Ironwood Movie vs. Book

646 Words May 18th, 2012 3 Pages
Ironweed comparison

Ironweed is the remarkable story of Francis Phelan, once a talented baseball player, husband and father of three, who has fallen so far from grace that his home for the past twenty-two years has been the street. He sees and converses with men he has killed, and men he’s helped or befriended along the way. The story’s events take place over a period of three days, in which Francis gradually comes to terms with the past he fled so long ago. The Ironweed story has been adapted to novel and movie formats, which will be compared below. I much preferred the movie version to the novel. For me, author William Kennedy’s style of writing is needlessly vague and difficult to follow, yet he did a wonderful job adapting
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Francis leaves two dollars at the front desk for her, and moves on. After Rudy’s death the book seems to go on to a hypothetical “what if” scenario in which Francis might go back to the hotel to see Helen and find her dead. If a tombstone had not been mentioned it would be difficult to realize the author if referring to her death at all. These are just a few examples of Kennedy’s unnecessarily grandiose style of writing, but there was at least one instance where I found the novel to outshine the movie. In the novel’s climax, Francis accepts his wife’s offer to move back home. Phelan reads a letter he received many years ago from his then nine-year old daughter, who is now a grown women filled with hatred at Phelan’s desertion of his family. Phelan has kept these letters all these years, and his reading of them is perhaps the highlight of the entire story. This is not as dramatic or emotional in the film as in the novel, but visually it is just as intense. I by no means claim to be a novice reader. I consider myself to be well read, and have a rather wordy writing style myself, but I still found the novel version of Ironweed to be just to difficult to follow. I fully understand the authors use of descriptive language to create a world in which the reader is able to imagine and visualize, and that world is

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