Kate Chopin's the Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation

By Marilyn Hoder-Salmon | Go to book overview

EDNA: (She shrugs.) I've never thought of them.

During this last line the image changes to a shot of Edna and Robert preparing a sailboat for departure. It is just before total darkness. Mme Antoine stands on the small pier with a large lantern. The camera pulls back to the middle distance as the boat begins its glide through the marshy channel. Mme Antoine waves a cheerful good-bye and calls "Safe trip!" in her heavily accented English. The camera moves in to track the boat as Robert skillfully oars a path through the twisting bayou. Their two silhouettes are visible in the dark. The eerie atmosphere of the bayou at night, with its dense foliage of moss-draped tree limbs, gnarled mangrove roots, and deformed cypress knobs, is intensified by the creaks, the brushes, and the quiet smack of water against the boat. A sudden splash in the narrow waterway and the call of a heron are heard.

Then the camera turns so that Edna is eliminated from the frame. Robert, who has a pleasing voice, begins to sing the ballad, "Ah! Si Tu Savais," which has been heard before. After a moment, a woman's accompanying hum is heard offscreen. The camera passes across Edna's still face, and we see, even in the shadows, that it is not she who hums. Then in a soft, contented voice she asks:

EDNA: Do you know we have been together the whole day, Robert?

The background hum becomes stronger than Robert's voice, the melody repeated over and over. The swamp mist slowly rises from the dark water; the narrow passage widens. The camera pulls back to reveal more of the surroundings. The boat glides swiftly now, with an air of lightness, and Edna appears perfectly at ease.

The camera turns and comes close along the boat's length. Then, after a moment the camera angle changes to behind the boat and shoots across the open Gulf. Light clouds race across the moon.


Scene 8. Present time: Spring. Transition.

It is night. The camera is at the top of the Pontellier hall staircase. Edna, dressed in the apparel of the "long night," holds a candle for light as the camera follows her down the staircase. She carefully

-72-

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