Kate Chopin's the Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation

By Marilyn Hoder-Salmon | Go to book overview
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as Edna lifts her skirt to enter the carriage. Now there are two successive cuts: one to Edna's ankle, the other to a man across the street who stares at her. She pauses to return his gaze and then quickly boards the carriage. The next shot ends with a slow fade. We see the carriage's jerky move forward and through the rear window, Edna, as she steadies herself against the seat. The driver calls, "Suzette, Tante Suzette," and the heavy wheels clack loudly as the carriage leaves the screen.

Scene 3. Past time: Winter. Edna at the fairgrounds.

This scene begins with a high traveling movement of the camera, punctuated by sharp turns, in exploration of a wooded park. The path of the camera discloses the formal design of a manicured landscape with its varied horticulture and, in particular, its intricate by- ways. Among the park's aspects we notice the dense foliage of one area, the mottled sunlight on another, a bee that lingers over a flowering bush, the sky glimpsed through tall trees, and a squirrel's dash across a gravel path. This shot will continue for a long moment, while the camera lingers on each perspective.

Then there is a cut to a close shot of a horse in a stall, and the sound of his impatient trample. A groom, unseen except for his arm and bent head, brushes the animal's long neck. Offscreen, the loud and rough voices of several men are heard. Then someone whistles.

This image changes to a close shot of a waiter dressed in a formal white uniform. On the screen his gloved hands arrange tea and pastries on a cart. In the immediate background a white rail and part of a large fern become clear in the image.

The shot changes abruptly. From the air, as though in a balloon on a wavering course, the camera reveals the large acreage of the fairgrounds. This panoramic impression is of woods that surround a developed area that consists of a central promenade space, surrounded by the track, two grandstands, an open-air restaurant, horse barns, and a carriage parking area. There is a lake in the distance. The camera descends with the effect of a rush, but it still hovers above the scene. The field of the image becomes the promenade area. The crowd that gathers there is predominantly male.


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Kate Chopin's the Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation
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