Book or Movie?

         I love to read books. I also love to watch movies. When someone decides to make a movie from a book, which one is more entertaining? I believe that each has advantages and disadvantages. I also believe that the preference of one over another greatly depends on the individual.

         Wuthering Heights is a classic novel written by Emily Brontë in 1847. The characters are described in detail for the reader to form an image in his or her mind. The book version of a story allows the reader to use his or her imagination. Heathcliff can look like what the reader wants him to look like. Brontë is vague enough to allow different readers to have different opinions. She is also descriptive enough to allow the readers to play a movie in their heads. This is an advantage of reading a book. Individuals can see the book in a variety of ways.

         The movie version of Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler, was released in 1939. Even though it was in black and white, the movie was very good at presenting a vivid image. I think that people sometimes enjoy actually seeing a real face to go with each character. Audiences can see the reactions of characters, especially those of Heathcliff, who was played by Rex Downing as a boy and Laurence Oliver as a man, a little more distinctly. In the book, one cannot see exactly how Heathcliff looks at Catherine when he is just passing by. However, in the movie version, the reactions of the people in the background can have an effect on how one sees the characters. It can be fun for someone to see a character portrayed in the way he or she had pictured the character from reading the book. However, it is also possible that a person could be disappointed in the portrayal.

         Also, houses and clothes were right there on the screen where people could marvel at them. One can actually see with one's own eyes the darkness of Wuthering Heights. It is then easier to compare it to the brightness of Thrushcross Grange.

         A disadvantage of the film version is the changes to the story. The film version greatly changed the story presented in the novel. The children of the characters were not mentioned at all in the movie. I think this was the worst part of the movie. Though this is often due to the time issues that movies have to deal with, I see it as a great disadvantage. The children of the characters were an important part to the entire story. Leaving them out was much like cutting the story short.

         The novel and the movie each have advantages and disadvantages. Individuals may like the film version of a story better, and they may like the novel better. It depends upon the individual and which version suit his or her needs better.

Jennifer Stafford

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