My remediation attempted to convert Gaskell’s novelistic description of the mob scene in North and South into a modern tabloid article. My interest in crafting a tabloid article stemmed from the sheer ubiquity of the tabloid in daily life; average consumers can find the latest celebrity gossip occupying prime shelf space in any typical drug store or coffee shop. The tabloid has become one of the most convenient methods of conveying information, providing a quick and easy read for anyone with a little time and change to spare. It also serves as a reflection on the interests of its readers, since it adjusts its contents and format to ensure high sales. My remediated depiction of North and South provided me with several insights into the key differences between the novel form and the tabloid, which I will discuss below:
Firstly, converting Gaskell’s perfectly omniscient third-person narration into the biased, sensationalist voice of the tabloid writer allowed me to further appreciate the value of an omniscient narration. Readers of Gaskell’s narration can easily come to understand each character’s unspoken intentions and personal sentiments, and can place complete trust in the reliable narration. Meanwhile, my second-rate tabloid writer can only convey information from her limited outsider perspective, and must guess at the reality of events based on various reports and sources.
My tabloid writer also exhibits a clear bias towards the newly wealthy, industrialized elite, and thus consciously dismisses the concerns of various other perspectives. The article caters to the assumed interests of young, female, upperclass readers, and portrays Thornton in a favorable light for his economic status. The article places significant focus on Thornton, rather than the Milton working class, because it assumes that a man of wealth such as Thornton would attain more interest from readers. From Gaskell’s omniscient narration, we as readers are aware that Thornton in fact serves as a controversial figure in Milton; however, the article, with its favorable portrayal of Thornton, does not reveal this information. Instead, tabloid readers may be left with more information about the tabloid writer and his biases, as well as the interests of the audience to which her caters, than of the intentions of the characters themselves. The tabloid projects a clearer interpretation onto the story than the novel does simply because of its overwhelming bias. Readers are not given room for interpretation as they are in North and South, where they are free to analyze the event from various perspectives and the less speculative narrative voice.
Both forms take into account the marketability of the product, though the tabloid does so more obviously. North and South had to keep in mind the interests of readers for Household Words, and also incorporated cliffhangers and other subtle features that would make the piece readable in serial form. My tabloid is able to take liberties with bright color, images, and bold fonts to attract attention for potential buyers. It also construes a type of love story to draw in readers, again engaging in unreliable narration by manipulating facts and perspectives in hope of higher sales.
Though both media forms depict the same events, they allow greatly contrasting insights into them. Both aim to inform, to persuade, and to sell; however, the form with which artists choose to convey information leaves readers with dramatically different stories.