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To Kill A Mockingbird: From Text to Cinema

by Featherstone


This needs to be shortened down a bit. It's a school assignment in which I am to compare & contrast the book and the movie by exploring themes, character arcs/portrayal, and the setting of the story. Please tear it apart, the teacher is a bit of a hard grader xD

Also, I know there's some parts where I omitted information (like when I don't mention the author in sentence 1) but that was deliberate, since the audience is my teacher.

Title help is much appreciated!

Thanks,

Fea

_______________________

To Kill A Mockingbird is a masterfully crafted story, in which characters have many dimensions and the town of Maycomb is thoroughly rendered, both of which lend themselves to exhibiting the major themes of racism and of loss of innocence. Maycomb is a microcosm of the South in the 1930s, and reflects many aspects of it throughout the story. The characters in Harper Lee’s novel are works of art, and many develop greatly and become much more layered throughout the book and film. Lastly are two of the most important themes in the story that are relevant still: racism and innocence.

“[Maycomb, Alabama was] a tired old town when I first knew it… There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go…” The town is quite poor, which is evident not only in the attire of individuals in the movie - casual, often dirty or torn overalls and work clothes - but also the uncommon nature of the ability to read and write in many of the townsfolk. For instance, in both versions, the first words Dill says when he introduces himself is that he can read. That’s something to brag about, especially at his age; were this a more educated town, most children would know how to read. Something that the movie has that the book does not, however, is a soundtrack, and this greatly adds to the atmosphere of Maycomb: the music of the Radley place is an excellent example of this, as it gets creepier and more suspenseful when the house is shown, reflecting the mystery and intrigue. The book tends to demonstrate this kind of air with more description: how the Radley place was run-down, how people avoided it, how one rarely saw anyone come in or out and how few knew what or who was inside anymore. Many aspects of Maycomb - from the themes, like racism and sexism, to everyone-knows-everyone culture, to its lack of money and education - portray the South in and of itself at the time, making it a kind of microcosm.

The depiction of Calpurnia is probably one of the more evident differences between the book and the film: both versions of To Kill A Mockingbird show her as a strong, resilient woman. However, the movie doesn’t show her as anything but a servant to the Finch family and a disciplinary figure to Scout and Jem. In the book, however, she is far more than that: she’s a mother to them, and one of Scout’s few female role models that she respects. Her maternal feelings for them is obvious when they are in the African-American church and she stands up for the children when Lula becomes enraged about the white children. Unlike Cal, Scout’s development is evident in both versions: she starts as a very hotheaded individual who fights before she thinks. It’s only when Atticus tells her not to fight anymore over the insults that are directed at him that she exhibits any self-control over the matter, sheerly out of loyalty to her father. Through this ordeal she learns to reason before she acts.

A large part of her growing up is one of many aspects of a major theme of the story: loss of innocence. “Remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird,” Atticus tells his children. This is because mockingbirds are innocent: they don’t do anything “...but sing their hearts out for us.” There are many metaphorical mockingbirds: Tom Robinson, who is killed; Arthur Radley, who is evidently very kind yet still harmed; the black community as a whole, who are many good people who are being hurt by the prejudice they face. At the beginning of the story, Scout is a naive young girl: by the end, she sees the inherent, cruel nature of humans in addition to the racism and sexism, even in its subtlety - for instance, an acceptance of the status of black people in the community by Scout. The movie portrays a lot of this through segregation (e.g. the African-Americans on the higher, hotter balcony in the court) and the book shows it more through Scout’s narration (like how she simply doesn’t take notice of much of a lot of the mistreatment of blacks).

To Kill A Mockingbird is a classic story, and much of its popularity comes from its beautifully crafted town, multi-layered characters, and the themes that are not only well-depicted but also very complex, and both the movie and the book did well in portraying this, if in different ways. From the depiction of a slow, 1930s town to the subtleties of the prejudice of the time, this story is truly timeless and will hold a special place in its readers hearts forever.


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Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:34 pm
BluesClues wrote a review...



Okay, so I feel like this is due today and therefore I'm late to the party. But I like reviewing essays and I have some thoughts on this, so here I am anyway.

1. Quotes

While I realize this essay compares and contrasts a book and a movie, an essay that discusses any sort of media should ideally include direct quotes from that media. (For the book, page numbers should also be noted.) You use a couple of these quotes but sparingly and not to the greatest effect. Rather than saying things like, "The book does this by describing the town a lot," give us an example of this description, directly from the book. You can do this in-line with many of your existing sentences, like "The book tends to demonstrate this kind of air with more description: how the Radley place [quote describing the house as run-down], how [quote about people avoiding it], how [quote about seeing no one coming in or out and/or quote about people not knowing what it's like inside anymore]."

Right now, you spend a lot of time speaking generally about how the book and movie portray or discuss things. Without those specific examples, the essay is kind of flat. Another example would be Calpurnia's portrayal - what motherly actions from the book are missing in the movie, reducing her to the role of a simple servant?

(You could also talk about how ironic this is and the fact that the movie sort of undermines the intended message of the book by doing this, but that could also be left off as another topic for another essay. Plus I know you said this needed to be cut down, not lengthened.)

2. Introduction

The introduction to an essay should give a clear idea of what the essay is going to discuss. But! You never want to say, "This essay will discuss..." or "This essay will be about..." or "These topics will be discussed..."

Everything should be made as a statement of fact. Not "This essay will discuss how the movie and book handle the themes differently," but "The movie and books handle the themes differently."

So! That's the first issue with the introduction, that there are some "this essay will discuss" type sentences, which you definitely want to avoid. They're unnecessary and amateur. Plus, this cuts out extraneous words!

The other issue I had is that I wasn't clear on what your thesis statement is. Because of your author's note, I know you're comparing and contrasting the book and the movie. I know your teacher knows that because she gave the assignment. But you always have to imagine the reader does not know ahead of time and has only the introduction to introduce them to the essay's topic. You bounced around a lot, though: you praise the story and the book specifically, talk about how Macombe is a microcosm of the 1930s South, and mention two major themes (racism and innocence, each of which you actually mention twice). It's hard to keep track of what your actual goal is with this essay, except for the author's note beforehand.

3. Conclusion

The conclusion should tie into the introduction - it should reiterate your thesis statement or at least clearly allude to it to wrap the essay up in a satisfying way. Yours here seems unconnected to the rest of the paper, since your conclusion reads more like the end of a book review talking about how great TKaM is.

Aaaaaaaand that's it. Sorry this was too late to be of any actual help, but hopefully it'll help you with future essays, since a lot of what I talked about applies to essays in general.




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Sun Oct 29, 2017 2:25 pm
inktopus wrote a review...



Hey, FalconerGal9086! Storm here for a review this fine Review Day, so let's jump right into it!

To Kill A Mockingbird is a masterfully crafted story, in which characters have many dimensions and the town of Maycomb is beautifully rendered, both of which lend themselves to exhibiting the major themes of racism and of loss of innocence.

Information in essays tend to be rather dense, but I feel like this is a bit over the line of what's acceptable. There are 4 major pieces of information in this one sentence. I think breaking it up into the characters and town of Maycomb, and separating those two bits from the themes (loss of innocence and racism).

The book and the movie both do quite well in portraying this, though there are many similarities and differences between the two.

Stating the obvious. This issue is a repeat offender I see in essays. Your teacher knows what the essay is supposed to be about (they're the ones who assigned it to you in the first place!) and if they, for whatever reason, don't know, the title will give them an idea of what the essay's general idea is.

This quote might be your thesis statement, and if so, keep the general sentiment, but word it in such a way that it doesn't seem like the same thing literally everyone in your class will write.

The portrayal of them varies quite interestingly between the book and the movie, another topic that will be explored.

We know this is another topic that will be explored; it's in the introduction. I don't find this tidbit necessary as it states the obvious.

Last, but by no means least, are two of the most important themes in the book that haven’t changed over the many years since the story takes place: racism, in its subtlety and straightforwardness, and the one that gave this book it’s title: loss of innocence.

Two issue with this. First, it's not worded very well. I think you have extra, unnecessary words and it's all written in a rather convoluted way. Also, "...gave this book its title: loss of innocence." When showing possession, the word 'it' strangely does not require an apostrophe as that denotes the contraction "it is".

These are the first words introducing the small, southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, in the year of 1933. The town is quite poor,

I feel like the information in these sentence can be combined for conciseness.

The book tends to demonstrate this kind of air with more description: how the Radley place was run-down, how people avoided it, how one rarely saw anyone come in or out and how few knew what or who was inside anymore.

This kind of depends on what the teacher likes to see in essays (if they love the details, definitely keep this in), but this could be condensed to help you with your issue of length.

when Lula goes off on them.

Gets a bit conversational here. Might want to up the formality a teensy bit, but just in this fragment.

Her maternal feelings for them is obvious when they are in the African-American church and she stands up for the children when Lula goes off on them.

Maternal feelings are obvious.

A large part of her growing up, however, is one of many aspects of a major theme of the story: loss of innocence, which gives the story its very name.

Why is this 'however' necessary?

At the beginning of the story, Scout is a naive young girl: by the end, she sees the inherent, cruel nature of humans in addition to the racism and sexism, even in its subtlety (for instance, an acceptance of the status of black people in the community by Scout). The movie portrays a lot of this through segregation (e.g. the African-Americans on the higher, hotter balcony in the court) and the book shows it more through Scout’s narration (like how she simply doesn’t take notice of much of a lot of the mistreatment of blacks).

There are a lot of interjections here that make it difficult to read. Only include what is strictly necessary.

Your conclusion only has two sentences. I don't know if that's an issue with your teacher (I'd personally take issue, but that's just me), but I wanted to point that out.

Overall, nice essay. I agree with it (and I very much enjoyed reading the book though I've never watched the film). I think to cut down on extra fluff, you're going to have to cut some of those fancy transition words and things that aren't strictly content helping you explain your point.

~Storm




Featherstone says...


thanks!



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Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:53 pm
SilloriaD wrote a review...



Hello! I hope this assignment goes well for you- I've had hard graders as well, so I'll do my best to help you.

Overall, I think you did a great job of comparing the two mediums the story appears in. Your writing was clear and concise, getting the point across without too much struggle. I have two main suggestions for you today.

#1: Citations

Teachers will be super impressed if you present them with a paper that includes proper citations of the book without them having asked for them. It's just a fact I've learned over time. So, I'd suggest mentioning page numbers when you mention an event that takes place solely in the book.


#2: The Last Paragraph

All your paragraphs are a good length except the very last, which leaves something to be desired. As a matter of fact, you left it as one sentence. I know that the conclusion in a paper like this can be the most frustrating, but take some time to play with a longer conclusion. The way it currently is, I imagine you'll be docked some points.

One more thing- you had a few times where you used parentheses where other punctuation would be more appropriate. I'd suggest considering commas or a hyphen instead, but this is more a stylistic choice to add more polish than a note on the work itself.


Well done! I actually enjoyed this greatly, which is saying something since it's an essay.

Keep Writing!
-Silloria




Featherstone says...


Thanks for dropping by, Silloria! :D



SilloriaD says...


Of course. Happy to help :-) If you have a minute, maybe check out my work? I'll look at some more of yours



Featherstone says...


A bit busy at the moment, but if I have time on Review Day I'll drop by :)




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