Cunningham's The Hours: The Mind of Virginia Wolf

1950 Words8 Pages
While writing a fiction novel, I would think that the writer would have to dig deep into their mind and into their heart in order for them to convey realistic emotions through their characters. This process could almost be related to hypnosis where the writer relies on his or her inner thoughts and feelings to effectively add depth to their novel's fictitious characters. In the novel Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf used a technique called stream-of-consciousness in which she attempted to write the novel in the same patterns as her brain's thought process. In doing this, Woolf gave birth to a piece of art that contained some of her deepest emotions and desires. Her novel has such a prolific substance that I do not believe that the work could be redone or adapted to any other forum of art, even through the magic of the silver screen. I must compliment Michael Cunningham in his loose adaptation of the Mrs. Dalloway story and the historical revisiting of Virginia Woolf in his novel The Hours. The many adaptations that had to occur in order to capture the very substance of Mrs. Dalloway are the subjects of this work; From the actors and directors in the film The Hours to the writings of Cunningham's adaptation of Mrs. Dalloway in The Hours, and finally to the source of it all - the mind of Virginia Woolf.

"Many people, including Michael Cunningham, didn't think the novel could be turned into a movie" (Ansen 21). The process of writing a screen play to ultimately accomplish the essence of a novel such as The Hours can be quite a challenge. A novel, as a piece of literature, contains inner thoughts and feelings that are felt by the characters of the novel. A work of literature also may consist of an array of emotional tones and characteristics that can only be portrayed in a piece of literature. For example, David Hare, the screenwriter for the film version of The Hours, felt that "the biggest challenge in creating the film was to convey what the three heroines were thinking without resorting to voice-overs" (Ansen 21). Eventually, the pair of Hare and director Stephen Daltry found a way to solve this problem. The film incorporates different transitional devices to keep up with the different actions of the three heroines whose stories are told simultaneously through different time periods.
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