The differences between “Flowers for Algernon” as a short story and as a movie represent the differences between the two media. In my essay I am going to show, from the differences between the short story and the movie, the differences between the two media, coming up with the conclusion that the short story is the better medium by which to tell this story.
One of the most significant differences between the short story and the movie is the developing of Charlie’s character in the story. In the book for example, is nothing said about his family, whereas in the movie is told a lot about his childhood and in the end he also sees his mother. When we see Charlie in the movie identifying himself as lonely, he becomes a more described character than he is in the book. This shows the difference that in a short story we have to develop a character ourselves, but in a movie only throughout one picture of a person we already get a description of this character we would never have got in a short story. In the movie we have seen the information about Charlie we immediately get it supported by information about his family.
There are also different kinds of pathos in short story and movie. With the identification of Charlie Ms Kinnian and indirectly Algernon with the loneliness in the movie, they identify themselves as sad. This makes the movie much more pathetic than the short story, because in the short story only the identifying between Charlie and Algernon takes place, which is much less pathetic. What also support the pathos in the movie is the whole emotion around the relationship between Charlie and Ms Kinnian. This could represent the fact that a movie has to be more emotional than a short story, so that the people want to see it. But it could also show that someone who is making a movie has to bring in more pathos in his story, because he shows the story omniscient. That means he has not the chance to tell the story in diary-form and so directly out of the brain of the main character which is much more personal. With short story as diary-form you can see everything through the eyes of the diary writer.
To compare the roles of the doctors, doing the operation, also brings up a big difference. In the movie there is no Dr. Nemur, who plays a big role in the short story. In the short story Dr. Nemur represents the scientific world, which is not always human. Dr. Strauss plays the good, personal and human guy, which also cares about Charlie’s feelings and his psychology. Now in the movie there is only Dr. Strauss, who then has to represent the scientific world but also has to be the good guy. So two flat characters from the short story can be put into one character in the movie. Because Dr. Strauss is representing two characters, he becomes a grotesque person. This happens, because he has to represent a scientific society, which does not have ethics as basis but also has to represent a world of humanity and ethics, which in the short story represent Dr. Nemur.
In my opinion the short story is the more successful medium by which to tell the story, because the movie creates you through a lot of emotions one specific opinion about what happens to Charlie. Whereas in the short story you have more chance to create your own opinion about the story, which is a very important thing in stories but also in your life.
Courtney from Study Moose
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