To Kill A Mockingbird - Differences between Movie and Book


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To Kill A Mockingbird - Differences between Movie and Book

 

There are usually differences in two different versions of something. This can often be seen when a book is made into a movie. There are many similarities and differences in the book and movie versions of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

 

To begin with, there are many similarities between the book and movie To Kill A Mockingbird. For example, Tom Robinson died in an attempt to escape from prison in both the book and the movie. In my opinion Tom's death was crucial to the original story, and I believe the movie would have been seen as over-sentimental if the scriptwriters had let him live. Another important similarity between the book and movie, is the mutual fascination between Arthur Radley and the children. Arthur, or Boo as the children called him, left them gifts such as dolls, a watch, and chewing gum in the hollow of a tree in his yard. The children made expeditions to the Radley house to look in the window just so they could catch a glimpse of Boo Radley. I believe this captivation was important to the story line because it was the main foundation of the children's imagination. A big part of the story was imagining Boo to be some kind of freak that came out at night to eat cats and squirrels. An additional similarity between the book and movie is the respect showed to Atticus by the African American community of Maycomb. They respected him for his courage, which by his definition meant, "It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do."(112). I think the mutual respect between the African Americans and Atticus was important not only to Atticus, but also to his children. Their father and the sad story and memories of Tom Robinson taught them the wrongs of racism. I think if the movie producers had taken out the good relationship between Atticus and the African Americans, it would be taking away one of the most important themes of the story. There are many other significant similarities between the book and the movie.

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In comparison with the many similarities in the book and movie versions of To Kill A Mockingbird, there are also many differences. One huge difference that was almost impossible to miss, was the absence of Aunt Alexandra. Atticus' sister, Alexandra, was the thorn in Scout's side throughout the book. She always wanted Scout to act more like a lady. Towards the end, she became more like a mother in soothing Scout and trying to reassure her that Jem was not dead. I think Aunt Alexandra was a huge part of the story, and I think they should have kept her in the movie. Be that as it may, the movie moved along quite well without her. I also found there to be huge differences in the trial. For example, although Mayella Ewell, pretended to be very upset by Atticus' questioning, she did not accuse him of mocking her. I thought that this was somewhat significant because it was one of Mayella's tactics for trying to get pity from the jury. A more minor difference, was the combination of Miss Maudie and Miss Rachel. The two neighbors of the Finches were combined into one person for the movie. I do not think it mattered very much, because they served the same purpose in the end. They were there as comfort to Atticus and the children. A larger difference in the movie pertained to Mrs. Dubose. Mrs. Dubose did make a small appearance in the movie, but her role was cut down quite a bit from what it was originally in the book. Mrs. Dubose, a morphine addict, played a large role in Jem's life. She constantly harassed Scout and Jem, insulted their father, and just made life miserable for them. When Jem lost his temper, he took it out on Mrs. Dubose's flower garden. His punishment was to read to Mrs. Dubose to help her break her addiction. When she died, Atticus gave Jem a lesson in what it is to have courage. That entire segment was cut out of the movie. Atticus' quote on courage was one of the most important things in the book, and although the movie was fine without it, I feel that the Mrs. Dubose scenes would have added a lot to the movie.

 

In conclusion, different versions of a creation will always have their differences. This is true in the book and movie versions of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

 


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