But Was the Book Better? Analyzing Film and Literature

Deena Aglialoro, English, Olympic High

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


This curriculum unit is designed to be an introductory unit in a film and literature course, with a heavier emphasis on film analysis and terminology since students will know many of the analytical concepts of literature from their English courses. This unit will begin with a focus on comparing and contrasting film and literature under the umbrella of World War I as a focal point. Students will initially be tasked with understanding the components of analyzing literature as they do in their English courses while reading various primary source documents, poetry, and excerpts from the novel All Quiet on the Western Front. They will then expand on those skills by learning additional film terminology to become strong film critics. To incorporate the central topic of World War I, students will be given background information on the key elements that led to the start of the Great War, but will discuss philosophical questions about war such as: Why is it considered a “glorious” death to die for one’s country? To support their opinions, students will gather information from their literature sources as well as the film version of All Quiet to determine if common themes of “horrors of war” and “the effects of war on soldiers” were translated accurately and affectively in literature and film, as well as debate which medium translated those overall messages more affectively. Students will also consider if we approach film and literature differently, and will be tasked with determining how and why we view and read these pieces differently, essentially answering the age-old question “Is the book better than the movie?” in a final argumentative essay that compares the two versions of this story.