The Central Value Connecting Mrs. Dalloway And The Hours

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The central value connecting Mrs Dalloway and The Hours is an affirmation of life. Although suicides feature in both Stephen Daldry’s film and Virginia Woolf’s novel both texts echo Woolf’s words from her 1922 diary: ‘I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.’ Both Woolf’s modernist 1925 novel and Daldry’s 2002 postmodernist film focus on women whose rich inner lives are juxtaposed with their outer lives constrained by the contexts in which they live. The characters are placed in their respective context, to reflect on, or respond to, the consequences of war and AIDS, the difficulties of personal relationships, class, gender and sexuality. Mrs Dalloway seeks to narrate the inner life of characters in a single day, Wednesday, 13th June, 1923, while in The Hours, the action takes place within the span of a single day in three different years, 1923, 1951 and 2001. It communicates 3 parallel narratives with the focus on three different women, alternating between them throughout the film. In Mrs Dalloway, the chiming of both the grand Big Ben and the gentler St Margaret’s symbolise the significance of time in life, despite a representation of time as mutable – Big Ben, ‘a warning…then the hour, irrevocable’, reminding Clarissa of mortality, while St Margaret’s chimes in a little late, gliding ‘into the recesses of the heart and buries itself, to be, with a tremor of delight, at rest.’ Woolf seems to say a full life is one that accepts the moment is

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