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Cry, The Beloved Country, From Paper To Film Essay, Research Paper

Don’t Cry There’s a Movie

Many books in conversion from paper to film get changed or even lose important details. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Patron is one such book that has gone through this process. The differences ranged from characterization and setting to the plot and the overall meaning of the book.

One of the main characters, Jarvis, was significantly different. He was a much more bitter and discriminating man in the movie as opposed to the book. In the beginning of the movie there was a scene where Jarvis gave a very dirty look to a little native girl running by which would have probably have been hard to express in the book. Still, this gave the audience a bad impression of Jarvis. One scene in the movie seemed to be added to intentionally make Jarvis look racist. This was when he went to identify his son’s body and made the bad remark about natives. Finally, during the funeral Jarvis refused to shake a native’s hand. In the book he did shake their hands but was not happy about it. Him just completely refusing in the movie makes him look extremely rude even during a funeral.

The setting was also significantly different in the movie. Though there was not a lot of description of the setting in the book the setting in the movie made a difference. Ndotshenti in the book was described as a drought stricken environment where it was hard to survive in. The book made it look like a beautiful valley with rolling green grass everywhere that to me almost looked like a paradise. Johannesburg gets very little description in the book but is implied through Kumalo’s eyes to be an amoral and corrupt city. In the movie they really try to emphasize this to an extreme. They have bums littered around while people chase and scream at others. This all really changes the view of Johannesburg.

The plot and theme were much different in the movie compared to the book. The movie was Mainly focused on the story between Jarvis and Kumalo while the book was more about South Africa and the hardships and politics going on with one such case being emphasized about Jarvis and Kumalo. The whole issue about Shanty Town and people trying to find places to live with houses where the floor was covered with people. Also the issue of the gold mines and South African labor were not bung up at all except for the parts about the busses. There was also almost no mention of the drought going on in Ndotsheni.

Overall, even though the movie and book were significantly different I believe that the movie was a very good adaptation. A lot of the book would have probably been hard to adapt and would have also made the movie very boring. Luckily, I have had the privilege of reading the book and seeing all angles of the story.


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