"The Dead" film and text contrast

Essay by Qbanita April 2006

download word file, 2 pages 1.0

Downloaded 18 times

James Joyce's "The Dead" is one of the most famous and well written short stories in literary history. Hidden within the plot of the story is a shocking character analyzation that Joyce has intricately weaved into his story. In fact, the story was so spectacular that John Houston, a famous director, took the book and turned it into a movie. Houston's film truly captured the essence of Joyce's story; however, there were some very significant differences throughout the film.

For one, the mere fact that in the story most of the action takes places in Gabriel, the main character's head, takes away an element of the plot. The last part of the story is almost entirely about Gabriel's abrupt and shocking self revelation, and yet in the film it is not perceived this way. Though I do believe that Houston did a fabulous job to try and portray this in his film, he was simply not able to fully impact the audience in this way.

Another difference is that his confrontation with Lily, the maid, in the very beginning of the story is seen very different in the two. In the film, the encounter is brief and does not even seem to rattle Gabriel is the smallest sense. However, in the story we see that he is actually very embarrassed by the confrontation and shies away from her immediately; while in the film it seems as if he is only being charitable. This is another example of how Houston was not able to show Gabriel's internal feelings as well in the movie.

Also, Freddy Malins was much more involved in the story line in the movie as opposed to the short story. In Joyce's written version, Freddy Malins barely speaks, except for a few key lines that make him a...