Grand Isle vs the Awakening

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Mugilan Manokaran
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The Awakening, is considered one of the first texts addressing the concerns of the feminist movement. The story revolves around a small group of friends from New Orleans who vacation together on Grand Isle each summer, the main character being Edna Pontellier. On the other hand, there’s a film entitled Grand Isle, which is a direct translation of Chopin's novel. Both The Awakening and Grand Isle make use of setting, symbols, and characters to reveal the ultimate theme of the work: that nobody is free from society. Grand Isle is a very complete adaptation of The Awakening and with only a couple minor details altered, the film takes Chopin's novel and completely translates it into a different medium, often quoting the novel exactly in character dialogue. Disregarding its origins and influences, as a work of art on its own, Grand Isle is well filmed with an enjoyable cast and portrays its main themes completely. The novel and the film heavily rely on setting, both to stage the events of the story and as a method of symbolism. The setting of the novel is historically accurate. Many families living in New Orleans and similar cities would retreat to small coastal islands for the summer to escape the heat of the city. On a higher level, the two main elements of the setting, the city and the island, or civilization and the wilderness, serve as symbols. The city, or civilization, symbolizes oppression by societal demands, while the island, or wilderness, symbolizes freedom from society's watch. When Edna is residing in the city, she is weighed down by society's expectations of her. She must be home on certain calling days, she must be subservient to her husband, she must put her children before all else, and she must be the person that conformed society encourages her to be. On the other hand, when she is on the island for the summer, Edna is freed from many of her duties. Her husband is often away with business, her children spend the days...
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