To Kill a Mockingbird – Compare and Contrast to Movie

To Kill a Mockingbird – Compare and Contrast to Movie

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a fictional novel which explores the events in the small town of Maycomb through the eyes of Scout Finch, a 10 year old girl. Published and released in 1960, the novel became a favorite of modern American literature. Like most famous novels, it was adapted into a film. The film “To Kill a Mockingbird”, starring Gregory Peck and Mary Badham, was released in 1962, two years after the novel. Generally, a novel and its film follow the same sequence of events; however, depending on the wishes of the director, certain scenes may be left out.

This occurs in the film adaption of “To Kill a Mockingbird”. The movie shares a similar storyline to the novel, but changes many themes removing key ideas that the author wanted to reveal through the plot. To adapt the novel, many parts of the film pose as an illustrated version of the original. The theme of racism which is central to the story is acted similarly. Since the movie is based off the novel, the general storyline must be similar. Scenes like the actions of Boo Radley, the attack of Bob Ewell on the children, and the trial of Tom Robinson all appear in both stories.

Both versions show segregation between the two races. However, the movie does not include all the content from the original story, modifying and leaving out certain themes. Since the movie has less time to tell the story, it often excludes scenes and characters, thus, leaving out key roles that these characters bring. In the novel, Aunt Alexandra, plays a major role in teaching Scout how to be lady like. She comes to help Atticus and points out that “… it would be best for [Scout] to have some feminine influence… before [she] becomes interested in clothes nd boys” (Lee, 170).

We see her bringing Scout to tea parties and dressing her up to develop a feminine character in her. The role of Aunt Alexandra in the novel builds on the theme of femininity. On the contrary, the film does not include Aunt Alexandra, making the thought of Scout acting like a lady a minor theme. In fact, other than one scene where Scout wears a dress, the whole theme itself is missing. The head lady role is played by Miss Maudie, but we do not see Scout develop a stronger relationship with her.

Consequently, the vital message that Miss Maudie carries in the book is left out in the movie. Viewers that have only seen the movie and not the book will not be able to fully grasp the understanding of what completes To Kill a Mockingbird. In the essence of the novel, Scout narrates all of the scenes. The whole story is centralized around her views as a little girl, making her the most predominant character in the novel. The author did this so readers could understand the atmosphere and thoughts of the eople at the time. By having Scout narrate, readers could also feel the attitude a child may have towards racism, femininity and innocence. In the film, having Scout narrate every scene would be bothersome and distracting. Instead, the movie speaks though an older version of Scout, and only at certain scenes to set the mood. Because of this, her impressions are viewed as in the past and the audience has a harder time understanding the actions of a child that are narrated by an adult.

In fact, since the narration is not set to one character, the film builds on other character’s roles. For example, Jem’s role is more predominant. He is the one who finds the knothole and he also goes with Atticus to inform Helena Robinson of Tom’s death. Although Scout is the main character, the film focuses on Jem’s growth and development as well. With alterations of themes, viewers learn a different point of the story, In the novel, the author wanted the readers to get a viewpoint of what Scout thought of growing up in Maycomb County.

This happens in the film, but is now the main focus. The film also changes the theme of femininity, but without the appearance of Aunt Alexandra. Despite the differences, each version relayed a powerful message to society, especially at the setting that the story took place in. If one only views the film without reading the book, vital themes meant to be important will not be understood and appreciated. Overall, both the movie and the novel share the core details of the original story, just some of the details and themes have been left out or modified.

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