In your opinion, what is the most effective medium for telling the “Harrison Bergeron” narrative: film or text? Explain your answer with using specific details that relate to each version, as well as thoughtful reasoning.
Many novels end up as film adaptations, but in most cases, viewers claim that certain scenes, critical to the plot, have been left out in these movies. Although various bits dialogue from the short story didn’t make its way into the film, 2081 contains visuals unable to be seen through Vonnegut’s writing. Time after time, I prefer the movie over the text because of these visuals; they give me an experience that the text is unable to accomplish. My one rule when it comes to watching the story is to read it beforehand, helping me understand how characters feel during scenes. During movies, viewers have to make inferences about the thoughts and feelings of characters based on their body language and actions; this proves to be difficult in films such as The Godfather. “He tried to think a little about the ballerinas… toying with the notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped” (2). This quote describes what George thinks before his thought impediment interrupts him. Since the movie has no narration, we have to analyze and make inferences based on George’s facial expressions, and that’s where the film plays a role in helping us comprehend the story. The text does an excellent job at narrating the timeline of events and describing the characters emotion, but the visuals provided by the film illustrate the story and its setting that Vonnegut isn’t able to elaborate on in his writing. I continue to believe that both the film and text of a story play essential roles in creating meaning in the eyes and mind of the audience; it becomes easier to understand the point being made by the author. If I had to choose one, it would be the text in this case because this is one of those stories where the author’s point is more important than the image created. Vonnegut is describing communism and its drawbacks satirically, but in the film, the captivating visuals don’t contribute to delivering this message, in fact, they distract the viewer from digesting the story’s purpose.