The Awakening

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Context and analysis

A boy has recently died there, and the other students report sightings of his ghost. The Rockford School is one of those remote piles that seem to contain way too much room. Stark against the skyline, it seems mired in the time of Dickens. That's especially true when the summer holidays leave it mostly deserted, except for the skeleton staff of characters required for haunted house stories. There's the stammering Mallory himself, tortured by the memory of dead comrades. His colleague Malcolm McNair Shaun Dooley , a classic sadist who springs on every chance to whip a boy.

The kindly matron Maud Hill Imelda Staunton. The sinister groundsman Edward Judd Joseph Mawle , who creeps about the woods with a rifle, seemingly up to no good. And a young boy named Tom Isaac Hempstead-Wright , the only student in residence, because his parents live in far-away India. Maud tells Florence that she takes no truck in nonsense about ghosts and has read her book many times.

Malcolm enthusiastically flogs Tom for an obscure transgression. Edward skulks about ominously.

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Robert assists Florence as she installs ghost traps, including cameras rigged to fire automatically, powders to capture footprints and delicate instruments to measure something or other. All of this takes place within the gloomy manse, with its endless corridors and doors leading to doors leading to doors.

The film's best accomplishment is its art direction, and the shadowy cinematography that keeps seeing young ghost boys who evaporate. A proud atheist, Rebecca doesn't believe in an afterlife, but nevertheless she's soon scared out of her wits by such manifestations as a dollhouse modeled on Rockford School, through the windows of which she can glimpse dolls who seem to represent all of the characters on the premises.

The screenplay by Stephen Volk and the director, Nick Murphy , never clearly explains these events, or wants to. Halfway through, my money is on the brutal teacher Malcolm McNair, who I speculate beat a child to death and is now trying to pin the murder on a ghost.

With an Agatha Christie cast like this, you can never entirely rule out the kindly matron. If Aphrodite. But such a reading would be somewhat anachronistic. What they wanted for women was the right to say no, rather than the right to say yes whenever and wherever they pleased. Nor would she have been comfortable with the view that the freedom of women dictated the substantial reform of the prevailing social institutions. Quite the contrary: she interests us because she is human—because she fails in ways which beckon seductively to all of us. Is she weak and emotionally troubled or strong and insightful?

Would she be better off if she were living in our times, or is her struggle universal—true for women everywhere at all times? Should we pity her or admire her?

Production Guide Participants

Can you tell me how to pronounce the more common names? A: No. She is a Kentucky and Mississippi Presbyterian. Q: Why are there so many French expressions in the novel? But it may be helpful to recognize that Edna Pontellier herself understands French and French culture imperfectly. She is not from Louisiana and did not grow up a Roman Catholic. She is out of her Kentucky or Mississippi Presbyterian environment, out of her native element.

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The Awakening: Learning to swim

So to some extent your puzzlement over those French expressions may be similar to hers. A: Yes. The language in Chapter 27 reflects literary conventions of the s. Kate Chopin almost certainly would not have found a publisher for the novel if she had included more sexually explicit phrasing. Q: In Chapter 30 of the novel a character named Gouvernail mutters two lines of poetry.


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Do you know where they came from? There was a graven image of Desire Painted with red blood on a ground of gold Passing between the young men and the old, And by him Pain, whose body shone like fire, And Pleasure with gaunt hands that grasped their hire.

Of his left wrist, with fingers clenched and cold, The insatiable Satiety kept hold, Walking with feet unshod that pashed the mire. The senses and the sorrows and the sins, And the strange loves that suck the breasts of Hate Till lips and teeth bite in their sharp indenture, Followed like beasts with flap of wings and fins. Death stood aloof behind a gaping grate, Upon whose lock was written Peradventure.

Q: In Chapter 22, what does Dr. I cannot find this anywhere in research about the book. Can you confirm this? Nothing in any of those comments mentions the possibility of a masturbation incident in the book.

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It is clear that masturbation was not one of the reasons the book was attacked by critics in the s. About the first question, here is what two Chopin scholars have to say:.

Kate Chopin: The Awakening

I have run into no articles citing masturbation and Chopin. The translation is a somewhat slow, but very joyful adventure so far. I came across this website and I thought maybe I can get some help here. David Z.

SparkNotes: The Awakening

They would leave their card with the butler or on a tray in the foyer. Kathleen Butterly Nigro: I think the translator may be confused by the tradition of the set day of the week during which a women was required to accept visitors. To refuse to do so or to be away from home was a serious breach of etiquette.

What might help is to understand the etiquette of the calling card. In its colonies, officials, military and naval officers, and their wives practiced this custom as well. In New Orleans, the antique shops still offer the small silver trays that were used for collecting the engraved cards. It would be chez moi or chez nous now, but then?

The one difference I have is this: the calling day reception day was for women to visit women, in the afternoons. Husbands were not generally involved. The wives, as Chopin shows, were not consulted, just expected to do this. Chopin wrote The Awakening in St. That may be why and how Kate Chopin decided to have Edna violate the visiting rules of her society. Chopin did, too. The social practice actually began in France in the 17th century. The social etiquette spread across Europe, but became strong especially in Britain. For example, if the card had an edge turned up, it was delivered by the person, and if it were flat, it would have been delivered by a servant.

Even the arrangement of the received cards suggested a hierarchy.