The movie version of this story and the original written version vary quite a bit. One significant difference was the change in the character of Ethan. I think that Edith Whartons image of Ethan, which was present in the book, was much different than what was shown in the film.The film was okay, but it did not depict the events of the book very accurately.
In the movie, Ethan was much more vocal about his feelings compared to in the book. He rarely said a word to Mattie in the novel, but in the film they talked a great deal. The kitchen scene in the movie, which in the book showed how they knew each others feeling without them being said or obviously shown, involved much interaction between the two.
His communication was not only different between Mattie and him, it was also different towards the townspeople. Instead of just minding his own business, as he did in the book, he often said things to bystanders who looked upon him with curiosity. There was one scene that was mostly the same from book to novel, though it was not very important to the story line. It was when Ethan asked Mr. Hale for money.
By the novel you would expect Ethan to be a bright young man stuck in a life that is hell for him then Mattie arrives and makes it both better and worse at the same time. The movie shows him as a rather unhappy man even once Mattie arrives.
There were other subtle differences between the two interpretations of the story. Other characters and scenes were different besides Ethan, but even if they had left everything else the same and just changed Ethan the way they did the story was altered ever so slightly.
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