Essay on Death and Rebirth in the Hours

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Death and re-birth in The Hours

Adapted from Michael Cunningham's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Director Stephen Daldry and playwright David Hare, The Hours was inspired by Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel Mrs. Dalloway. It is no coincidence that The Hours was the working title Woolf had given Mrs. Dalloway as she was writing it. The emotional trauma that this film guides its viewers through becomes evident in the opening prologue. The scene begins with Virginia Woolf composing what would be her suicide notes to her husband Leonard and her sister Vanessa, the two most important people in her life (Curtis, 57.) She begins: "I feel certain that I am going mad again: I feel we can't go through another of these terrible times... You
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The three main (female) characters in The Hours all relate to the character Mrs. Dalloway in their own unique ways.

We are introduced to a "re-born" Woolf as she begins to write Mrs. Dalloway. In the movie Woolf's character takes the role of the narrator. Although not the narrator in the traditional sense, she does function as the all-knowing mind that binds the other stories together (Miller). It becomes evident quickly that what Woolf writes in her novel has rippling effects through time and into lives of the other two main stories. It is as if Woolf is a puppeteer reaching through time to control the lives of those that read her book. As Woolf wrote the first line in her book, "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself (Woolf, 1)", we saw the effect it had on the other two women decades later. Laura Brown was shown reading the sentence and Clarissa Vaughn told her partner that she "would buy the flowers herself." This fragmentary method used in telling this story mimics the "stream-of-consciousness" technique that is found in many of Woolf's works including Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf strayed from the traditional methods of plot and character development and did not even split Mrs. Dalloway up into chapters. She tended to focus more on the "details of the mind" and less on the "insignificant details of the world" (Miller, Hillis).

Although we only see a small glimpse into Virginia Woolf's life, we are given some
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