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Great Expectations: The Novel Versus the Movie Essay


Great Expectations

There are many differences between the novel and the movie Great Expectations. The setting was different than the book. The movie was more modern than what the book had described. In the movie there were motorboats, televisions, phones, and cars. The book did not mention any of these things, and they had stage coaches instead of cars. Estella mentioned that it was the 80s. This displays a whole different setting for the movie.

The characters personality and names are different. The sisters name is Maggie. In the book they call her Mrs. Joe. Also, the sister has a very different personality than in the book. In the book she is described as being mean, harsh, and abusing. Pip describes her as bringing him up with a hard and heavy hand. (Page 8) She also always beat Pip for example, when Pip would not tell about his experience at Miss Havishams. In the movie, she was very kind and loving. An example of this is when Maggie calls her brother adorable.

Also, the main character has a different name. His name is Finn in the movie, and Pip in the novel. Also, the old crazy lady whose husband left her at the alter is Nora, in the movie. In the movie, Nora is not as depressed and sad all the time, as she is in the book. Maggies husband Joes job is a gardener in the movie, not a blacksmith, as the book had said. These differences play a big part in the spirit of the novel. With the sisters new attitude we do not get that feeling of helplessness with Pip, as the novel had shown us. We do not get the sense of him not wanting to come home to her raging fits.

Another difference is when Finn brings the food for the convict. He does not see the second convict, and is also different in how the convict is caught. It does not specify how he was caught in the movie, but it was not how the novel described it. In the movie he first goes to Noras because of a gardening job. When Finn is there he meets Noras

niece. Nora calls Finn asking him to come play with her niece. When Finn arrives he is asked to dance, unlike in the novel when he was asked to play cards, cards were never mentioned in the movie. Instead he was to paint her niece. This never happened in the book.

An important difference is the theme of the house and Nora Denson. When Finn enters the house, it is filled with light. When he walks into Noras room, she is dressed in green, not white, and the room is very well lit. Nora is also in a very cheerful and happy mood when Finn enters. She is listening to music and dancing around. In the book, there is no light in the room and it is described as being gloomy and depressing. (Chapter 8)

Maggie disappears from Finns life, in the movie. She says she is going to work the night shift, but never comes back. Joe then raises Finn. This is not what happened in the book, but this symbolizes when Mrs. Joe got hit in the head and could not live or communicate very well. This does affect our understanding of the novel. Now, Maggie has left Joe and Finn out of choice, because she wanted to. This shows us that Maggie is not as nice as we thought she was, by leaving her family. She did not choose to leave; this gives us a sense that there is kindness in Mrs. Joe in the book. In both the movie and book, this was when Maggie disappears from the main scene. Finn also goes to Noras every Saturday, unlike the novel when he would go at random dates.

The way that Estella leaves Finn is different than the novel. In the novel, He randomly goes back to Noras to give his thanks to her, and Estella is gone to study abroad. In the movie, the night before Estella leaves, she gives him a kiss but does not tell him she is leaving for a while. When Finn goes to Noras the next day, he asks for Estella and she says she has gone to study abroad in Switzerland and France. So far there have been more differences than similarities between the novel and movie. The differences do not support the spirit of the novel. Some of the main elements that are in the novel are left out or different in the movie, such as, personalities of Mrs. Joe and Miss Havisham. The characters and themes of the movie are too different than the book.

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