While reading Push, by Sapphire you are engaged in Precious’ every thought, whether it was random, or a part of what was going on in that very moment. You knew her responses to what was said to her, even if she did not respond aloud to what was being said. In the book, her own personal thoughts were intertwined with the dialect of the story. I enjoyed that aspect of the book, while in the film if you were to here all of the random thoughts and responses it would seem to be too much going on, and to confuse the reviewer.
I enjoyed the fact that in the film I could look at the expression on Precious’ face and know, courtesy of the book, exactly what she was thinking. A film adaptation of a book should complement the book, still telling the story accurately and getting the characters personality and struggles or successes across and I believe the film Precious did just that. I can appreciate the book, but I am more drawn into the characters in the film than in the book. The book and the film work together and bounce off of one another to draw out what the other left dormant.
In the book, you learn the stories of the classmates of the alternative school Precious was at, in the film they were able to come alive. You see ample personality in all of the girls in the film. Reading the book first, I paid more attention to the girl’s personalities in the film, maybe for the sake of comparing and contrasting, but with the book and the film combined I feel like I know those girls. In the film, the teacher of the Pre-G. E. D class, Ms. Rain was cast as a fair-skinned woman, pretty with nice hair.
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In the book, she was described as a darker skinned woman with dred locked hair. I enjoyed that the role was cast to fair skinned women and she was a valuable character. Yes, this woman fought for Precious sake in the film and the book, but the casting fairer skinned Ms. Rain I feel could be used to inspire Precious. Emphasized more in the book than the film, you hear Precious refer to being light skinned or correlating lighter skin with beauty and better treatment.
For her to be exposed to a lighter skinned, beautiful woman that is teaching her, caring for her, helping her push is what she needs to realize who she is herself and what kind of woman she can develop into. The film cast a role of a social worker who was not white in my eyes, and in the book she is a white woman. I liked that Precious was not sure of her race, it gave a tone of the film that the social worker was a part of a ‘none-race’. A woman of a none-race was talking to her, and even though she didn’t see it, helping her.
Precious was primed to believe that race mattered in relation to her well being. Being exposed to this, maybe Precious can realize that the race of those she came in contact with did not matter. A strength about the book is the ability to actually go in depth about parts of Precious’ story than the film does. If some of those things were included in the film, it would drag along and not be relative to the main points in the story that the film had to get across in a two hour period. In the book, I am grateful that Precious got to experience the incest survivor’s group meeting.
She was able to see that others shared her same experience. She even got the experience of going downtown, which I got the impression that she had never been or hadn’t gone often. The book also gives a grime account of the sexual abuse committed by Precious’ father and the confused and hateful feelings she experiences from it. Honestly, I’m glad it was addressed only in the book, and not the film. I admired the director’s use of short cut scenes and flashbacks to tell those sides of the story instead of actually telling and showing the story of the abuse.
The film also showed Precious and her fellow classmate’s infatuation with the male nurse John whereas the book did not include that at all. Strengths in the film were characterized by the opportunities to laugh at some of the characters, and to see that Precious sometimes too enjoyed herself. I appreciate the film showing the friendships that developed between her and the fellow classmates. I also found the most powerful scene that the book did no justice to is the monologue by Precious’ mother at the end of the film.
Though a similar monologue takes place in the book, you get to see it on the actress’ face and you finally get to figure out what she was thinking all these years. Both the film and book had decent endings; one did not excite me more than the other. In the article by Hilton and von Hippel, 1996, we are given an explanation of Priming and its relevance to prejudice and stereotyping. I believe Precious had such a hard time with who she was, beside the effects of physical and sexual abuse from both her parents, due in large part to the emotional and verbal abuse she suffered from her mother.
Everyday Precious was verbally put down and influenced by her mother that she equated to nothing and the only way to get through life was dependence on government aide and the negative demeanor towards whites. As much as Precious’ mother was negative toward whites, she put Precious down because she was black. Hilton and von Hippel state that how we process information is influenced by information that we have previously encountered. Precious previous encounters are her own life, and how her mother raised her to depend on welfare and be taught that white people are in place to restrict her progress. Prior experience determines what we see and hear and how we interpret that information and how we store it for later use” (Hilton & von Hippel, 1996). Precious was primed to believe stereotypes about her own race and self due to the influence of her mother. Hilton & Hippel say that “priming plays a dramatic role in the perception and evaluation of out group members”, but in the book and the film we see Precious’ inward perception of herself due to the influence of her mother and also toward out-group members such as whites, from the influence of her mother.
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