Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation

Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation

Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation

Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation


"With Kate Chopin's nineteenth-century novel as her focus, Marilyn Hoder-Salmon presents a screenplay and two essays that cast light on a new way to interpret literature and to analyze writing for film. Titled Edna, after Chopin's protagonist, the three-act screenplay explores the essential themes and complexities of its source, The Awakening. Offered as criticism in itself and not for production, the script stands as a model of how adaptation alone becomes a critical method. The first essay, unified around the theme of women's autonomy, offers background on such topics as feminist criticism, adaptation theory, masculine/ feminine themes in film, and Kate Chopin's life and the novel's particular history. The second essay interprets the screenplay in the context of the process of adaptation, illustrating how such a process both retains and enhances a work's theme in a new era. The intimate contact between the arts of film and literature uncovers ideas about character, theme, plot, setting, and point of view that resist analysis by more typical means. Hoder-Salmon contends that adaptation draws the writer into close proximity to the mind and method of the original author. As such, it offers an exercise in creativity that becomes the ultimate step in following the current critical injunction to "enter the text" in order to unmask its mysteries." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


All translation is an interpretation, an explication of a beloved text.

Justin O'Brien "The French Literary Horizon"

Wouldn't Kate Chopin, herself a remarkable interpreter of irony, destiny, and intuition, have relished the multiple ironies of that day in 1945, as I have imagined it, when French professor Cyrille Arnavon wandered into a Paris bookshop and laid hands on a half-century- old copy of her novel The Awakening? What if instead of taking the musty book over to the cashier, he had just skimmed a few pages and set the slender novel back on the shelf or table where it had rested for so long? Think of the impoverishment to the project of rediscovery of the heritage of important fiction by women writers! But of course he did take the book and for a few francs set in motion the evolution of what has become an essential ingredient in feminist literary history. Now, along with scores of readers and critics, I claim the novel as a "beloved text."

As someone trained in interdisciplinary studies, I am not surprised when, often with no plan in mind, I find myself pursuing new interests; however, I surely could not have anticipated where my preoccupation with Kate Chopin's nineteenth-century novel would one day lead. With The Awakening as centerpiece I have undertaken to bring together elements of adaptation studies, feminist literary and film criticism, women's social history of the late nineteenth century in Louisiana, screenplay writing, and more. Perhaps here is the place to say then, that a little risk venturing, a little patience, and a lot of trust may be required of readers of this study. What I've done is take my parallel interests in interdisciplinary and comparative studies and blend them to construct a different way to analyze literature. Screenplay writing is the methodology.

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