Parallels Between "Mrs Dalloway" and "The Hours"

Decent Essays

The ongoing relationship between the literary movements of modernism and post-modernism is encompassed by the intertextual relationships between Stephen Daldry’s “The Hours” and Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs Dalloway”. These relationships communicate the inadequacy of previous writings to convey trauma, cultural crisis and the deep fragmentation within their respective societies. The immediate context of these social dialogues creates a clear division between each text, however the intertextual similarities between minor and major characters create an effective parallel to traverse decades, years, months and days. This is in order to assess the lasting impacts of society on an individual’s desire to escape either physically or metaphorically. …show more content…

“ The coffee was very slow … until Mr Whitbread had finished ... Hugh was so very slow” the agonising sense of immediacy both draws our attention back to clock time whilst allowing us to delve into Clarissa’s past as she recalls that Hugh is always so absurdly slow. As reality is blurred in psychological time, external time punctuates the novel “There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical, then the hour, irrevocable” this reminds the reader that this story is in fact occurring in a single day and every event experienced outside of this timeframe is a figment of a characters memory. Woolf makes these memories the focus of the novel rather than external time to create a mobile reality where she fabricates the sense of movement by traversing time through the consciousness of her characters. These memories therefore are from a specific point of view and therefore exclude some properties of the remembered moment and parts of said reality may simply be “dissolved in the air” as the memory fades with ongoing time.

Daldry approaches Woolf’s tunnelling technique with sensitivity and subtlety in order to unify Virginia, Laura and Clarissa. The repetitive musical score by Philip Glass creates a sense of the cyclical nature of time and is evocative of the relentlessness of time. This too creates an illusion of both time and timelessness as the regular rhythm simulates that of a clock as

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