Author Topic: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?  (Read 19951 times)

Offline brokebackjack

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #80 on: December 08, 2007, 06:36:58 am »
I agree---the film fleshed out the characters drawn by Annie in her short story.
Heath WAS  Ennis DelMar, while Jake really DID  bring Jack Twist to vividly brilliant  life.

Yet the laconic characterisations of both men in the SS hit me like a ton of bricks. Could this be linked to a possible difference in the way men and women view things? a man/woman sort of thing?  A possible gay/straight divergence as well? I honestly do believe men and women, naturally or through  acculturation, generally have a way of looking at such things from a different--- at times a widely divergent--viewpoint. I've noticed  this in regard to gay/straight men as well.

 My straight male friends do not care for extreme detail when it comes to characterisations. My gay male friends tend to want a much more detailed literary description then their hetero co-sexualists <sp???lol>. At the same time, very many of my female friends generally want ALL those details spelled out.

I'm bi, and along with the rest of my bi friends I tend to want something in the middle---but leaning very much on the spare side. The imagination fills the rest in. AP's spare and laconic pictures of Jack and Ennis are damned near perfect so far as I'm concerned; to repeat, they hit me like a ton of bricks.

What I DO know is that as a man, there are both real life and literary occasions when  fewer words, a starker portrait, tell me more then  a detailed description. I have Margaret Mitchell's long and extremely detailed characterisation of Scarlett O'Hara from the first page of Gone With the Wind in mind as I write this. She left NOTHING to the reader's imagination, told us everything, right down to the blush of Scarlett's cheeks.  TOO detailed, for me at least. ...yet most of the women I know just loved that word picture.

Any comments on this?



Not for nothing, I hope no one has convinced themselves that we are being 'anti-gay' on this thread. That whole business is just too much, IMO very off-base. To think such a thing is not fair. We do not deserve to be called anti-gay.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #81 on: December 08, 2007, 11:18:54 am »
Faulkner, who was straight, was the very definition of verbosity. Joyce, ditto. While Hemingway, whose orientation was undoubtedly mixed, was very terse. Proulx (she's been married three times to men!) is terse, Tennessee Williams (gay) verbose. The only conclusions I can gather from all this is that people are all different and defy generalization! Me, I love Proulx but also Foer, Joyce, and Faulkner. Margaret Mitchell doesn't ring my bells, but perhaps would've if she'd written more books. I love short stories, but I have a great deal of difficulty reading poetry.

I'm just now reading about William Styron. Did you ever read Sophie's Choice? Or see the movie? That was very powerful.

I guess I would say that the number of words is less important than what they add up to. Some writers are better with less or more. Some readers are better with less or more.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #82 on: December 08, 2007, 11:44:39 am »
Jack, I don't know that I agree with the gay/straight difference, but I do think that men and women react differently to the story BBM, and in general men tend to be more powerfully affected by it. Obviously, there are exceptions, since Front-Ranger still has the magazine on her bedside table 10 years later. And nakymaton, who started a whole thread about the short story, was a woman also blown away by it. I also know men who liked the movie better, at least at first.

But there's something to this male/female divide in literary taste, and I'm not just talking about Tom Clancy vs. Danielle Steele. I had just been thinking about this recently, because I read something short by David Foster Wallace, and although I really love his prose style in small doses, I don't think I could read a whole book by him, let alone the 1088-page "Infinite Jest." (Yet I read the 1037-page "Gone With the Wind" a dozen times in grade school and junior high.) Thomas Pynchon is another writer who seems to appeal much more to men. As is Don DeLillo. And Cormac McCarthy.

I'm not saying no woman would ever love these books -- only that fewer do.

I can't think offhand of good, literary books (not romance novels or bodice-rippers) that appeal primarily to women, but I'm sure there are many. Probably the majority are a) written by women and b) have female protagonists.

I don't know how much any of this has to do with wordy description. As I said, I read GWTW a dozen times between fifth grade and maybe 8th grade, and at that time that kind of physical description was fine. (GWTW was my favorite book at the time -- I no longer love it; though I think it's powerful and well-done in many ways, it is just too offensively racist.)

Wordy description is less in style now. Lots of times whole books go by without the reader ever knowing what the main characters look like. I tend to like spare prose myself, and to get impatient with wordiness. I saw "Sophie's Choice" the movie before trying to read the book, and I found myself just wanting to skip ahead to the good parts. I never finished reading it.

Uh-oh, I'm getting pretty wordy myself now! Hope you men can make it through this post!  :laugh:




Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #83 on: December 08, 2007, 12:26:29 pm »
Uh-oh, I'm getting pretty wordy myself now! Hope you men can make it through this post!  :laugh:

Friend, that's the most you've spoke in two weeks!!

Front-Ranger still has the magazine on her bedside table 10 years later.
Actually I carry copies of it around in my briefcase now, and the magazine pages are hidden away where housecleaners cannot find and toss them!

Thomas Pynchon is another writer who seems to appeal much more to men. As is Don DeLillo. And Cormac McCarthy.

Pynchon and McCarthy are two of my favourite authors! Do you like them too? The Crying of Lot 49 is awesome, and it has a female protagonist. I have read nearly all of McCarthy's books, except for No Country for Old Men, which I'm just starting. I love the way he does dialogue.

I can't think offhand of good, literary books (not romance novels or bodice-rippers) that appeal primarily to women, but I'm sure there are many. Probably the majority are a) written by women and b) have female protagonists.

Salmon Rushdie said that his primary audience is women. In fact, women read more serious fiction than men do. Altho neither read much. I don't really understand who's buying all these books these days!! I read the book Shame by Rushdie and it was very very good. Very good insights about Pakistan too.

There's also J. K. Rowling, of course. She seems to appeal to women and men equally. And kids. And seniors. And Brits as well as other English-speakers.

The first novel ever written was authored by a woman. It was The Tale of Genji by Lady Murasaki. Written in the 800s, about a prince in the Japanese court. He was certainly a Jack of his time. The book is very wordy, but it has the Japanese conciseness of prose. Hey, we're veering off topic here, but I love it!
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Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #84 on: December 08, 2007, 01:09:39 pm »
Faulkner, who was straight, was the very definition of verbosity. Joyce, ditto. While Hemingway, whose orientation was undoubtedly mixed, was very terse. Proulx (she's been married three times to men!) is terse, Tennessee Williams (gay) verbose. The only conclusions I can gather from all this is that people are all different and defy generalization!


Hey Sister-Mod,

I 100% agree with this.  I think generalization along gender lines (or lines of sexuality... or based on any large social group characterization, actually) is pretty futile since there are often immediately multiple examples of exceptions to any theorized rule.  I also think the urge to generalize can be a slippery slope.

I think remembering that the story of BBM was written by a straight woman is important here to this specific discussion of preferences regarding the story.

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Offline serious crayons

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #85 on: December 08, 2007, 07:21:02 pm »
Pynchon and McCarthy are two of my favourite authors! Do you like them too? The Crying of Lot 49 is awesome, and it has a female protagonist. I have read nearly all of McCarthy's books, except for No Country for Old Men, which I'm just starting. I love the way he does dialogue.

Salmon Rushdie said that his primary audience is women.

FRiend, I should spend more time book-clubbing with you! No, I haven't read Pynchon, McCarthy or Rushdie. But your enthusiasm is inspirational. Sometimes I need to force myself to go outside my fictional comfort zone.

Quote
In fact, women read more serious fiction than men do.

Yes, I have read this many places, from reliable sources. I agree, Amanda, that this whole enterprise can be a slippery slope. But this seems to be one genderalization that is true.



Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #86 on: December 08, 2007, 08:27:55 pm »
He, he, you know that term "book lust"? Well, that describes me when I get my hands on a good book!!
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Offline brokeplex

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #87 on: December 08, 2007, 08:39:42 pm »

 The only conclusions I can gather from all this is that people are all different and defy generalization! 

I guess I would say that the number of words is less important than what they add up to. Some writers are better with less or more. Some readers are better with less or more.

Yes, I like what you said! I agree that people "defy generalization". I really resist being lumped into any group and being pre-judged as to my content and my heart.

Let's Defy Generalization!

Offline Kd5000

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #88 on: December 08, 2007, 09:04:42 pm »
I liked the movie better. It fleshed out the characters moreso.   It does make for an even stronger short story. Jack Twist is even more tragic in the movie.  His character in the short story wasn't as sympathetic for some reason. Maybe something about him saying "I didn't want no kid," something to that effect.   

I mean, if BBM had never been made into a movie, I don't know how much an impression the short story would had on me.  Of course, many movies fall short of the novel/short story they are based on. This one didn't.

By the way, I avoided reading the short story until I had seen the film.  I had heard it was a tradegy and I thought, I don't wanta know what happens. And if's too sad, then I won't see the movie.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: TOTW 15/07: Short story or movie, which one do you prefer?
« Reply #89 on: December 08, 2007, 10:23:52 pm »
He, he, you know that term "book lust"? Well, that describes me when I get my hands on a good book!!


:)  Me too!  Have you heard about the book called Book Lust by Nancy Pearl? It's essentially about how to go about finding books to read to suit a particular mood and about recommendations, etc.  My Mom has it and thinks it's fun.  My Mom actually has a fairly large collection of books about books... or books about reading, which are often really interesting books!  ;D 8)


Sorry to have strayed off-topic...

To get back on track... While I still contend that personally I prefer the movie, it's fascinating to think about how knowledge and appreciation of the story informs an understanding of the film.  When I watch the film sometimes I find myself filling in certain details... or reacting to characters based on things I know about them only from the story.  For example, my reaction to Old Man Twist at the end of the movie is hugely informed by what I know about that character from the story.  Etc.

And vice versa now too... my impressions of the movie always are with me when I read the story and details that are included only in the film wind up impacting my reactions to the story.

Thinking about how the film and story interact in positive ways, might be its own interesting discussion.

the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie