Essay about Analysis Of ' Mrs. Dalloway And The Hours

Essay about Analysis Of ' Mrs. Dalloway And The Hours

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Postmodern writers retell an original novel by integrating narrative fragmentation, intertextuality, imitation, and self-consciousness into their writing to create a unique novel that extends from an original. An example of an author who has implemented a postmodern form of writing is Michael Cunningham in his novel The Hours. Cunningham retells Woolf 's, Mrs. Dalloway by integrating characters, writing style, and themes from Mrs. Dalloway into that of The Hours. In so doing, Cunningham effectively illustrates a deeper understanding of how a pursuit of perfection leads to feelings of unhappiness and failure in life as demonstrated in the protagonists of Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours.
Mrs. Dalloway 's leading character is Clarissa Dalloway, a housewife who is preparing for a party. Throughout the novel the reader learns of the unhappiness in her life as she contemplates her own death and reflects on moments of the past that are now long gone. In a similar manner, Clarissa Vaughn is a protagonist in The Hours who is also throwing a party later in the evening and she too is reflecting on past events that once made her happy. However, unlike Mrs. Dalloway, The Hours integrates two other protagonists into the novel. One such protagonist is Laura Brown, an unhappy housewife who is reading Mrs. Dalloway and contemplating its deeper meaning. The other protagonist is Virginia Woolf, a mentally ill writer who is in the process of writing Mrs. Dalloway. Through Cunningham 's integration of characters and writing style, the reader learns how each woman strives to create perfection in the instances in which they feel they can control the most. Ultimately, the idealism of perfection leads to feelings of unhappiness and failure in each of their ...


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...m back beforehand. The failure she feels from attempting to host the perfect party is much like Laura 's and creates unhappiness and uneasiness in Clarissa 's life. Clarissa expresses her failure several times as, "Oh dear, it was going to be a failure; a complete failure, " she also follows up such comments as to how unhappy she feels from her feelings of failure (Woolf 167). For instance, she says " Why, after all, did she do these things? Why seek pinnacles and stand drenched in fire? Might it consume her anyhow" (Woolf 167). Both Clarissa and Laura struggle with feelings of failure as each attempts to be perfect. The notion of perfection which is emphasized by Cunningham, suggests that these two women need the events in their domestic life to be perfect as a way to outwardly signal to the world around them that they are happy, even when truthfully they are not.

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