Lizney (restlesswolves) wrote in broken_glasses,

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persuasive essay

In English recently we had to write a persuasive essay and my teacher made the mistake of telling us that it could be about anything we wanted. Now, I didn't go as low as one of my class-mates (who wrote an essay about how he should be was surprisingly good, actually) but I did write an essay that is kind of off the wall.

It's called
Read The Book First

After getting home from the first Harry Potter movie, I was ashamed to hear all of the criticism toward the film. It was poorly acted; poorly directed; poorly plotted. For the most part I agreed with all of the anti-hype, but the only thing that I could tell the people who voiced such negative opinions was, "well, at least the book was good." However, the usual retort to a comment such as this was not only shocking, it was greatly disappointing: "Oh, I never read any of the books."

I'm sorry, what? You went into a film without finding out about the story and without the intention of doing so at any point after seeing it? So you've placed your faith in one certain medium, without even the slightest craving to venture into any other technique? Not only are you stunting your imagination, you're not giving regard to the fact that this story knew another life. It might have even been a better life. No matter how well a movie is written, you can never accurately recreate an entire novel in two hours. And if the movie isn't well written, you're getting even less of the true story. You should look into every medium you can when viewing a piece of art in order to broaden your scope of self. In other words: read the book first!

The fact is that an author took the time out of his or her very nice life to write the book that you're not bothering to read. Instead of asserting yourself and appreciating the hard work of this tireless individual, you're going to take the easy way out. Six dollars spent to get the spark notes version played out by your favorite actors with their fake accents and perfect hair. Come on, even you must realize that this rouged and hair-sprayed version can't do complete justice to the story? That's why I can't believe that a person of intelligence and grace such as you would stoop so low as to proclaim, "I will never read this book!"

Sadly, the written word has received a bad rep over the years. I'm not even going to go into the guilt trip of saying that once not everyone was permitted to read in this country, but instead I'll go straight to the questioning of today's youth and their ideals. When did it become "boring" or "geeky" to read a good book? Once, a man would be considered distinguished for having a well-stocked library; now he's just a nerd with too much time on his hands. A good book is mind-opening, imaginative, and even provocative. It might even be more entertaining than a movie because a book can do things a movie never could.

Special effects are intriguing and beguiling, but what about the effects your own mind gives a story? No matter how much dramatic music a movie puts over a grey and dreary scene, it's nothing to the suspense of reading about the smell of the dirt and the sound of crunching grass under a person's feet while walking in a wretched graveyard. No amount of violin playing can really tell you what's going on in a lover's mind in the midst of a passionate kiss. In other words, a book can give you what a movie can't: a look behind the scenes, so to speak. Which would be more interesting for you to know? An actor is just thinking about his grocery list as he's defeating the villain, while the protagonist in a novel is thinking about the churning of his rage and the slight pang of his conscience.

There is nothing worse than seeing a trailer for a movie based on one of your favorite books and getting unabashedly excited about it. Usually nothing good will come from the film version taken from your memories. No actor will quite look like your vision of the protagonist, no voice will quite match the sound of the villain’s laugh, and no dark and dreary night will strike fear into your heart quite like the horror you’ve formed in your own imagination. You’ve recreated this story from its ink and paper form into such a vivid and exciting fantasy in your mind that nothing can compare. How wonderful it must be, all these imaginary personages running about in your head, getting themselves into all kinds of trouble that you’ve created for them. All these thoughts and actions that the author has laid out to truly form this character into a flesh and blood person are exciting and thought inducing. No scriptwriter could ever make something that would live up to the movie you’ve already made for yourself.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not knocking film as a well-versed medium. There are some movies where I walk out of the cinema and I’m blown away by the telling of a story in so great a form. I’ve cheered on actors and directors at the Golden Globes and the Oscars like any other fan; I’ve waited months for a particular film to reach theatres in my area. Film is a good art form, but the fact is that a film recreated from a pre-existing novel can do nothing without the acknowledgment of that original form. As I said before, there is no way that you can fit a full-length novel into a two-hour time limit. There are things that will be cut, characters that will be sacrificed and (dare I say it?) plot lines that will be changed. How can you say that you truly know a story without truly knowing the story?

It’s like having someone tell you about the weather. They’re going to tell you the bits that are most important to them and maybe not what you really want to know. So you leave the house with a suede jacket because they said it was going to be cold outside, but they didn’t think to mention the fact that it might rain later. A scriptwriter, a director, a producer and an editor are all barging down on this small piece of literature and tearing it to pieces, taking out the bits that will bring the most profit and often leaving the heart-felt tale behind. When you don’t get the whole story, you’re left wondering if there was more, and if there was why on earth they didn’t share it with you. A ruined suede jacket is just as bad as a hacked-up plot line, neither will be fulfilling and both will leave you feeling heavy and confused.

And that’s it really; the producers of films are out to make money as their final goal. If they read a story that’s wild and exciting and provocative, but they know that no one will pay to come see it, they won’t produce it. Authors are also writing for profit—writing is their job after all—but the creator of a popular Hollywood film usually isn’t creating just for the sake of creating. There are the Sundance filmmakers, the directors thinking outside of the perfect Los Angeles box, but they are so few and far between that we take time out of our day to mention and boggle at them. A successful producer is going to produce what sells and nothing more. Most authors, on the other hand, write because it’s their passion. They write about what means the most to them, or about what will make the most difference in the world. Maybe they won’t find a publisher right away, but eventually they will, and their words can be set forth in print to try and make a difference.

So you didn’t enjoy the movie, it was confusing or pointless or under-developed, so what? There is a book out there waiting for you to discover it. A book that is better than the movie and maybe better than any book you’ve ever read. How can you truly say whether you like or dislike something if you haven’t done all of your research? Fine, go see the movie, think about what might be missing from it’s hacked and broken plot line as you watch, and then pick up the book. Better yet, read the book first! It could open a whole new world to you.

and I understand that it takes kind of a...."strong" stand on the subject, but I had to pick a side and stick to it no matter what. I had to convince you. I figured I'd post it on here because of its subject matter. Tell me what you think!

Also: I'm reading Thud!, the newest Terry Pratchett book. It's quite good, I'm enjoying it immensly. Along with The Crucible in English class.
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