Comparative Essay Between Movies and Books

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In 2003, David Foster Wallace said “Reading requires sitting alone, by yourself, in a room…I have friends—intelligent friends—who don’t like to read because there’s an almost dread that comes up about having to be alone and having to be quiet…When you walk into most public spaces in America, it isn’t quiet anymore.” Although the collective amount of time spent by people reading has declined with our minds, moving pictures with sound continue to further embed themselves in culture. Ask a group of fifteen year olds how many books they have read in the last month, and the likely answer will be that most of them have not finished a book since a month ago. But ask the same group the last time they saw a movie, and a week previous (or less) will fail to be an uncommon answer. A question then poses itself: why is it that one source of entertainment and art is falling out of favor while another is becoming more and more common? One could ascribe the comparative quality of the two, implying that movies are superior to books. However, a more accurate, yet less popular affirmation would be that books are superior to films and that superiority is not necessarily synonymous with prevalence.

To go into detail in a movie the same way as one might in a book would be painfully difficult. The resulting abomination would be torturously monotonous due to movies very nature, which panders to the short attention spans of the average person by constantly moving and embellishing ideas with pictures and music. It would also be horribly long, the length of, or longer than an audiobook. For evidence, one could look at documentaries and nonfiction books. The former are far less informative, although one may wish to believe otherwise because a documentary film takes less work to enjoy and is, to some, more pleasurable. Take two lectures, both approximately an hour and twenty minutes in length (approximately the running time of a movie) and both by two highly acclaimed authors. The first,...
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