A Comparison of Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Grand Isle Essay

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A Comparison of Kate Chopin's The Awakening and Grand Isle

Grand Isle is the movie adaptation of Kate Chopin's 1889 novel, The Awakening. Turner Network Television (TNT) made the movie in 1991, and it stars Kelly McGillis as Edna Pontellier and Adrian Pasdar as Robert Lebrun. To say that this movie is based, even loosely, on The Awakening is an insult to Kate Chopin's colorful literary work. A reviewer from People Weekly calls it a "tedious melodrama" and sees it as Kelly McGillis's "vanity project" because she is star, producer, and narrator ("Grand Isle" 13). Grand Isle is an example of how Hollywood's ratings scramble can tear apart a striking piece of literature.

This movie misses the novel's subtle commentary on
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In the movie, we are left wondering how this man came to be in Edna's world. The movie does not show the development of the relationship at all. It does not speak of the pain that both Edna and Robert have to endure. In the novel, Robert loves Edna deeply, but he tries to deny his love because she is a married woman. It is what drives him to Mexico and back again. He says, "I couldn't help loving you if you were ten times his wife; but so long as I . . . kept away I could help telling you so." (Chopin 142) The movie does not address the pain and indecision that paralyze Robert and Edna. It treats their relationship as a lack of self-control based on lust and the heat of the moment.

The movie leaves out a crucial part of the novel that is a peak of Edna's independence. This peak is Edna's dinner party, at which she invites ten friends to a celebratory final dinner in Leonce's house before she moves into the "pigeon house." The party is Edna's last grand gesture. It is "visual, social proof, accompanied by approval and joy, that Edna is moving out,' an artist on her own." (Skaggs 96) This party symbolizes Edna's freedom from her sheltered, unhappy life in her passive role. She is even dressed the part. Her gold satin gown and jewelry "suggested the regal woman, the one who rules, who looks on, who stands alone." (Chopin 118) This vital scene in Edna's awakening is

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