Friday, March 15, 2013

Movies, Plays, and Books

I happen to enjoy 20th century novels much more than Roman or Greek plays, or Shakespeare. That got me thinking. Novels express the inner workings of characters better than a play ever could. Okonkwo, for example, has an inner self and and outer self. The inner self is more emotional, but he appears to be an angry person from the outside. So why are movies and plays so much more popular than books? Movies and plays can't really tell me what people are truthfully thinking. Shakespeare tried, but I think he's a bore.

The average British person watches approximately 85 movies a year. That's pretty astounding. Estimating that every movie takes about two hours on average, your talking a good amount of hours. That's not counting plays, but of course theatre has been overtaken by TV, unfortunately. I do not read 85 books a year. Why? Maybe because books take longer to read than TV. That is a relatively good excuse, but I don't even read 42.5 books a year, around half the average amount of movies a British person watches a year. I guess what I'm getting at is books are much more involved and interesting than movies, in my opinion, yet much less popular. Things Fall Apart was especially awesome, yet it was much more popular as a movie than as a book! The same happened with Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. Why do we enjoy movies more than books? Humans are strange.

5 comments:

Cassidy George said...

Well I think there are some pretty obvious answers. Movies are so incredibly accessible to us all. Screens of some sort have made their way into almost every building of our society, in fact, almost every room of every building. The amount of effort it takes to hit the "on" button to a TV is miniscule. Books are daunting to most people. They require intellectual effort and patience. We watch movies and TV because we know they will be entertaining and provide us with visual stimulation. We have become a much more visual culture. Our brains have to do no work; we see and are entertained. Books create only mental stimulation, we have to work to paint the picture in our own minds. And books certainly do not provide all of the answers that shows and movies do. They are often subjective and glean meaning based on your level of involvement with the text. All in all, most people choose the path of least resistance. (Myself included, considering I certainly did not read 40 books last year...)

Tyler Dean said...

I apologize ahead of time, but I don't really agree. Sure, Shakespeare plays are much more difficult to read than other books, but I think they portray even more meaning than the present day novel. For example, Hamlet is a difficult read, but it provides so much more meaning to its readers than a novel like 50 shades of gray. That being said, 50 Shades of Gray has become much more popular in this age than classic, meaningful plays/novels. I find that the reason for this interesting tend is due in large part to the fact that societal desires and norms have changed over the years. I do agree with Cassidy, however. Society nowadays is lazy, and has little desire to spend time reading a book when they can get the much less meaningful summary in the form of a movie. I, and I assume much of our class, enjoy reading the meaningful books that have gone into the dark recently.

Linz A said...

Sorry, Tyler, but I'm going to have to disagree with you. You cannot compare commercial fiction with something like Hamlet. It just doesn't work. I mean, every generation has their trashy novels that are read for pure enjoyment and then every generation has their brilliant novels that speak to society. In my opinion, every book has something of value (even if the lesson is - I don't ever want to read this again). I think there are merits to both books and movies. Movies present a moving picture that resembles what we see in every day life, whereas books require the imagination. Movies, rather than focus on the character and scenes that we must create from out our heads, allow us to focus on different aspects of the human character. We spend less time in people's heads and more witnessing the scene from a distance. Of course, there are some movies that attempt to focus on the inside of a characters head, but it does not allow the same insight that novel does. Even when written in third person, a novel still delves into the psyche of a character. I think both movies and books have value (perhaps some movies and some books have more value than others - but, in my opinion, as long as a book can bring out the emotions that the author intended, then the book is successful); the main thing is people should have a balance of both books and movies so that they can appreciate both sides of the story.

Tyler Dean said...

Lindsay, I'm sorry but I don't see your point. What I was saying was that Nowadays there are very few truly meaningful novels. Instead, there are the books you speak of that only serve the purpose to excite the emotions, but not give the reader a real message. And I was not commenting on the success of books in the authors minds, but the lingering effects that a book has on an individual. The difference between getting the heart racing and changing one's life is very broad. As in the case of books, meaningful movies are dew and far-between. On average, 1 in 50 films becomes a timeless, meaningful movie, which is sadly better than those odds for a novel. I stand my opinion that modern day norms and opinions have changed. Desires have changed, and production reflects the desires of a society, so now the topics of films have changed as well.

Ben Bonner said...

I wouldn't say absolutely that I prefer one or the other. I agree that novels do a better job of explaining characters, but I don't think that that by itself is enough to justify a claim of which one is "better." In my opinion, plays and novels can't be compared all that well, they are different media and therefore can accomplish different things. Trying to say whether plays or novels is superior is like trying to say which is better: sculptures or paintings, vocal or instrumental music.