Books and Movies Reviews

Critical Analysis on Summer Reading

Books have been around for over a millennium, while the motion picture industry is no more than a century old. Despite this age difference, many of the qualities that make a book deep and entertaining are no different than what makes those two hours at your local cinema so immersive. Occasionally, a book will even take the form of a movie or visa-verse. Many times, however, a book that would seem rather irrelevant to a movie of a completely different nature may have more in common than one would assume. A great example of this literary connection is the similarity between the novel In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez and the movie Jakob the Liar starring Robin Williams. Three themes that are portrayed throughout both stories are hope, the utilization of propaganda, and using corruption to gain power.
Propaganda plays a big role in both stories. For example, in Jakob the Liar, a Russian propaganda radio broadcast tells of German defeat, and Jakob spreads the news around the ghetto. Meanwhile, the Nazi regime is using propaganda to convince the German people that they are in control of the war effort. Similarly, an example of the use of propaganda in In the Time of the Butterflies is the twisted and guiltless lies about General Raphael Trujillo. He was viewed as a saint by all those who were ignorant of his ruthless regime. Those who were educated and did speak up did so at the cost of their lives. Through propaganda, Trujillo proclaims himself as more than just a president but a divine King. When she is still fairly young, Minerva Mirabal even admits, "At home, Trujillo hung on the wall by the picture of Our Lord Jesus with a whole flock of the cutest lambs" (Alvarez 17). Although no evil man like Trujillo should ever be viewed as equal to a God, at least this type of propaganda is not physically harmful. The corruption and dishonesty needed to reach that point, however, is much more treacherous.


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