Jaws: How Literature and Movies Reach Their Unique Audience

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“In Spielberg’s mythology, the essential close encounter is between filmmakers and their audiences, for whom the dreams and myths of imagination become concrete celebrations of sound, light, color, and space.” (Galenson) Stephen Spielberg has enlightened movie watchers for decades on his ability to get the most from every scene of his work. Jaws will do more to define his directorial approach at an early stage of his career. In contrast, Peter Benchley’s novel is engrossed with character development, and unnecessary sub-plots to entertain the theater audience. At the direction of Stephen Spielberg, the adaption of the novel will be recreated for cinematic appeal, leave the basic plot intact and the fear will come from conflicting sources. To create fear Benchley will rely on prose to stimulate the imagination of the reader. For instance, the writer will never use the words shark, but describe the pectoral fin, and the fish’s lack of flotation bladder to stimulate the vision of shark. He will create the mood by writing of the darkness of the water to trigger the feeling of isolation. The sexual account will help the reader envision the final demise of Chrissie. Chrissie’s fear is a nagging, and growing as she swims with the great fish circling the dark water below; likewise, our participation is becoming frenzied. The sources of fear are triggered by Benchley’s ability to set our imagination aflame. In contrast the words, sex, and light is not needed to thrill the audience of a movie. The movie genre of Jaws is action-adventure and the audience will require explosive visuals and sound to entertain them. Spielberg will not need sex, darkness, or words to initiate anxiety among the viewers. The camera, sound, actres... ... middle of paper ... ... have an explosive ending to an action-adventure film. Peter Benchley and Stephen Spielberg respectively use their artistic talents to entertain the audience of their work. Peter Benchley literary talent triggers the imagination to form visuals of his characters, and horrify the reader of Jaws. While Stephen Spielberg adaption makes changes to appeal to the viewer of Jaws. The novel will receive great reviews from critics such as the New York Times, make the recommended reading of Doubleday and Company, and the movie will become the father of the summer blockbuster film. Each inspires fear of sharks, and the ocean, and Jaws will become an icon of American culture as it inspires video games, t-shirt graphics, and future sequels to entertain audiences. Each artist’s ability to stimulate its perspective audience leads to the phenomenon of movie and novel.

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