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The Birds

Essay submitted by Josh Weiss

The short story “The Birds” was written by Daphne du Maurrier and was filmed and

directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It has a very interesting and suspenseful plot. The short

story was well written and the film was well played, both are very similar. Although,

they have a few differences the film and short story have the same mood and theme.

Would the differences in the film and the short story affect the suspenseful and

frightening plot?

Alfred Hitchcock did an outstanding job filming the movie matching it with the short

story. In both the short story and film flocks and flocks of gulls, robins, and sparrows

join each other. This is a very uncommon, because different species of birds never work

mutually. Also, the story and the film are both in the identical climate. It is cold and

chilly; “The ground is frozen and it will be a black winter.”

The climate gives both versions of the story an eerie or creepy feeling. Each version

has the main character boarding up the windows to protect themselves from the

suicidal birds that try to break the barriers in front of the windows. Anyone who

thought the birds would not attack are usually found dead with their eyes pecked

away. The film and the story both have pathetic endings. Although they are dissimilar

endings they are much alike in crudeness and should has been revised with an improved

and more conventional ending. Readers would like to know what happens to the

characters and how or even if the conflict is resolved.

The short story and film have differences, but none of these differences have really

affected the plot, characters, or much of anything. The short story’s setting is just

south of London, England, and is set during the period right after World War II. The film

setting is located in Bodega Bay just sixty miles north of San Francisco, and it is set in

the time frame of the 1960s. In the film, a mad woman accused Melanie of bringing

“evil” and causing the catastrophe of the attacking birds. In the story the birds

attacked when the tide came in and in the film the birds attack in brief intervals, over

and over. The characters are definitely different in the two versions. The short story’s

main characters are a family: a husband, wife, and two children. The film’s characters

are a woman and a man, and the man’s mother and younger sister. Finally, there is no

real ending to the short story. The readers are just left with the family in the house

fearing for their lives from the birds coming in and attacking. In the film the characters

are able to slip out of the house during a quiet interval and drive away.

The short story and the film have the same plots and the same conflict of man vs.

man, man vs. nature, man vs. society, and man vs. the supernatural. In either version

of the story it could not be explained “why the birds waited 154 million years to start

attacking humans.” Is Melanie or the lovebirds really evil in the film, or in the story is it

just the black winter and tides? My preference version would definitely be the film,

because at least you know the ending, and it just seemed more dramatic and

enjoyable. The watcher can feel the characters’ true emotions and you can really

sympathize with them. All together it is truly an enjoyable story.


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