The portrait of Virginia Woolf at her darkest hour seems most closely connected to the character played by Julianne Moore in the film and they are, obviously, echoes of Septimus in the original. The character played by Meryl Streep balances the pathos with a bit of hope, as does Clarice in Mrs. Jul 27, PM. Wow, that's a glaring oversight, if I did. Why would Cunningham or the director want to imply that? It doesn't make sense.
The Hours Character List
Which leads me to another topic, which I am going to post in just a minute. Plese respond if you feel like it. It will be listed as Septimus; I want to discuss the identity of this character on another thread. Aug 23, AM. Wow, I'm in way over my head here. I thought I'd joined because I loved the hours haven't read the book and back in college, read A Room of One's Own and thought it was fabulous. I've also seen but not read Orlando. I did read Mrs.
Dalloway after watching the Hours, and was intrigued. It seemed to me to have a plot, I was most interested in her past experiences, and, I will admit, found it hard to keep my attention on the wandering nature of the story. So, Perhaps I'll pick up the Hours, or I'll read whatever's next on the list, and try to keep up with those of you who are clearly well-versed in Woolf.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
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We take abuse seriously in our discussion boards. Not only was it the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, but it is also the source of the Oscar-winning movie of the same name. I could praise this book in many ways, including its masterful use of the stream-of-consciousness technique, the depth of its descriptions, or the lavish beauty of its prose, but these merits have been highlighted by many other readers before me.
This disruption of linearity not only adds to the challenge of reading the book, but it also adds an element of surprise and discovery that is more than welcome in the literary world. The main characters of the story are Virginia Woolf, the writer of Mrs. Dalloway or Mrs. Dalloway, who resides in New York City with her wife Sally and her daughter Julia you can read a concise summary of the novel along with reader comments here.
The novel is told through an omniscient third-person perspective, so the reader is aware of the thoughts of major, secondary, and minor characters. The gender politics of this novel are very interesting, in my opinion, precisely because they exemplify a wide range of sexual orientations, which include lesbian mothers who embrace traditional characteristics of femininity, lesbian queer theorists, gay men, and bisexual women. The sexuality of most characters within this novel is in no way static; at times there are characters who feel intense desire and passion towards both sexes even though they can typically be categorized as either straight or gay.
The three main characters of the text all share a similar story and face similar struggles, however, the nature of this struggle changes according to the social conventions of the time in which they manifest. Both characters express a desire to escape from their world, but are unable to do so because of the people who surround them.
Time also plays a role in terms of how the characters cope with their sexual urges and romantic desires. Both Virginia Woolf and Laura Brown express some degree of desire for the same sex through a kiss: Woolf through a kiss she gave to her sister, and Laura through a kiss to her neighbor who ostensibly is showing signs of imminent illness.
These kisses haunt the characters, mostly because they represent a desire that could not possibly be expressed without the expected social consequences. Whereas Woolf has writing as an outlet for this desire, Laura Brown has little to no way of expressing it, thus fueling her desire to escape from her current condition.
The third main character, Clarissa, has created a home with her partner, Sally, but she is shown to oscillate between happiness towards her current condition and the anguish caused by the certainties and uncertainties of life. What makes Clarissa so appealing as a character is her paradoxical and indecisive nature. One moment, she seems to lament the follies of materiality, the fabricated nature of her home, the investment of money in superficial and useless items. Nonetheless, she invests a lot of time and money in a party to show how much she cares about her friend Richard, who is dying of AIDS.
She embraces and rejects the comforts of materiality. She struggles with her need to please others while sacrificing her own pleasures and needs.
The Hours by Michael Cunningham - PopMatters
She worries about the extent to which others enjoy the gifts she gives without thinking about her own appreciation to the gifts she is given. This sense of hesitation, which involves the struggle of the self with the demands of the outside world, is something that Clarissa shares with both Woolf and Laura. This, in due course, it what I liked most about the novel: it forced me to struggle in terms of interpreting the world through the lens of solipsism or interpreting it as a space where knowledge exists beyond the self.
Do we define ourselves by the roles that other people assign to us? Are the people around us merely projections of our own thoughts and desires? What agency do we really have as individuals? We throw our parties; we abandon our families to live alone in Canada; we struggle to write books that do not change the world, despite our gifts and our unstinting efforts, our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep.
Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.