Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A Couple Thoughts on "The Hours"

I wrote a paper last year and in that paper I used some references to this film, The Hours. One of the main ideas I stressed was Virginia Woolf’s use of stream of consciousness and how characters in her prose often reflect her contemplations about the self. She was active in attempting to understand one’s condition. She was often seen as depressed and introverted. Even more, she saw an importance in finding the definition of oneself in relation to others, in relation to community.

This is an important part of the movie. The first scene that stands out as expressing this is with Ms. Brown making the cake for her husband and her friend Kitty coming over. Immediately before the scene, we see Virginia Woolf thinking about her story, Mrs. Dalloway, saying that the woman “is going to kill herself,” over something trivial, basically. The scene then goes to the cake and Mrs. Brown becoming frustrated with how it is turning out. She constantly says “it didn’t work,” even to her friend. She was trying to fix something, trying to show her husband that she loves him. She told her son that they had to make the husband a cake otherwise he wouldn’t know they loved him, which alludes to the relation with community. It is obvious that the husband already loves her, but something like this cake represents more. She can’t make it just like she can’t really fix her feelings of isolation. She can’t express herself and is therefore lonely. This feeling is especially heightened after the conversation with Kitty, her friend who cannot conceive. After a seemingly very emotional conversation and even kiss, Kitty retreats back into a state that seems detached from emotion, especially toward Mrs. Brown. This once again plays into the feelings of isolation that lead Mrs. Brown to move toward suicide, which she does not attempt after all. This brings up another topic of how the characters in the film, Laura Brown and Clarissa, are attached to Virginia Woolf. Their experiences mirror the experiences of Woolf’s fictitious characters, and those characters often reflect the contemplations of Woolf herself, as was mentioned at the beginning of this. In these terms, Laura and Clarissa are outward realizations of Woolf’s interior psyche.

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