Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens: Analysis

Our Mutual Friend Charles Dickens’s 1865 novel “Our Mutual Friend” (Tarner, 2005) tells a story about a body that was found in the river and identified as John Harmon, a young man, who inherited his father’s wealth under one condition. The condition is to marry a beautiful girl, Bella Wilfer. But the money was passed to the working-class family, the Boffins.

John Harmon came back to England that night, but he was undercover. He changed his name to John Rokesmith and worked for the Boffin’s family as their secretary.

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John’s main intention was to know more about his future wife, Bella Wilfer. Bella came from a poor background, and her heart was craving money. As John Rokesmith started working as a secretary, he fell in love with Bella, and so did her. The major theme of novel shows that Jealousy can be a major reason for hatred.

The BBC series version of Charles Dickens’s novel “Our Mutual Friend” was released in 1998, produced by Catherine Wearing. It was directed by Julian Farina, and adapted for the screen by Sandy Welch.

In this paper I will compare and contrast the manners in which one element has been adapted by the filmmakers and will also evaluate the ay the filmmakers chose to adapt the element as they did; in addition, I will synthesis the opinions of two series critics. One significant plot element that appears in the novel and that is adapted for the series version concerns is the schoolmaster, Bradley Headstone. Though there is one drastic difference in the treatment of this element, in general the element was transferred faithfully.

In the novel, Bradley Headstone was the schoolmaster of Charley Hexam who fell in love with his pupil’s sister, Lezzie and pursues her passionately and violently. He confessed his love to her nd was hoping to marry her. But his love and requests were rejected. As a result to this rejection, he became a man who has an insane Jealousy towards Eugene Wrayburn, The man whom Lezzie loves. He started following Eugene at night hoping to clear his suspiciousness and catch Lezzie and Eugene together.

So he starts to dress as Rogue Riderhood, the man who Headstone attempted to frame for the murder of Eugene Wrayburn.

And when he saw them together, he waited until lezzie left and then attacked Eugene and almost succeeded in drowning him before Lezzie ame and saved his life. After Riderhood realized that Headstone was trying to murder Eugene, he tries to blackmail Headstone. And that led to a fght ended up falling into the river and being drowned and dead. After that, in order to save Lezzie’s reputation, Eugene and Lezzie got married.

And by that, Headstone’s attempts to separate those lovers were ended up failing, and instead, it brought them even closer. In the BBC series, however, the filmmakers did a drastic change to Bradley headstone’s character.

They combined two aspects of his personality as one. For xample, at the beginning of the novel, Headstone appears to be a decent educated man. Also, he does not appear to have a great desire to be in love relationship whatsoever. However, the filmmakers combined his decent personality with a man who is controlled by his love to Lezzie, and they made him, to some extent, another mentioned earlier, even though the filmmakers made some changes to Headstone’s character, the change is in fact minor and it does not change the sequence of events of the plot.

In other words, Headstone in the film is almost the same as Headstone in he novel. I think that the filmmakers wanted to add more details about his character to help the viewers to understand the overall plot. The reactions to the performance of David Morrissey as Bradley Headstone by two critics appear to be similar than different. Both of the critics agree that David Morrissey’s performance is very good. My first review is from Walter Gibson from January 10th 2001, “Much More Satisfying than Any Film Version.

.. ,” from imdb. com.

Gibson talks about the outstanding performance of David Morrissey.

He says “David Morrissey’s Bradley Headstone was ery realistic, portraying him as a kind of ready to burst, angry and passionate man, as his face often changed color with anger, despair, passion and fear” (p. 2). What he means is that the performance of the actor David Morrissey as the character Bradley Headstone seemed as if it was true, described him as a person who is ready to explode, mad and emotional mas, as his performance was so realistic his face changed with the changes of his character’s feelings.

My second review is from the critic Li Feng from 2010, in his review “Our Mutual Friend” taken from the website Caffeinatedlife. et, Feng thinks that David Morrissey has done an amazing Job in the role he was acting, and also that the cast was perfect and has done a great Job.

In Feng’s review, he says “Bradley Headstone, on the other hand, completely creeped me out (David Morrissey’s performance was spot on)” (p. l). By this statement, Feg means that the actor David Morrissey acted the role of Bradley Headstone perfectly and he was scary. There are not many differences between these two critics.

The first critic says that Morrissey’s performance was ‘very realistic’ but, the other critic says that his erformance was ‘Spot on’ as the character Bradley Headstone. Those two words are slightly different because these words have different definitions and meanings.

For example the second critic’s opinion is very powerful because he says that the performance of David Morrissey is perfect by saying the word, spot on. They both share similarities in praising the actor’s performances as the schoolmaster, Bradley Headstone and both of the critics agree that his performance overall is perfect.

A one major theme of the novel is that Jealousy can cause hatred, and I agree with this heme. From the novel and the film, the murderer schoolmaster, Bradley Headstone is the man whose Jealousy caused him to have hateful feelings of Eugene Wrayburn for taking his place. An observation that I obtained from my friend Bashayer relates to this theme.

Her uncle Yousef in his early childhood was a hyper child who loved being stubborn. He used to fght with his father a lot and almost for the smallest reasons.

There were many times that he tried to run away from home, yet he always came back after half hour because he knew that even though his father and him lways fought, yet his father loved him more than his other siblings, because of his activeness. His younger brother Ahmed was Jealous of him, to the point of not wanting to admit that Yousef was his older brother. Back in the 1990’s when Bashayer’s uncle was only 18 years old, his father asked him and his sons to help him with building a boat that his father was working on.

So he ordered all of his three sons to carry bricks and sandbags to the other side of the house.

My friend’s uncle to the other side. All the other brothers were not able to carry even one sandbag. Their father told them to leave it to Yousef and that they should carry the bricks. Their father told them that Yousef was way better than them.

And At that moment all of them were Jealous of Yousef. And even Yousef himself, noticed their glaring. After one hour of working, Yousef sat on the ground wiping his sweat and was trying to rest. All of a sudden there was a brick falling from above and hit Youssef’s head making him fall unconscious with blood spreading on the ground.

Everyone stopped working as they heard the sound of something falling. And when the youngest rother, Jabber came to check what that hit the floor he saw Yousef bleeding from his head and unconscious, they screamed calling his name trying to wake him up, stop the bleeding and looking for the culprit.

Eventually it seemed that the one who threw the brick was, Ahmed who panicked and told everyone that it was not on purpose, but nobody believed him because even strangers could see that Ahmad hated his brother. After that Yousef had health problems for ten years.