Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation

By Marilyn Hoder-Salmon | Go to book overview

Ah, that stupid Mulâtresse. She'll have a surprise in the morning. I've been far too lenient.

He extinguishes the lamp. Edna is still visible in the shadows, poised on the edge of the bed. From across the bed comes Léonce's voice.

LÉONCE: Edna, when I'm in the city, you must look after things. Come to bed. (Placatingly) You will tire yourself.

During the speech the camera moves closer to Edna [ Frédéric Chopin , Sonata No. 2 in B-Flat Minor, Op. 35]. Her cheeks are wet. Now the image changes: Edna is at the porch door; she parts the curtains. The view from the porch doorway is barely visible; the dark contours are softened by a lamp or two somewhere on the property. For a brief second the starry sky comes unnaturally close. Then there is a partial view of Edna with her fingertips pressed against the screen door.

A new shot: Edna sits stiffly in the porch rocker in the foreground of the screen, but she is only partially in view. Vague landscape shadows are seen, and the edge of a building. Uncertain night sounds are heard--an owl calls from his perch, and a dog answers with a growl. In the mild breeze branches move slightly. There is the murmur of the sea.

Reverse angle: the camera frames the rocker from the right. Edna leans back; her tears fall freely, but silently. With an edge of her wide sleeve she wipes them away. The camera moves closer, and insects buzz; Edna waves an arm about her face. Then from her perspective, but telescoped closer, we see the water oaks with their twisting limbs. The draped Spanish moss looks mysterious in the dark. The image changes to a shot where the path begins, the camera low to the ground. This is held for a moment, and then there is a cut to Edna who stands in the porch doorway and looks out; her figure is half in shadow and half illuminated. Then, from Edna's point of view, the vivid sky is shown.


Scene 8. Present time: Spring. Adèles time is near.

The camera tilts down from a corner of Adèle's bedroom [ Gardner, "Mooncircles"]. It is degrees darker than in the earlier scenes. Adèle

-38-

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