Alternate Perspective: A Critical Comparison from the Narrative Perspective

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Stories are told through a seemingly limitless number of vessels: oral traditions date back thousands of years, literature revolutionized the way information is carried, and in the more recent years film broke through barriers and revolutionized modern media. What all all of these forms have in common is a medium, a method in which to tell their story. Though there are some exceptions, the traditional format includes a narrator of sorts, who will illustrate the events of a story from their own personal perspective. As one can imagine, a story is vastly influenced by the narrator that tells it. Details, opinions, even whole events are included or left out at the discretion of the individual or individuals sharing it. A brilliant example of the power narration holds lies when comparing Joseph Conrad’s novel Heart of Darkness to Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, a film based off of the previously mentioned novel. The novel’s aspiring seaman, Charles Marlow, is a stark contrast to Benjamin Willard, the movie’s special operations officer. Though both pieces of art tell similar stories, the way each tale is told changes the way they story is told. Marlow and Willard are fundamentally different people, even though they both represent the same character. Marlow shows time and time again to be an independent thinker, his tone when regarding his fellow European men implying that he does not feel like he is one of them. Originally he worked very hard to make his way to Africa, but his journey leaves him disappointed with the reality he could not have known about. While he does harbor some prejudices towards the Africans, Marlow allows his perspective to change over time with everything he observes. Wilson, on the other hand, reveals far... ... middle of paper ... ...nces; the fact that he was not fully willing to go to Vietnam separates him from the other soldiers who are all very excited to be there. The narrative styles of each character change the way themes are emphasized. Each method of narration brings a particular point of view to focus, creating a different overall effect for the readers and viewers. Narrators have the power to take one story and paint it in their own light, making some parts shine while others hide neglected in the shadows. Wilson brought the savage nature of his fellow soldiers sparkle in the spotlight, while the morality of the American’s purpose in the land needed not be addressed. Marlow showed readers the evil behind the European invasion, while gazing over important sections of the story. Though both pieces of media tell virtually the same story, the narration changed the way each piece was seen.
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