Book vs. Movie: Life and Death Essay Example

Book vs. Movie: Life and Death Essay Example
📌Category: Entertainment, Movies
📌Words: 1199
📌Pages: 5
📌Published: 18 July 2020

Everyone loves reading novels, people also enjoy watching movies but what's even better is when one reads a novel and watches the film to that novel. It makes it really interesting watching the film people get to see how they act out the novel. The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast the differences between the novel The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy and a film directed by Tommy Lee Jones. The film is better because it gives a better point of view of the themes of life, death, religion, and race as well.

In the book black who is an ex-con and white who is a professor argue about what the meaning of life is which makes it really interesting. After watching the film not only is better but it enhances the story in a way the book cannot. For instance, in the movie Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones who plays black and white, we get to see how the novel is acted out and notice body language. Unlike in the novel, all we can do is visualize the texts. Novels are exciting in their own way as we read along we get attached to the book leaving us with a feeling of what comes next. Another way the film is enhanced by is the actors, the book does not state who black or white really is it just lets the reader know they are two different guys with different perspectives on life. So by watching the film, we get to judge whether or not the actor did a good job playing his role. 

There are also viewpoints in the movie that are not experienced in the book, for example in the film there are some background noises that come up which are not mentioned in the book. Also in the novel, it states that black lives in a ghetto neighborhood and that his apartment door is covered with locks since there isn't any image of how it looks we can only visualize the picture in our thoughts. Whereas in the movie we get to see how ghetto the apartment actually looks which is why white asks black why does he like living there. Other than that in the film, there’s a small moment where they both are sitting down at the table, white has his head down zoning off so black slams his hand hard on the table scaring white not intentionally but in a way to stop white from zoning off. Unlike in the novel it mentions there are a few moments where they go silent on the table but all black does is tap his fingers on the table.

The Main Themes of the Story

The three main themes of this story would have to be life vs death, religion, and race. Black would have to be seen as life and whereas white would be representing death because in the novel black is an ex-convict that has been through some rough times but now looks at life as peacefully and believes life will just get better. As to where white has been through rough times as well but no longer believes in better days, so he gets caught up with depression leading him with the intention of suicide. In the film, this is expressed way better since we get to see how they act out the scene especially because of the fact that the film adds music to the scenes or even background scenes. Another reason why black would be seen as life is that he tries so hard to persuade white from attempting to kill himself by having non-stop conversations in the room, hoping white will stay the night instead of accomplishing his attempt. And in the movie we can see how much urge white has to kill himself, this is all noted by the way he tries cutting off black during the conversation, as well by how badly he wants to leave the apartment.

Another theme is religion, aside from the fact that black is an ex-con he is also a Christian and enjoys reading the bible.White is an atheist who claims to have read parts of the bible like the book of Job. while they argue white asks black if he can see god, black says he can't see him but he knows he is in the room. White also asks him if God speaks to him and Black says they speak through the bible. In the movie, we can see how religious black is, like the part where he closes his eyes to pray or looks up continuously every time he says quotes god help us. Unlike in the novel we know black prays for his meal but it doesn't mention the small acts that he does like looking up talking to god. In the novel, it states that the professor studies black but in the movie white does not want any interest on what black is telling him after talking about one subject white asks black if he can leave now, which lets us know how anxious he is to kill himself. While white argues that there is no point in living black argues that there is a meaning in life and that we just have to go through tough obstacles that god sets around us.

The third theme would have to be race because I feel like the author chooses black and white for a reason to demonstrate that not all black people are bad. In the novel we know black is a black man because of the use of the N-word so right there we can easily tell why black is black and white is white. Another reason that the novel has to do with race is, the way it tells us that black was an ex-con who became a very spiritualized Christian and then tries to stop a white man from committing suicide just shows us that black people are not heartless but very humble and kind. In the film, we get to see how well black’s mannerism is by offering white some coffee and even feeding him some soul food with bread. Unlike the novel we know black shows his manners to white but its not like if we get to see the way he expresses these manners like the way it is acted out in the movie. At the end of the book white tells black he does not want God's love, but he does want forgiveness and states there is no hope just nothingness before leaving the room. And the film just makes it more immense because we get to experience the scene from the novel and actually feel that moment when he walks out the door taking no advice from black to consideration.


The way black and white argue about life enhances the main message about everyone looking at life from a different perspective. Black sees the world peacefully and mellow unlike white from his point of view he looks at life as meaningless. The main message is that everyone has a reason to live, we weren't just put on earth to wander off but to have a purpose for living. Some may think the reason we live on earth is to follow in God's footsteps like, how black reads the bible and prays to God. Some do not believe in God like white but do have their meaning on why we were put on earth, perhaps to accomplish goals and some say to live life to the fullest. So, therefore, we can say that there is no right or wrong answer on why we exist because everyone has different opinions on why we are living today.


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