Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

In my film and literature class, we are reading five works of literature: one storybook, one play, and three novels. We are then watching the film adaptations of said works and eventually are going to write our own short screenplays. I will be reviewing the books and films together. The first book we were assigned was Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

In class, we watched a 30-minute interview with the author, and I learned quite a few interesting things about his background and the origin for a few of his stories. I won’t go into what I assume you may think are boring details, but I will say that the interviewer helped make it clear that Sendak has an obsession with death. I found this very interesting… Although it does not pertain too much to this story, it was clear in some of his other works.

Where the Wild Things Are

I haven’t read this book since I was young, and now that I did so in an academic setting, I looked at it through different eyes. We looked at the book through many lenses looking for themes. We looked at gender, social, personal, and the most interesting (or least boring?) political themes. The idea that Max’s mom had the power, Max rebelled, went to his own land, gained power, and relinquished it to go back to his mother.

In the movie, that was amplified. I felt it was more about the loss of power than the gaining of it, though. This was actually my second time watching the film, and I liked it more than I did the first time. It wasn’t too memorable when  I didn’t compare it to the book. On the second watching, it was much darker, sadder, and more interesting.

Still, it’s not a movie I plan to watch many more times. Although it is worth at least one or two watches, there’s just something missing that makes it hard to watch more than that. Perhaps it is the absence of almost any kind of resolution… Or perhaps Max really is too much of a wild child to enjoy watching him mess up everywhere he goes.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mylivereads
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 11:21:11

    I would agree, there is something missing at the end! I think it’s that we don’t know the fate of the wild things…will they be okay, or did Max really screw it up? It was an interesting movie, that’s for sure!


  2. Adam
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 11:37:32

    I’ve never read the nor have I watched the movie. I think it’s interesting to see a class where they chose to look at this book/movie. In my experience, most of the books or movies that we’ve discussed in classes didn’t interest me much at all and definitely didn’t fall into the realm of pop culture like this movie did when it came out.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about what other books you look at for this class, it sounds fun.


  3. bibliopirate
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 13:04:50

    I’ve never seen the movie, but the book is a classic for all.


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