Out of Africa IRP

By: Sabur khan Period 4


Out of Africa is a book written by Isak Dinesen in 1937 which was later made into a movie directed by Sydney Pollack in 1985. Both the movie and the book have the same primary setting however they have relatively different ways to go about it. The book was written to describe the events that occurred in the life of a woman named Karen Blixen, a baroness from Denmark who was trying to make a profit off of coffee on a farm in Africa. Surely enough the author of the book was really Karen Blixen herself under the pseudonym Isak Denesen who was writing about the events that occurred on her plantation. The movie also talks about the life of Blixen in Africa but in a different manner altogether. In this poster we will see just how.

Similarities between the book and the movie

The book and the movie both can be considered two complete different stories with only a few qualities (except the name) that keeps both of them related. First off the a handful of the main characters are both present in the book and in the movie. This includes Karen (who is the narrator who owns the coffee plantation), Denys (a man who is a close friend of Karen's), Berkeley Cole (another friend of Karen's but not as close as Denys), Farah (the main servant of Karen also he is the closest servant to Karen), Kamante (a servant who is introduced as a boy with nasty leg sores), and the chief of the Kikuyus (the Kikuyus are part of a tribe that lives on the farmland that Karen owns.) The second thing that is similar between the book and the movie is the setting where all of the events occurred. The place where everything in the book and the movie occur is the at foot of the Ngong hills near the city of Nairobi in Kenya. Another small little similarity is the ending of the movie. The ending is similar in both the book and the movie. But what are the differences?

The Differences

The book and the movie had a very great number of differences which included the differences in plot and differences in conflict. This was mainly due to the fact that the movie was mainly created for the interest of the audiences. And with the fame it got it really was worth it. The movie centered around the love life of Karen where as the book really centered around the different events that occurred on the farm itself. Despite the fact that the true events that occurred go hand in hand with the book and the movie, the two individual items honed in on a specific part of Karen's life.


In the book the events that happened were focused in on the farm and what occurred on it. Due to this, the importance of many characters are left out in the movie which includes the major role of Kamante, the christian convert who later on became the chef at the house where Blixen lived. In the book, Kamante is not only just the amateur chef but he is also a boy that is mentioned for the purpose of comedic relief as well as for showing the innocence of the youth in such a society. Another very major character is Kabero who was involved in a major accident which becomes a primary conflict in the book despite the fact that the movie does not even mentioned. The conflict created in the book causes a great amount of chain reactions that create havoc until they come to an end where they end up rejoicing and in good spirits. The book has no main story line to it, rather it has a series of different stories compiled into one book. Almost as if it were entries in a diary which lasted a long period of time. This style of story telling is one that allows the reader to understand that the events that occur in the book are all nonfiction and that the lives of human beings don't necessarily have a main story line.

As for the movie, it was more focused on the emotional relationship that Blixen had. This helped Pollack (the director) create a genre of romance for the movie as well as something to focus on for the film as a whole. In doing so, Pollack gave the movie a central story line which was never even part of the book itself. Instead of worrying too much about what went on within the farm and the people tied to it, Pollack created emphasis on how Blixen felt throughout her own life during that period. By doing so, Pollack starts off in Denmark where he describes the series of events that took place before the idea of a coffee farm even took place. This way we can follow the main character during her struggles that are to come. The first of which include the marriage to Bror Blixen and how he continuously left her to fend for herself on a coffee plantation while he went out and did other things. The plot then shifts when the love life of Karen and Denys is introduced. Their life together becomes the center of the movie as it plays out throughout the rest of the movie even to the very end.



The conflicts that were presented in the book tended to be relatively minor ones however there were plenty of major conflicts that had caused the minor problems. The greatest example in the whole book is the shooting mishap caused by Kabero. Kabero causes a huge uproar on the farm due to the fact that he accidentally shot a loaded gun and killed a kid and wounded another. Because of this tragic mishap, there were a lot of problems that needed to be taken care of. This included the reparations to the family that lost their only son. Which included giving cattle as a price to pay. Another conflict that the book contained was the drought that occurred which had brutally destroyed the crops. This conflict had a direct result on the Kikuyus who lived on the farm as well as Blixen (of course). This had made Blixen thankful for the rain whenever it would occur, even in Denmark. This shows that there were a lot of hardships presented during the drought but they were not really presented in the book, rather how she coped with the hardships were presented. Even though the hardships caused by the drought were not mentioned in the book, the movie does not talk about the drought at all during her life. The end was partially different as well. The book ended with Blixen leaving because of how bad the location was to plant coffee which caused her to sell her land. During the end another tragedy occurs, the head of the Kikuyus in the village had died before the land had been sold out.

The movie has conflicts that are not mentioned in the book but also leave out the conflicts that the book had portrayed. This included Blixen suffering from syphilis. That became one trouble that had a permanently negative effect on her for the rest of her life. Due to having syphilis, she went back to Denmark in order to have proper treatment at a hospital. After being treated it turned out that Blixen could not produce children as a result of the treatment, a small price to pay for having her life saved. Another major conflict presented in the movie which is not presented in the book is related to Bror. Bror would constantly leave and not help out on the farm plantation at all. This would leave Blixen to fend for herself even if they were married. This made adjusting to the farm life in Africa relatively difficult. She even had to unpack everything into the house on her own. The end of the movie had slight alterations as well which included the burning of Blixen's coffee plantations followed by the death of her lover Denys who died in a plane crash. Because of the accident that caused the coffee beans burn to the ground inside of the shed that contained all the machinery and all the coffee beans that were supposed to be the only way that Blixen was supposed to make an income. However she lost all hopes of making that money. That was the reason she had to leave to Denmark.