For anyone that is quite familiar with the novels Dandelion Wine (1957), RBradbury and To Kill A Mockingbird (1960), Harper Lee: have you ever found the similarities as striking as I often times do? This may seem like a stretch, yet with close consideration the many parallels are too keen to ignore.
DW - summer experiences of two brothers, 1928
TKAM - summer experiences of a brother and sister, 1933.
Small towns - Green Town, IL; Maycomb, AL, everybody on the streets knows one another (basically autobiographical).
Protagonist and a sibling - exploring, discovering, and growing up with a good share of excitement, confusion, and fear mixed in. All are rather precocious.
A close friend that comes and then goes - John Huff, Dill Harris.
A haunting figure (death lurking)- the Lonely One, Boo Radley.
An attack by a mysterious antagonist that leads to a death - Lonely One & Bob Ewell. Then both die at the hands of an unlikely character: Boo and Lavinia Nebbs
Theme of visual and personal perspective (maturity)- Douglas, Scout & Jem, Atticus Finch.
Douglas has a view at the beginning and end of the story looking over the town (he sees all - waking and putting the town to sleep from the cupola).
The scene in which Scout and Jem look down at their father as he leaves the court room after defending Tom Robinson.
Atticus stoically sees all that is happening in the town as the trial approaches - he understands and knows well how the trial will play out. His children are trying to see it (Jem does so better than his younger sister).
At the end of the story Scout is looking at the town from the Radley porch, a clearer perspective of what the events of the novel have revealed, much like the boys in DW - especialy Douglas.
The idea of "passing things on" when they are needed the most - Mr. Jonas (cool air and life), Boo Radley (tree items and life);
Mrs. Dubose/Col. Freeleigh (courage, history); Grandfather Spaulding/Atticus Finch (careful doses of wisdom).
An old Civil War connected character - Col. Freeleigh and Mrs. Dubose, both of whom die and bring sadness to the children.
The stories each end with the main characters looking at their town at night - somehow more aware and hopeful.
TKAM definitely deserves a reference on the "classic" literature list stream!
Other scenes that come to mind? Any background anecdotes to the curious likeness in the stories, or just coincidental?!
[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 04-29-2002).]
You make some excellent points about the similarities!
Note also that the titles of both novels refer to physical objects that are symbolic of life at its simplest and purest. The mockingbird represents joy, freedom and innocence; the dandelion wine represents the very essence of life (and time).
Crumley, good point!
I had thought about the titles, also!
In the interpretation of TKAM: it was a "sin to kill a mockingbird" because all they did was sing and bring joy to those who heard them. The dandelion wine was not just to be consumed as a all curing elixer. It was to be looked at and enjoyed - as the importance of each day (dated bottle) was recalled by the Spaulding family.
[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 04-29-2002).]
For another example, try "The Member of the Wedding," by Carson McCullers.
Frankie is also from a two-child family, though the two children central in the story are Frankie and her cousin, John Henry. The wedding is symbolic of all that is desirable in life, and unattainable to Frankie (glamor, excitement, and complete acceptance). Setting is a small town in the south during WWII.
All of these classic novels portray the perilous ups and downs of an adolescent or slightly preadolescent character, with extremely funny and tragic parts. "The Member of the Wedding" is slightly more grim than the others. The special friend who has come and gone is not seen, only discussed by Frankie, who is bereft of her company. Besides a novel and highly successful play, it also became two movies--rarely enough, both were excellent. The movie "My Girl" has some of the same themes. I believe the book came out with the movie and wasn't out for long enough beforehand for people to be warned of the themes: they took their kids in expecting a light little love story of first romance and were appalled at the emphasis on death.
Carson McCullers also wrote "The Night of the Hunter," about two children being menaced by a sinister character in a small town during the Depression. It was also two movies, unfortunately I've neither read the novel nor seen either of the movies. I know someone had the gall to film "The Yearling" at least once, possibly twice more. Did anyone ever re-film "To Kill a Mockingbird"?
The original "Yearling" was quaint and made for wholesome viewing. A newer version actually changed the plot and did an injustice to the work of M K Rawlings.
Dandelion, the original TKAM still remains as the only interpretation of the novel. They got it right the first time.
The great Gregory Peck starred in both of the first movies, ironically. TKAM has a stipulation in its cinema rights that it will not be made into a colorized update. Rightfully so! A classic novel (Pulitzer Prize, and Academy Award for Mr. Peck in the movie)it was Lee's only published book.
An accurate rendition of Dandelion Wine seems long overdue!! (Mr. Peck - if still active - a perfect Grandfather Spaulding or Mr. Jonas.)
Another troublesome Southern (short) story about coming of age and the relationship of two brothers is "The Scarlet Ibis". It has one of the most unpleasant endings of any story I have ever read. Authored by James Hurst it has magnificent imagery and symbolism - and then that final conflict...
It leaves the reader reeling as do Harrison Bergeron, 1984, and The Pearl.
Other similarities in Mockingbird and DW: The mysterious Boo Radley and The Lonely One both proved to be far less the monsters everyone had conjectured before their true physical appearances were witnessed. Also, Boo was accused by the neighborhood of having once stabbed his father in the leg with a pair of scissors. And, of course, the L.O. met his demise when Lavinia did him in with a pair of sewing scissors.
Uncanny or coincidental!?
Oooh...don't get me started on colourization!
"Well, I know he made it in black & white back then, but we know better now about all the arts..."
The only exception I would make would be the colourization (which has been done) of "March Of The Wooden Soldiers" (a.k.a. "Babes In Toyland") with Laurel & Hardy. This picture WAS intended to be shot in colour, but the budget ran short.
The delicious ATMOSPHERE that was achieved by master directors using black & white (featuring high-contrast closeups, etc.) would be ruined by colourization.
By the way, the DVD of "Mockingbird" has special features, among which is a director's commentary version well worth watching. If memory serves, colourization of the film is negatively mentioned.
The first film of "The Member of the Wedding" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" were made long after the advent of color films. They were purposely filmed in black-and-white to create a nostalgic atmosphere of the past.
With all of the amazing special effects that have been evident in so many movie releases in recent years, wouldn't the nostalgic and fanciful plot of Dandelion Wine be more workable than it may have been when we first began considering it on this board over three annd a half years ago? Someone should reiterate the need to Mr. Bradbury!
Well, I want to see a Dandelion Wine movie made in color with great narration (like the great narration in the Cannery Row movie with Debra Winger and Nick Nolte).
Thanks for reminding us of this thread, fjp! Now that I am reading To Kill a Mockingbird again (making two times in 40 years for it and four times for DW), I am picking up on even more similarities, such as Miss Tutti and Miss Frutti being enough like Miss Fern and Miss Roberta to at least be played by the same actresses. (When I first read DW, I was already casting book characters from The Waltons and 40 years later that hasn't changed!)
Atticus in his wisdom could enjoy many a fine talk with Grandpa Spaulding. There are also the experiences of sharing stories and loss through the death of an elderly neighbor (Colonel Freeleigh and Mrs. Henry Lafayette Dubose.) There is sneaking out at night, to the Radleys' and with the tarot witch, while Jem and Scout's walk home from the Halloween pageant could be compared to Lavinia's trip through the ravine!
P. S. Just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird and the pageant walk home and ravine trip are even more similar than I remembered! In the book, Cecil Jacobs jumps out of the dark to scare Scout and Jem as they arrive on the school grounds. (The movie skips all this and merely has Scout remark as they walk home that Cecil is probably pranking them.) This is extremely similar to the scene in DW where a goofy guy who thinks he's funny jumps out to scare Lavinia and Francine, causing one of at least two false alarms before the genuine terror of the trip through the ravine.This message has been edited. Last edited by: dandelion,
At breakfast this morning, a friend and I were recalling how we served as jury members on the case of a very nice man who suffered serious injuries for which he was not at fault. No one disputed this part (interestingly, we remembered certain details a bit different, but agreed the man was savaged by a large and angry bovine while alone). His lawyers totally botched the handling of the case, to the point that they failed to make their case, and we were forced to decide to award him nothing, over which we all felt bad and my friend even suffered nightmares for days. I remember a lady saying, "I feel so awful I'm not even going to look at him when we walk in," and possibly even holding up a hand next to her face. Others looked from the corner of their eye, but no one looked at him directly. I quoted her the following passage from To Kill a Mockingbird (not word-for-word, but close enough):
"I saw something only a lawyer's child could be expected to see, could be expected to watch for, and it was like watching Atticus walk into the street, raise a rifle to his shoulder and pull the trigger, but watching all the time knowing that the gun was empty. A jury never looks at a defendant it has convicted, and when this jury came in, not one of them looked at Tom Robinson."
My friend then told me she was just about to reread To Kill a Mockingbird, but changed her mind when she heard the sequel disclosed that Atticus was a racist! Wow, now that is hardcore, refusing to read the original because the sequel blew it! I told her I heard it was so bad that people all over the country named Atticus were legally changing their names! We both remembered a young man in our town named Atticus (about the age of Prince William, so do the math on how old) but I don't know what he's up to now or whether he considered changing his name!
Hey, just saw the film of To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time since reading the book for the second time. It was presented on TCM as part of a series of films of the work of Southern writers, introduced by Robert Osborne and John Grisham, who went into both the good and bad points of Go Set a Watchman. The book of Dandelion Wine came out three years before To Kill a Mockingbird and still no film!
Natasha says "wait!"
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