Literary Ladies: Edna & Esther Updated

Have you ever wondered what your favorite character in a novel would be like if she were a modern woman living her story in today’s hectic world? I have! So this week in my Writing Workshop 11-12 class, I had the girls (only girls that block, so no accusations of leaving out the boys!) plan out what they think a modern day movie version of The Awakening (by Kate Chopin) would look like. The projects aren’t due until next week, but I expect great things.

In the meantime, I had a ball over at polyvore designing costumes. It began with Edna Pontellier’s wardrobe, but soon I was making plans for my other favorite heroines. If I were singlehandedly producing these classic stories, here’s what they’d look like:


Story: The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Protagonist: Edna Pontellier, a wealthy woman who finds herself, at the ripe old age of 28, ‘awakened’ suddenly to the idea that she is *gasp*– her own person, and not just her husband’s trophy. Edna embodied feminism long before the concept became polite to discuss. My hero!

Starring: Jennifer Aniston as Edna

Theme song: Cat Power—I Don’t Blame You

The students said that Edna wouldn’t be the typical Chanel suit and Louboutin pumps-sporting wealthy modern housewife. I agree! I picked delicate, stark pieces that would accent her ‘boyish’ figure. Chopin was among the first to suggest that a more angular, androgynous woman could be attractive. Edna wears stacks of rings, striking sandals and carries an inexpensive bohemian shoulder bag.


Story: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Protagonist: Esther Greenwood, a neurotic overachiever from a prestigious Northeastern women’s college, is going crazy. The good news is, we get to go with her! From dates to cadavers to attempted suicide, Esther’s bleak black humor drenches this novel in autobiographical anecdotes, but Esther’s fate differs from that of the author. Based partially in my beloved Pioneer Valley, this book falls safely in my top 5 favorites.

Starring: Zooey Deschanel as Esther Greenwood


Theme Song: Animal CollectiveFireworks

Esther’s personal style would have to be edgy—she was a fashion magazine intern, and in 2009 that means having an amazing look, not necessarily following the latest trend. In the novel, Esther describes a black beaded dress that she ‘spent too much money on’—I updated to a surprisingly pretty kaftan and eye-grabbing blue accessories. Her laptop comes with her everywhere, and she’s never without pens & pencils.

Part Two of this post (featuring Jane Eyre and Tessa Sanger) is coming next week. There is much to be done, and Polyvore can keep me busy for… well, let’s just say I can spend a lot of time there.

Who are your favorite literary women? How would you style the movies? Send me your collages!

Peace from the Valley,


Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Literary Ladies: Edna & Esther Updated”

  1. Ten things I’ve learned about style « new england noir Says:

    […] Draw inspiration from your favorite music, artist, literary character, best friend. Who do you think is simply fascinating? What would she wear, shopping in your […]

  2. Favorite literary characters? « new england noir Says:

    […] & Anne will be making an appearance in a future Literary Ladies posting, as will Elizabeth Bennett, the Second Mrs. de Winter, Tess Durbeyfield (guest post by my […]

  3. Wherein I admit that I like seeing my stats be higher than normal « new england noir Says:

    […] I am a competitive person. So competitive, in fact, that if I’m not sure I’ll win, I often won’t even play. That’s also called “Being a Giant Brat”, but that’s a post for another time. I’ve noticed that the posts that get the most hits–either search engine hits or pageviews–are my Literary Ladies posts. Those also happen to be the least frequently posted of all my rambling: Literary Ladies. (You can see some old Literary Ladies posts here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. The very very first is here.) […]

  4. LiteraryLadies #10: Emma Bovary « new england noir Says:

    […] Emma Bovary is one of the most influential female characters in literature, behind Moll Flanders, Edna Pontellier & Anna Karenina . While I don’t love Emma, her pathetic attempts at a magical life make […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: