Of Mice and Men | Book vs movie

J. Steinbeck, in a few words. He was born in 1902, in Salinas, California. After he dropped out of college, he began to write, and, in 1935 his book “Tortilla Flat” launched him on the literary scene. His best work is considered to be “The Grapes of Wrath” for which he received a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. He is also known for “Of Mice and Men” and “East of Eden”. His novels deal with social and economic issues in rural areas, but there is also the theme of worship of the soil in his stories, which sometimes comes in conflict with his social message. Most of his work is set in California, especially in the Salinas Valley and feature everyman characters, who are witnesses or participants of injustice. During the WWII he was a war correspondent, and in 1962 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. He died in 1968 of a heart condition.

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The Kite Runner. A book and movie analysis

book:  ”The Kite Runner”, Khaled Hosseini, 2003

movie: “The Kite Runner”, Marc Forster, 2007

  In this case, the movie is very similar to the book, leaving out only minor details, so this will be more of an analysis of the story itself, of how the author portrayed certain ideas, and how the director gave them life in movie form. Enjoy!

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Story

The story begins in San Francisco, with a phone call from Afghanistan who tells adult Amir he has to come back to his homeland, because “There is a way of being good again”. The story then jumps back a few decades back, in 1970’s Afghanistan, where two boys, Amir and Hassan are flying kites together, and shoot pebbles at animals with a slingshot. Amir is the son of a wealthy businessman, nicknamed Baba. Hassan, on the other hand, is the son of Ali, a devoted servant of the family and also a good friend of Baba, with whom he grew up.

Themes

The main themes of the story are friendship, parent – child relationship, prejudice, betrayal, guilt, religion and ethnicity.

Hassan is exceptionally good at flying kites, and he is constantly praised by Baba, to Amir’s bitter disappointment and envy. The boy feels blamed by his father, Baba, for killing his mother while she was giving birth to him. When he overhears Baba telling Rahim Khan, his best friend, that his son is not daring and confident enough, Amir is convinced that his father doesn’t love him and that he has to earn his love by winning the kite flying contest and prove he is as good as Hassan.

The conflict that sparks the plot twist is due to the different ethnicity of the two boys: Amir is a Pashtun, but Hassan is a Hazara. After a series of uprisings by the Hazaras in the nineteenth century, and ongoing tensions in the twentieth century, Hazaras were looked upon with disgrace by some Pashtuns, who compared them to dogs, slaves and parasites that pollute Afghanistan. Theprejudice is present in the story: Assef, a young boy who is always looking for trouble, confronts Amir and Hassan. The conflict intensifies and a disturbing event centering Assef changes the friendship between Amir and Hassan. But the guilt follows Amir all his life, and after receiving the phone call from his father’s best friend, Amir Khan, he knows he has to go back to Afghanistan and make things right. Continue reading “The Kite Runner. A book and movie analysis”

The Shining – Kubrick vs King

In 1977, Stephen King published his third novel, a horror story that helped define his position in the world of horror literature. The title is inspired by the song “Instant Karma” by John Lennon, which contains the line “We all shine on …”. King confirmed that the book is based on his own experience with alcoholism and his fear of not hurting his children.

Jack Torrance, one of the main characters, is an alcoholic writer compelled to accept the job as a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel during winter break, in order to provide for the family. The three, Jack, his wife Wendy and their son Danny move into the isolated hotel in the Colorado Rockies just as the summer season comes to a close. But their five years old son has psychic powers that allow him to see past events that happened in the hotel. Any link with the outside world is compromised due to a storm, while the hotel grasps Jack’s mental health, which puts the whole family in danger.

Three years after the book, the Stanley Kubrick film comes out in theaters. The movie has a slightly different structure than the book. Many aspects are omitted or completely changed to 180 degrees, which sparked controversy among fans of the book and annoyed Stephen King. The American writer admitted that he had high expectations of Kubrick’s adaptation, being a big fan of the director, but was disappointed, accusing him of transforming the story in a simple case of domestic abuse, ignoring almost completely the supernatural aspect of the story.

For a comparison between the book and its adaptation in film form, we need to consider several aspects: the construction of the characters and their motivation, the structure of the events and the different approaches by each of the two authors. Continue reading “The Shining – Kubrick vs King”