Mrs Dalloway & The Hours Essay

1651 words - 7 pages

“The external situation shapes the experience of the inner life”. –How have similar ideas about the importance of the inner life been represented in different contexts in Mrs Dalloway and The Hours?

“The external situation shapes the experience of the inner life”. –How have similar ideas about the importance of the inner life been represented in different contexts in Mrs Dalloway and The Hours?

An individual’s experience of both internal and external life is shaped by our surroundings, the physical environment and our human relationships. Mrs Dalloway, a novel by Virginia Woolf explores the life of a women in one day, the audience is able to see what she is doing, what she feels and ...view middle of the document...

In this modernist era Clarissa is defined by her husband “not even Clarissa any more, this being Mrs Richard Dalloway”. Interior monologue is used by Woolf as Clarissa reflects on her own identity “Every time she gave a party she had this feeling of being something not herself, and that everyone was unreal in one way; much more real in another.” Miss Kilman, the tutor of the Dalloway’s daughter Elizabeth was always somewhat jealous of Clarissa’s relationship with her daughter, although as she could see right through her exterior persona. Miss Kilman says “And there rose in her an overwhelming desire to overcome her, to unmask her”, indicating her belief that Clarissa is superficial and fake. Being of high social status definitely affects Clarissa’s true identity amongst other things as she aims to impress those with the same social standing as her. Similarly a number of characters in the Hours struggle to balance their internal and external life to achieve true happiness. Laura Brown is supposedly living the “American Dream” however we soon discover she is anything but satisfied in her role as mother and housewife. Stephen Daldry uses cinematic techniques of postmodern pastiche and facial expressions to highlight Laura’s true emotions. A high angle shot shown of Laura in an empty hotel room on the day she was planning to commit suicide portrays her as small, weak and vulnerable. She asks “not to be disturbed” as she contemplates her choice, cross cutting displays her reflection back to the birthday cake and the family she was leaving behind. Ultimately she decides that she is unable to go through with it and instead runs away after the birth of her second child. Laura is one of the few characters in either the book or film who truly decides for themselves what they really want and goes through with it. Kitty, a friend of Laura’s puts on a brave face for society and breaks down behind closed doors. She strongly believes many of the expectations and stereotypes of this society in the 1920s. “You’re lucky Laura, I don't think you can call yourself a women until you're a mother” Kitty says as she is unable to get pregnant. Kitty does not give her own inner self a thought most of the time and puts on a social mask for those around her. Laura and Kitty share a passionate kiss which Kitty is quick to deny as she says “of course everything is alright”. Ultimately, an individual has a choice between being who they truly want to be both inside and out or putting on a social mask for the world. This choice determines an individual’s state of mind, overall happiness and capability to cope within the context of their life.
Sensitivity to nature, people and experiences is reflected

ones sensitivity to nature and people.
Sensitivity to people, experience and nature
Clock- motif of time, often used as a linking device
Flowers and nature- motif

This perspective of Woolf is seen in her characterization of Septimus; a man, though a soldier, but...

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