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Reading is an intimate experience that one shares with a book. You enter the world of the story and live in it while reading. Often times, this experience is so vivid that one would feel as though the experience is realistic. Books are so powerful that they draw the reader into the author’s brain so they can have a close encounter with the story. Readers can create a mental movie while reading, which helps making the experience much more special. Not literally, but you can see all the aspects in which the author includes in his or her story. Seeing goes beyond looking with your eyes, it plays a part with imagining all that the book has to offer.
In “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean, you get to experience the joy of the story within the film and the text. The story is about the summers spent in Missoula, Montana with the Maclean family. There is the dad Reverend Maclean, the mother, and the two brothers Norman and Paul. The narrator Norman explains how fly fishing is like a religion to the young boys in their days. Maclean writes the story in such a descriptive way that you also feel closely connected to them while fishing. The style of writing Maclean uses serves as the passenger seat of a car while he drives us through all of the events in the story. Even when the road got tough, he still managed to steer us in the right direction.
In the film, there is a different experience that one has while watching. The film provided more background and character development for more characters than the book did. The book is written through first person narrative; everyone and every experience is described through Norman’s eyes. The film on the other hand is shown through the eyes of the director. Nevertheless, the story was still the same. You got to see more things than the book had to offer. You got to see the unconditional love between the brothers Norman and Paul. There was a scene where the boys got in trouble and they made eye contact with each other. Without any dialogue, so many things were said between the two of them that a book could never capture. There was also a scene in the movie where Norman danced with his love Jessie. By the way he looked at her, you could tell she was the woman of his dreams. He stared at her so deeply that you would really believe that her eyes were the window to her soul. And to Norman, Jessie’s soul was likely to be the most beautiful soul he’d ever seen. The book provided a very intimate session for me while reading, and I felt as though I got to know Norman personally. Whereas the movie was more closed off and brief. Although both served the same purpose, it served a different experience.
In the book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey, you also get to have a close experience with the narrator in the book. The story is about the events that take place inside a psychiatric hospital in Oregon, where we get a personal experience of the structure that the hospital has. While reading the book, you get a sense of how unstable the patients might be due to the slang that was used to write the story. It could also act as the side effects of the drugs that the patients take. One part of the book described how the nurses’ clothes ripped off as she grew into the big monster within the halls of the psych ward. That part served as great imagery and provided a great example of some experiences that the mental patients have. You had the ability to follow along the story with the patients as if you were right there with them.
However, the movie provided something much more different. In the book you viewed the patients as mentally unstable people that were in the mental hospital just to get the help that they need and to not be a burden on society. The characters had more personal development in the movie, offering more than just a “patient” title. We got to hear the inner thoughts and emotions of the characters during their discussion and their reactions to their friends. I saw them more as regular people with an edge, and not crazy people who needed help like the book suggested. There was a powerful scene in the movie where some of the guys revealed that they were voluntary patients who could leave at any moment. They all said that they were there to get the therapy needed and that they were not ready to go back into the real world. This scene showed that these patients are more than what society labels them. We think about the mentally ill and often times assume that they are incapable of doing much on their own and that they have to be hovered over at all times. We forget that these are real people with real feelings despite their sickness or disabilities they may have. It shows that society has to stop putting labels upon people because we are far more special than any label could ever describe.
When reading and viewing text, one can have a range of different experiences. One may enjoy reading better, the other may enjoy watching a movie. The eyes offer more than what we know to be true about them. We use our eyes to see of course, but it goes far beyond that. When we see, we get to analyze and wonder. We analyze what we see, and conjure up thoughts. What does this mean? Where does this come from? Why does this happen? Our eyes allow us to go deeper into books, unearthing all that the story has to offer. You can search forever among the themes, symbols, and metaphors that a story has. Without our eyes, we would not be able to truly see these things. We are oblivious to the powers and talents that we have, but we have to truly look into ourselves to find them.
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