Wednesday, January 2, 2013


The point of this paper is to show the difference and similarities between the book “Nightjohn” which was published in 1993 and written by Gary Paulsen and the movie, also “Nightjohn” which premiered in 1996. These stories take place during slavery times in the United States. The main characters’ names in both the book and the movie are Sarny, John(NightJohn), Mammy and C’lel Waller. The setting takes place on a plantation owned by one C’lel Waller. Nightjohn is bought by Waller for one thousand dollars. Nightjohn at his previous plantation tried to get away twice and failed but on the third time he got free away and then came back. He came back because he wanted to teach the slaves to read and write, but it was illegal for a slave to read and write so he taught in secret from Waller and most of everybody else on the plantation. Mammy is not Sarny’s birthing mother, her mother was sold a few years after she was born, Mammy is the caretaker of the young slave children. Sarny is the main character and she is the narrator.

Some similarities in the both the book and the movie were the names of the main characters, Sarny, Nightjohn, Waller, and Mammy.  In both the book and the movie the first words were the same,”This is the story of Nightjohn, it is also about me, because I’m in it...” Something that is the same in the plot of the movie and the book is that in both of them Sarny is being taught how to read by Nightjohn. Another similarity was that Nightjohn had been bought.  A conflict that is the same in the novel and the movie is when Waller finds out that one of his slaves is visiting another slave he punishes them ,but in the book it is much more gruesome.
The people who have seen the movie before reading the book think that the book was more different than the movie and vice versa. In my case I read the book first and think the book was better. The reason that they think that is because the differences. And that is what this paragraph is about. A difference in one of the characters is in Sarny. In the book she said that she couldn’t remember much, and in the movie she said that she remembers everything since the day she was born, this is a character v.s. character conflict. A big thing that people do not like is when there is change in part of the plot, for example in the movie they added a part were Sarny got baptized, when they added that they added a part of conflict that wasn’t in the book, they had that after Sarny was baptized she stole a bible ,then that added a part that showed one of the slaves getting whipped and that added more conflict.

In conclusion, I personally liked the book better than the movie. I hoped that you read novel and watch the movie, I would recommend these to a more mature group, 12 to 13 years of age was okay. When you are done with reading and watching “Nightjohn”  there is a sequel of the book, “Sarny”, also written by Gary Paulsen. I hope you enjoyed this and I hope you read and enjoy the books and movie also.


  1. This is really cool and you should right one about Sarny the book.

  2. Nice job Austen very good writing it really hooked me in the intro. Yes Joey is right you should do one about Sarney if we get to it in class.

  3. Reading Mr. Paulsen's books for my grandsons A.R, he is 10 years old and we (my grandson and myself are thoroughly enjoying them).
    Thank you Mr.Paulsen