"To Kill a Mockingbird"

Essay by jefferson23High School, 10th gradeA+, November 2008

download word file, 3 pages 5.0

Two hours and 10 minutes is longer than the length of most movies, but it is not long enough to develop the character of Arthur “Boo” Radley in the 1962 screen adaptation of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” It also is not long enough to include explanations of various scenes or to include significant characters like Aunt Alexandra, a vexing character in the book and absent in the movie. However, the principal difference between the book and the movie of the same title is the absence of the charm evident from the book’s narration by the protagonist, 6- and then 8-year old Scout Finch, daughter of a small town lawyer in the 1930s.

The original manuscript for the book, submitted to a publisher in 1957, was described as a series of short stories strung together. The published version appears to have three distinct parts: the childhood antics of Scout, brother Jem, and friend Dill; the trial of black man Tom Robinson, falsely accused of raping a white woman; and acts of revenge by the woman’s father against Scout’s lawyer father, who unsuccessfully defended Robinson.

The movie likewise follows these three distinct parts, yet adequately develops only the second part. The injustice of the false accusation is apparent in both the book and the movie. However, the real appeal of the story lies with how Scout describes her experiences in the first and third parts.

For example, Dill’s tendency to exaggerate is aptly described when Scout finds Dill, who has run away from home, in her bedroom one evening. “How’d you get here?” she asks him after feeding him some leftover cornbread. Dill, “[r]efreshed by food,” recited a narrative involving having been chained in his basement, surviving only on peas pushed through the basement grate by a...