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Analysis on the novel “The Hours”

1) The Hours, based on the novel written by Michael Cunningham, is more than a biographical movie about Virginia Woolf. How can you discribe the importance and co- relation between the three female main characters: Virginia, Laura Brown and Clarissa Vaughan?

The novel is essentially about women. Women from different periods, of different ages, and oddly the same in various aspects. We get to know women that apparently lead perfect lives, considering the external aspect, and all of them come to a moment in their lives when they stumble upon the superficiality of their days and face their disturbed inner selves. The fates of the three characters cross because of the fact that Laura is reading exactly the book Virginia wrote, while Clarissa Vaughan appears to be a kind of living breathing Clarissa Dalloway.

2) It is known that the movie tells a lot about the feminine universe in its various aspects. How were men inserted in this universe? What feelings could they represent in the movie?

Men were shown as elements that were on the verge of the story, but, at the same time, they were essential to the development of the plot, as well as remarkable influences to the states the women are in in the movie. That is, though their presence in the lives of the three characters is of great importance for us to understand what theyre going through, they always seem to be kind of unaware of what great tempests are occurring in the womens heads.

3) Relationship between women is also largely explored in the movie, as well as in the writings of Virginia Woolf. Considering that the movie is based on a literary book and is full of metaphors, what could the three kisses highlighted in the film mean, beyond the images shown (the kisses between female characters)?

As the film tells a lot about the feminine universe, the fact that they highlighted these three specific kisses between the main characters could be an attempt to show another way through which different feminine universes can interact, and they didnt necessarily mean sexual involvement. The first kiss, for instance, between Laura and Kitty, could be easily taken as a statement that the former was in love with her female friend. That could really be the case, but the metaphorical nature of the movie can also provide us with other interpretations when were willing to dig deeper. Laura led a life of devotion to her husband and she wanted to play the role of a perfect housewife, when all that was not her essence, really. She loved books, and was reading Mrs. Dalloway at that time. So, what we can infer is that she could be wanting to feel the same freedom and ecstasy Clarissa Dalloway felt when she kissed Sally during a moment of privacy.

Maybe that was a way of escaping her dull life for some moments as well. As for Virginias kiss on Vanessa Bell, it is known that Virginia was going through a hard time living in Richmond. She loved London, but she couldnt stay there any longer, because of her mental disturbance. It made her suffer a lot. So, when her sister came to visit her from London, it was like a part of the city was there next to her. The city she loved the most. Then, when it was time for Vanessa to leave, Virginia kissed her as if she wanted to feel a last taste of London. Clarissa Vaughan and Sally, on the other hand, were really romantically involved. But the kiss between them also meant that Vaughan was, after that hard day, finally deciding to live her life fully. It was like a sigh of relief for getting, finally, her freedom from the mental imprisonment Richard represented.

4) Define the relationship between Virginia and Leonard compared to the usual relationship between married couples.

Virginia and Leonard had an unusual kind of relationship. It is known that Virginia was, in reality, interested in women, and even had a relationship with her friend Vita Sackville. So, Virginia and Leonards marriage basically involved a lot of respect and friendship between them. They loved each other, and were happy together, as Virginia points out in her farewell note to him. But that relationship was unlike the others either at that time or at the present time.

5) In what ways Richards death contributed with Virginias history?

The connection I see between Virginia and Richard is that Richard was inspired by a character which was present in her book Mrs. Dalloway Mr. Warren Smith. This character seemed to be a portrayal of Virginias own condition, because he was considered mentally ill and a doctor advised him to spend some time in a quiet and peaceful place (Virginia herself was confined in Richmond while she was writing Mrs. Dalloway). At some point of the book, Smith commits suicide. I believe Virginia put a lot of her own feelings upon her character Smith. Coincidently or not, she also killed herself some years later.

6) Two very wise college students wrote: Writing was Virginias great passion. It was her gift and while she was living outside London, she held on this even more, and shut herself into her writing… A) How would you define Virginias own world?

Virginias own world, in my opinion, was a reality in which there was a lot of abstract thinking and minucious analysis of small and apparently unimportant events of daily life. She seemed as if she was always questioning human behavior, and she transmitted a lot of her private world through her writing, with an intermittent river of metaphors and impressions and abstract visual narrative sequences (flow of consciousness).

B) In what ways does her life differ from most of womens lives nowadays?

Her life differs from womens life nowadays firstly, of course, because of the difference of epochs. Then we have all the individual way of life. Virginia was a relatively wealthy woman that could take her time to observe the world and do her writing. She didnt have kids and had an unusual relationship of pure respect with her husband Leonard. Nowadays this is not frequently seen. There is an urge for immediatism, and women seem lo live a much more accelerated style of life. Some other dream of having kids and finding her charming prince In short, there are various aspects that we could consider while doing this comparison.

7) What kind of contrasts and similarities could you write about Clarissa Vaughan and Clarissa Dalloway? How does Richard join them?

Clarissa Vaughan was clearly inspired by Virginias Clarissa Dalloway. Both are women who are involved with the arrangements of a party they are going to give at the end of the day and come to face all the non-solved aspects of their lives during this day. But Vaughan is a modern version of Dalloway: moves in a faster pace, talks on the phone all the time, differently from Dalloway, who, at the very first scene of the book, stops at the street a couple of times to talk to some acquaintances. But the feelings inside them seem to be the same.

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