzpatrick, Lizzy Seay
The Pilgrim's Progress
The novel begins with the author explaining that the story he is about to tell came to him in a dream. The dream he describes turns out to be an allegory for the “Christian walk” and spiritual trials. The story opens with the character Christian who is suffering from a spiritual crisis. He runs into a guide named Evangelist who tells him to leave his home in the City of Destruction and that the only way to find salvation and peace is in the Celestial City. Christian unsuccessfully tries to persuade his family to join him, but they refuse and Christian begins the journey on his own. Christian suffers many trials on his way to the Celestial City and is faced with many distractions trying to deter him from the path to salvation. Along the road he loses his “burden” when he sees Christ’s tomb, and then one of the three Shining Ones hands him his certificate to the Celestial City. Unfortunately when he is asleep he loses it and suffers great remorse until he finds it again. After regaining his certificate he stays at the Palace Beautiful where they feed and arm him, preparing him for his battle against the monster, Apollyon. Leaving the palace and descending into the Valley of Humiliation Apollyon tries to kill Christian but he prevails heading on into the Valley of the Shadow of Death. Journeying on Christian meets another pilgrim named Faithful and they travel together and are soon joined by the distracting Talkative. Evangelist returns to warn Christian and Faithful of the sinful town of Vanity that they are about to pass through and he foreshadows the death of one of these men. Resisting temptation the two men make it past the town’s infamous fair, but are shortly after imprisoned. Faithful dies defending his faith and Christian who was left in prison escapes to continue his journey. He meets another pilgrim named Hopeful and they continue on their way together running into many different distracting people and difficult trials. They spend the night on the grounds of Doubting Castle where the Giant Despair tortures them and imprisons them. They escape using the key of Promise. They continue towards the Delectable Mountains, which the shepherds warn them are full of traps they could lead them away from the celestial city. Traveling on they run into more people who symbolize sins and enemies of the faith. Finally the travelers reach Beulah, a land full of flowers that is refreshing to the weary men. The only thing between them and the Celestial City now is a treacherous river. Trying to cross the river Christian almost drowns but is reminded by Hopeful of Christ’s abounding love and he is rescued from the rushing current. At last the two pilgrims reach the Celestial City where they are gladly welcomed and praised for their strong faith. There is a second part to the story that traces the journey of Christina, Christian’s wife, and their children to the Celestial City. Like Christian, they face many trials and dangers along the way but eventually make it to the Celestial City where they all meet their Maker in full glory.
- Christian: the main protagonist. Tormented by spiritual anguish he is told to leave his city and take the long treacherous journey to the Celestial City that will test his faith.
- Evangelist: a spiritual guide for Christian who encourages him to leave the City of Destruction and helps him throughout his journey. Carries the Gospel.
- Obstinate: Christian’s neighbor who refuses to travel with him
- Pliable: neighbor who accompanies Christian until he get discouraged by falling into the Slough of Despond
- Help: another pilgrim who helps Christian out of the Slough of Despond
- Worldly Wiseman: tries to urge Christian to give up his journey and live a comfortable secular life
- Formalist: a pilgrim who cheats and sneaks over the wall of Salvation instead of staying on the straight and narrow
- Hypocrisy: Formalist’s travel companion
- Discretion: Palace Beautiful, feeds Christian
- Piety: Palace Beautiful, asks Christian about his journey
- Prudence: Palace Beautiful, attempts to understand Christian’s motives
- Charity: Palace Beautiful, asks about Christian’s family
- The Interpreter: another spiritual guide, tells Christian about finding religious meaning in everyday things, Significant Rooms
- Apollyon: Monster that Christian fights and defeats
- Shining Ones: guardians for Christian, give him new clothes and his certificate
- Faithful: another pilgrim from the same city that travels with Christian until he is executed in Vanity
- Talkative: Travels with Christian and Faithful for a while, rebuked by Christian for value of words over deeds
- Mr. By-ends: travels with Christian briefly after he leaves Vanity. uses religion for personal profit
- Hopeful: a new travel companion for Christian, saves Christian from drowning in the river before the Celestial City
- Giant Despair: imprisons Hopeful and Christian and tortures them
- Diffendence: Giant Despair’s wife, encourages him to torture Hopeful and Christian
- Demas: tries to distract Hopeful and Christian with wealth
- Temporary: a “would be” pilgrim
Many of these themes are relevant in today’s society. The book discusses the fight for faith and how it is not always an easy battle to win. This is displayed throughout Christian’s entire journey and is relevant to today because people struggle with similar issues. There is also the theme of journey/travel leading to knowledge which is a belief that people still have today.
Three Defining Scenes:
A few key scenes in The Pilgrim's Progress are especially impactful on the book as a whole. The first is the scene in which Christian makes the choice to travel with Evangelist out of The City of Destruction to The Celestial City. The second especially significant moment is when Christian walks along the Wall of Salvation and sees Christ's cross and tomb, causing his burden to fall off. The third moment is when Christian crosses the final river to The Celestial City and nearly drowns but perseveres.
The 1978 production of The Pilgrim’s Progress was mediocre at best. The lead actor fit the role of Christian fairly well, embodying the vague yet relatable nature of the character, however the acting was sub-par on all accounts. This adaptation stayed fairly true to the book, but it failed to represent the main themes in an effective way, that shows to the viewer the tumultuous and long journey that men and women face when seeking to follow Christ as their savior. The setting, also, was plain and expected and failed to convey the intense hardship and turmoil of the Christian walk. Overall, the movie was very boring and failed to represent the original themes in the novel. The only good thing about this movie is Liam Neeson. He did a good job.
The Pilgrim's Tail
For our modern interpretation of The Pilgrim's Progress, we will create an animal version of the story (actors portraying animals). Christian will be portrayed as a small timid mouse, who encounters difficulties similar to what happens in the book, but altered to fit a mouse’s trials and struggles. He will have to face a village of rats, hungry hawks, and angry cats, among other obstacles. This version will be a kid-friendly adaption of a classic story, and is aimed to be viewed as a relatable and interpretation of this inspirational story. In order to accomplish this, Christian will be a younger mouse who has to make the tough decision to leave his family behind in order to take the perilous journey to the big cheese (aka the Great Palace).
The setting will be a journey through woods, rivers, hills, and meadows. The characters will consist of "woodland creatures" you might meet in such a situation. There will be animal villages and such that he will have to pass through. The time period that it will be set in is the 1920's. The book is long and intense with some mature themes, so in order to make this suitable for a child to watch it, we will create an abridged version of the story that will not include some of the trials and temptations addressed in the novel that are not as relatable to children. We will include and highlight the three important scenes we discussed before (Christian's choice to start the journey, the Wall of Salvation, and crossing the River) as well as going to Palace Beautiful (now a treehouse of four kind squirrels), traveling through Vanity Fair (now a city of rats), and fighting Appolyon (now a large cat-like monster).
Casting of Significant Characters (animated):
- Christian will be a small mouse who will need to exhibit qualities that the original character portrayed, such as determination, perseverance, humbleness, and simplicity. The whole story traces Christian's journey so he will be present in most if not all scenes. He could be played by Eddie Redmayne.
- Evangelist will be an albino mouse. Morgan Freeman (obviously). He is present and very influential in one of the opening scenes where he tells Christian that he needs to leave his home and begin the journey.
- Discretion, Piety, Prudence, and Charity will all be squirrels. They will all be caring, hospitable, and sweet. Amy Adams, Emma Watson, Emma Stone, and Jillian Fitzpatrick. They will be present when Christian reaches Palace Beautiful, which in this interpretation will be an extravagant house inside of a tree.
- Apollyon will be a hybrid of a cat, hawk, and snake. The contrast of little Christian the mouse and a large and unnatural hybrid, will portray the epicness of Christians victory. Since Apollyon is a hybrid between a dragon, fish, human, and bear in the book, in this adaptation he would become a hybrid between a rat, a hawk, a snake, and a cat. His body would have to be digital or CGI. Apollyon’s voice needs to be intimidating yet also warm. Bunyun intended for Apollyon to be somewhat relatable yet deceiving. A good voice actor would be Benedict Cumberbatch, who has previously voice acted in The Hobbit as the dragon. A second choice for the voice may be Russell Crowe.
- Worldly Wiseman will be portrayed as a small garter snake. We chose this animal because snakes are often associated with deception and persuasion, and Worldly Wiseman tries to persuade Christian to go back home and give up. Worldly Wiseman can be played by Dylan or Cole Sprouse.
- Faithful is a good friend and companion to Christian on his journey. He will be portrayed as a finch, eager and excited to reach his end goal. The actor that will play Faithful could be Jaden Smith. Because Faithful is tortured and killed in the book, we will adapt this incidence to be more kid-friendly, yet still get the point across that he cannot journey on with Christian. Instead of having him tortured, his wings will be clipped, and to symbolize his “death” and ascension into heaven, his wings will be miraculously healed and he will fly away to the “Great Palace”.
- Hopeful will be another mouse since he is from the same city as Christian. They will portray similar qualities and Hopeful will be strong and encouraging. He could be played by Hugh Jackman.
- The other characters Christian runs into along his journey will be mice, birds, frogs, and other small woodland creatures.
Setting, Costumes, Music, etc:
To set the scene of an epic journey, we hope to choose settings, costumes and music that embody nobility and exploration. We would like to set this adventure film on the British isles, partially in the English countryside, in Scotland by the sea, and The Celestial City will be on the top of mount Carrauntoohil in Ireland. The land will become more and more hilly while the obstacles that Christian faces become more treacherous. Our costumes will need to have an ethereal, artistic quality so that they will be taken seriously (no college mascot costumes;). We hope to work with the team of Lesley Lightfoot, costume designer, and Karen Dawson Harding, makeup artist, who creates the looks for Cats the musical. As for the film score, Howard Shore, who composed the score for several Lord of the Rings movies, is our choice as a composer. We hope for a score with similar orchestration that captures the valor of this journey. It should begin with a movement that seems stifled and stagnant for the City of Destruction. However, when Christian chooses to embark on his journey, the music should begin to ungulate and burst out of the stiffness into a warmth that continues to swell and expand in longing throughout the film. As Hopeful and Christian cross the final river to The Celestial City, the score should grow dark and dangerous, almost reaching despair. When Christian reaches the shore, the score should burst forth in a final fulfillment of the longing felt throughout.