Smoke Signals Book Vs Movie Analysis

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“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different,” King should know having written many novels that are adapted to films. Both the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian and screen play of the film Smoke Signals, written by Sherman Alexie, attempts to demolish the idea of an archetypal aboriginal person from a Native “Rez,” but the film addresses this in a more effective way. The film has a naïve Thomas and an indifferent Victor who travel out of the “Rez” to collect the remainders of Victor’s deceased father, who abandoned his family eons ago, while the novel has the best friends, Junior and Rowdy, who are similar in character to the friends in the film, but focuses more on …show more content…
To clarify, in the novel, Rowdy’s father is portrayed as a spiteful alcoholic who physically and emotionally abuses his family for no apparent reason, which Junior reveals when he says that the man constantly drinks and later beats his wife and son (16). Rowdy just accepts it as he says, “It’s war paint. It just makes me look tougher” (16). He, along with everyone else in the novel, never questions it and allows the older man to continue his horrid ways throughout the story. Contrary to Rowdy’s father, who is just a drunk with no back-story, Victor’s father, Arnold, from Smoke Signals has background information to explain his drunken behaviour. Whilst he is also an abusive alcoholic, he is able to somewhat redeem himself to his son because Victor discovers his guilt and remorse for leaving his friends for dead in a flame he causes. Thus, the characters in the film evolve from their experiences while the ones from the novel remain the same …show more content…
In the film Arnold is given an opportunity to explain himself to his son, allowing Victor to release his anger and mature. In the novel, Grandmother Spirit and Mary lack any flaws, and as a result seem unrealistic. Finally, the film beautifully demonstrates the harm of stereotypes, which many overlook, by showing it in action. It is not as simple as “the book is better” or “the movie is better” because it is not black and white. It is the fact that the film tells the tale of an indigenous person while craftily weaving in these cases that makes it better. To many, all of this may seem unnecessary, but to an aboriginal child who is told daily to give up on their dreams because “they’ll become an alcoholic anyway,” or to an elderly Indian who did give up, representation is

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