Both Butch Hayes and Samuel Levine both committed the same crimes against a young person, yet the viewer is positioned to feel differently to both of them-more sympathetic towards Hayes rather than Levine. This is because of the manner both their characters were portrayed, using, among other things, techniques specific to the genre (feature film and novel).
One of the main factors, which manipulate how we feel about Butch and Samuel, are the way they are both characterised. Hayes is intelligent and sensible as shown in the way he constantly outsmarts the police. He is sane and also inwardly good. He only killed the people who hurt the ones he loved. Butch is portrayed as not being bad but will be bad to survive. He only acts ruthless when there is a reason to be brutal. An example of this was when he saves Phillip s mother from Terry, the criminal he escaped with. He is human with human faults, which we can relate to, but we see past all that to, his core, his integrity. But although he is good , as well as that he is also in spite of everything, sinister and still resorts to inducing fear and intimidation. His intelligence also works against him for he is psychologically smart which enables him too completely scare of his victims (eg the black couple). This makes me feel quite wary of him. But he has had a bad childhood and yet has risen above it.
Samuel Levine on the other hand, is completely frightening. This may just be because I m female and Levine stalks and abducts a female who is around my age but it is also because he is Monster . This makes him seen worse because he is unpredictable and you never know when Monster will overpower Levine and take control. Levine is volatile in the way that he is impulsive and acts child-like with child-like values but he is also devious and calculative and knows exactly what he wants. He has had a bad childhood and it has shaped him to be the psychopath he is now. The fact that he literally loved Claudia to death also scares me. That he could love somebody so much that when his innocent illusions of her were broken, he killed her.
The nature of both the abductions also shapes how we feel about the abductor. Melanie s abduction by Levine was premeditated and he had carefully planned out both their futures together. He chose to stalk and abduct Melanie. Butch on the other hand was thrown into the abduction-a spur of the moment hostage taking. He abducts Phillip from necessity, as insurance against the old man with the gun.
How the abductor treats his victim affects how we feel towards him. Levine abducts a 16-year-old girl. This makes me suspect that there may be a possible sexual motivation. He is needs to feel the power in the relationship and restricts Melanie in what she eats, where she goes, what she does and when she does it. If she does not conform to his wishes he ties her up and blindfolds and gags her. Levine does what he wants and does not relate to Melanie in any way. This makes me feel disgust and hatred for him. Butch on the other hand seems to be the complete opposite to Levine. He treats Phillip the way Phillip wants to be treated. He does what Phillip wants, for example, the trick or treating, and considers his feelings. He even gave Phillip the choice of leaving him if he wanted to. From the start he made it clear that he would never hurt Phillip. He teaches him important things in life like making goals and introduced him to having fun. Because he shows kindness and love towards Phillip we like him more and have more sympathy for him.
Many techniques from the genres feature film and novel influence the way we feel towards the abductors. One example is that Butch was always portrayed against Terry, his criminal co-conspirer. This bathed him in a good light since it was quite blatantly shown that Terry was evil . When he broke out of prison he was wearing a red and white checked flannel shirt, which makes us think that he is a country boy with old-fashioned country values. Kevin Costner also plays butch Hayes. I have seen him play the good guy in both the movies Waterworld and Field of Dreams so I am used to seeing him as the hero in the story so I expected him to be the hero in A Perfect World as well. Butch is always clean-cut and neatly dressed and overall, portrays a good image. In parts of the movie the Western music, as well as the cinematography and his expressions shows that Butch is tough but like all good cowboys has a heart of gold . The wide, open, country setting also keeps with the cowboy theme.
In the novel, Glyn Parry used italic writing to draw the viewer a view into Monster s sick world. The fact that Parry never actually describes any of his characters adds to the fear caused. That way everybody can construct his or her own version of him, made out of what scares them the most. Parry used the abduction genre to shape my response. For example he used the stereotypical cliche of the worried parent and the expert team of police chasing Levine to show that he was a stereotypical psycho.
Butch Hayes is portrayed as being a much kinder and sympathetic person towards his victim Phillip, allowing him liberties, while Samuel Levine is portrayed as being cruel and cold by taking away almost all of Melanie s freedoms. Many techniques, which are specific to their own genre were used as well as the causes given above to complete an in depth picture of each abductor. This is why Butch Hayes receives more sympathy than Samuel Levine does, although they have committed the same crime.