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The Notebook: Comparison of the Movie and the Book

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Screen adaptation of a book is a complicated process, as the team usually faces a dilemma between leaving the original version as accurate as possible and making the story more suitable for a movie format. Comparing the movie and the written version of The Notebook, it should be said that the authors of the movies managed to cope with both task perfectly and offered a product, which is quite dramatic and quite integrated with the book at the same time. Overall, for most part the book and the movie are similar, as they have the same general plot. However, there are minor deviations, which can be explained by specifics of the movies genre, so while the book is more narrative, the movie apparently is more dramatic through a video format than through words.

The plot of both the book and the movie is based on a love story of Noah Calhoun and Allie Hamilton who come from two different worlds, fall in love, part and then reunite for a lifetime. Their story is dramatic, full of obstacles and misunderstandings, yet the author reveals an idea that true love is worth fighting for and that it is never too late. There are several time lapses in the story and two plot lines, which seem to be not very much related to each other until the end of the book, when they are integrated. One of the plot lines takes place in the 1940s, before World War II. Noah and Allie meet as teenagers and are absorbed by passion, but there is misunderstanding from their environment. In fact, Allie comes from a wealthy family, while Noah is a typical working class boy, so her parents believe that he is not the right match for her. As a result, conflicts arise, when Allies relatives call the police because they object her spending time with Noah. Although they are madly in love, they are too different to coexist peacefully, yet they prefer to stay together fighting rather than to be apart. It happens that life still takes them apart, they have an emotional quarrel, and later start living in different towns. Noah writes one letter per day in order to keep in touch with Allie, for which she really secretly hopes, as she did not want to break up with him. Yet, Allie’s mother is totally against their relationship, so he withdraws all letters without saying a word to her daughter. As a result, seven years after Allie gets married to Lon Hammond, whom he meets working as a nurse in the hospital during the war. At this moment Noah has returned from the war too, and he thinks about meeting Allie in Charlton. Yet, when seeing her together with a new boyfriend, he does not dare to come. However, when Allie reads in the newspaper that Noah finished building a house, so she decides to visit him, and love returns to them.

It is remarkable that this main line is a flashback, which is framed by another story at present, both in the book and in the movie. The second story takes place in modern times in a hospital, where a man called “Duke” reads a story from the notebooks to an elderly woman who suffers from memory loss, presumably Alzheimer decease. In the course of the story, it is made clear that the two of them are Noah and Allies, who have lived years together and have children and grandchildren. However, because of her memory issues the woman does not remember who she is, so her loving husband reads her own diaries to her hoping that she will recollect the story. Indeed, he manages to do this for several minutes, which is a struggle each time, but these are glimpses of love and happiness, and the sign of his devotion to his wife. 

As has been mentioned before, both the book and the novel share the same plot, and the two lines are similar. Yet, it is obvious that visual perception of the movie is quite different from reading, this is why the authors chose to adapt some of the scenes and introduce new ones in order to reinforce the dramatic effect. Thus, for instance, the book does not contain such scene as fighting between Allie and Noah at the beginning of their relationship, and it does not contain the famous kiss in the rain scene, which marks the passion and Allie’s return to Noah. These differences are quite logical because in both cases the techniques used in order to convey the characters’ emotions are more physical and dramatic. Unlike the book, the film cannot use lengthy narration to reveal emotions, so other methods have to be used abundantly. Symbolism is one of the methods, that is more readily used in the movie, especially visual symbols. Thus, for instance, the characters are quite calm when sailing in the boat until the rain starts. They are rather serene, when seeing white swans sailing, but when a heavy shower starts, stronger feelings bursts out. Thus, this transition from one symbol to another one is necessary to the director to reveals different shades of love. So, swans symbolize its calmer aspect, tenderness, while heavy rain symbolizes passion. It is easy to see in the scene that rain stops characters from pretending, from wearing masks, it makes them who they are again – because of its aspect of purification.

Another difference between the book and the movie is the ending, which also stems from the genre and techniques that can be applied. Because the book is narrative, and it gives food for thought, the author leaves the finale open, he does not show what happens after the hospital events so that the reader can muse on them. However, the ending should be more powerful for the movie because of its dramatic touch. The emotional tone of the movie did not allow the director to make the finale uncertain. As the movie tells a story of epic love, the ending is also epic. In fact, it is quite romantic as it reminds of fairytales where characters are so in love with each other that they want to die on the same day. In fact, this is what happens to Allie and Noah, but it does not look vulgar or out of place at all. The finale of the movie is sad but reassuring because it says that true love exists, that it transforms throughout the years and it is as beautiful in old age, though less passionate and more sacrificial.

In conclusion, it is worth saying that the book and the movie are quite similar because they are based on the same plot, and pertain to major lines without change. The characters also have the same features, yet the behavior is more dramatic in the film because of difference in the medium used. The movie is more abundant in symbols and using visual methods to create the atmosphere and reveal the characters’ emotions.There are differences in the plot, which were consciously made by script writers in order to adapt the book like inclusion of fight and rain scene, and a different ending showing how the character fall asleep and die together. 

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