The true woman is as yet a dream of the future.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
International Council of Women address, 1888
She felt like some new-born creature, opening its eyes in a familiar world that it had never known before.
Kate Chopin, The Awakening
Edna Pontellier is one of the more compelling and enduring characters in U.S. fiction. She exerts an individuality and charismatic strength so powerful that modern readers claim her as an icon, identifying Edna as a timeless symbol of women's quest. As her name implies, Chopin's heroine is truly a "bridgemaker." This idea represents the core of this study: the conversion of Chopin's literary character to a cinematic character of equal complexity, wherein Edna's interior journey of revelation and rebirth is presented in such a way that the authenticity of Chopin's theme and era is retained as the modern appeal of Edna's quest is reconceptualized in filmic terms. The various formal aspects of this interpretation of the screenplay--structure, characterization, setting, soundtrack, for example--radiate outward in this discussion as spokes of a central focus, which is, of course, Edna.
One of the more intriguing and persistent theoretical issues in adaptation studies contrasts the facility of fiction to portray the inner self with words to film's more imprecise language of images. Decades ago Sergei Eisenstein compared the dialectical thought processes of the mind with synthesizing opposing elements in film images. The cinematic dialectic gives film its creative energy and sense, he claimed, as a technical mirroring of the human thought process. In Robbe-Grillet's well-known phrase, "The mind is the province of cinema." With more particularity James Belson's study illustrates how extrinsic and intrinsic characterization, landscape and frame