To Kill a Mockingbird is a timeless novel that was published in 1960.
Two years later the book was transformed into an award-winning movie. The story tells us about how an evil society can kill an innocent living thing such as a Mockingbird. The mockingbird becomes a huge moral symbol throughout the book and movie because it does nothing wrong but is blamed for everyone else’s evil.
By reading the book and viewing the movie as a whole, compared to experiencing the two separately, there is obvious similarities/differences in the plot, characters, mood, setting etc. The novel perfectly describes everything but the movie gives a visual to the story. First, let’s look at the ways how the book and movie differ from each other. Since a very big aspect of the book is Scout telling the story from her first-person perspective you would expect the movie to follow the same guideline. However, the movie actually slid off from being in her perspective and gave her brother the leading role.
If we start analyzing the plot of the book vs. the movie, we discover that the movie only shows two years of the story vs. three. As they show the most important events that shape the story they leave out a lot of details that lead me to my next point. Lot’s of characters were taken out of the story or not given huge screen time. A big example is a role that Aunt Alexandra played in the book. She basically was the only female influence in Scout’s life that tried to teach her about womanhood. In the movie, she wasn’t even shown but was mentioned of a couple times.
Another noticeable thing is that the trial is a lot shorter in the movie compared to the novel. The trial in the novel is an intense five chapters while the movie didn’t include some of the arguments or go into depth of what took place after. Lastly a difference of the impact of relationships that was shown in the movie. An example being how the black community was described or involved.
In the novel, Calpurnia says to the kids this line “Can’t bout about four folks in first purchase can read and I am one of them. Why this line would have been significant to be in the movie is because it would add the contrast of tension between white and black people at this time. On the other hand, how they are the novel and movie are similar to each other is apparent in the opening scene. Both the movie and the book capture the same mood; child innocence and lack of knowledge to what is really happening. Everything for Scout and Jem is just fun and games. Also, Scout is the main character in the book and the movie.
Most importantly the themes in the movie were acted out to the depth of how serious they were in the novel. I find sometimes movie lack incorporating the same seriousness and skip over telling about the dark theme such as rape or racism. This could be due to wanting to make the movie available for a bigger audience such as families with kids. I am also happy to say that they used the same dialogue that was said in the book.
This includes using old fashion slang and an exampling being the word “yonder” to mean far in the distance. Lastly, the overall message was played out the same. As the story often talks about the problems of racism and judgement, Scout learns the valuable lesson in the end not to assume bad things about a person. In, which this leads her to find out that Boo Radley is actually a very nice person despite the awful rumours told against him. In all, I would like the say that movie and book go hand in hand but it is definitely recommend to read the book first.
The movie did lack a few key things but it was nice to finally put a face to the characters I envisioned in my head.