As Lynn Hunt so clearly points out, books have been significantly influencing human actions and emotions since well before our time.  And it really upsets me when people disregard the death of the written word.  These days, television, NetFlix, iTunes, and movies have eclipsed books in the lives of adolescents and young adults.  I remember a time when my classmates would pre order their Harry Potter books months in advance so that they could be the first to read about his new adventures.  Now, thousands of kids stand outside movie theaters for hours to be the first ones to see the new movies…in 3D no less.

Some may say that movies are powerful, that they are moving and life changing.  And, to be fair, some can be.  But, in my opinion, nothing stays with you like a book.  I have never cried during a movie, or a touching tv finale, but I have broken down emotionally and cried while reading a book (Three Comrades by Erique Maria Remarque).  There is something special about being able to interpret the painstakingly crafted words on a page in your own way and to be able to imagine the characters in your mind’s eye.  A movie just lays all the cards on the table, leaving no mystery or room for imagination.  And as far as I know, movies recount revolutions, books cause them.

3 thoughts on “Books”

  1. Like Louis and Ecy, I also disagree with the harsh extent of your argument, but I can also see some real validity as to where you’re coming from. True, books are able to convey much more within the story or words that are written: the emotions of different characters, immense details can gain specific attention according to the author’s writing, and there is no 3-4 hour limit to the story because one reads a book at one’s own pace however long it is. That being said, I believe there are indeed movies of substance that may not just “leave all their cards out on the table,” but they are certainly not a dime a dozen or being mass-produced in Hollywood. Like a genuinely superb book, it must be sought after and allowed to soak in. This is the point at which you will find me, personally, crying during a movie or letting my imagination wander with the characters/plot line far after the credits have rolled by.

  2. You’ve never cried during a movie? Really? I Am Sam didn’t do anything for you? It makes me cry almost every time…Anyways, I would submit that you are generalizing on the subject of movies. There is plenty of mystery to be had in hollywood. You don’t think the writers of Inception, or Fight Club, or Memento, or any of M. Night’s movies didn’t spend hours debating plot points?

    There are plenty of merits to both mediums, and I think that they shouldn’t be strictly compared to one another. Your sign off, while pithy, doesn’t allow for the fact that moving film has been a medium for how long? A little over a hundred years. Ecy was spot on when she(he? sorry…) noted that text has been around much longer, and thus has a much longer time to have affected change. Give it a few years, and maybe we’ll talk about movies that start revolutions.

  3. Hi Anna –
    I definitely agree with your view that the written word has in the past been vastly more influential and provocative than movies. However, I wonder if you are a bit harsh in your criticism. Cinema has not been around anywhere close to the amount of time that writing has been around, and I think it has a lot of potential. It may be that given the right amount of time, cinema may also begin to take as important as a role as text. In fact, before novels and prose were widely popular, poetry was the primary form of writing, and it has certainly been eclipsed by prose. I think a good example to check out of cinema slowly developing more impact would be Triumph of the Will, a German propaganda film that was highly influential around the time of the second World War.

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