Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn
(November 6, 1952 –
Apollo: See Rainer Maria Rilke's poem
Torso Apollos") and English translation ("Torso of an Archaic
Mrs. Dalloway Walk in London
Consider the different loves in the novel (love of a city, a
time, a person, an activity, etc.). Who loves what and how does that
Examine parallels in the story--parallels in images, plot
lines (ex. the kisses/embraces), language, issues, characters (ex.
Is Clarissa Louis's Kitty?), desire for or contemplation of death.
What do you think the echoes between the three women's stories
serve? Do the parallels emphasize the commonality between the three
women or highlight their differences?
What issues of identity are raised and are they resolved? Laura
Brown, for example, has frequent moments of "unbeing. There is
no other word for it. Standing beside her ticking car, facing Mrs.
Latch's garage..., she is no one; she is nothing. It seems, briefly,
that by going to the hotel she has slipped out of her life, and this
driveway, this garage, are utterly strange to her" (180). How
might this be explained by her identity as Laura Zielski? What it
mean when Clarissa denies "That isn't me...It's Richard's
fantasy about some woman who vaguely resembles me" (129)? Why
must one look for "some sort of Richardness" (131)?
multiple selves: cf. "second self" 34; "Laura Brown is trying
to lose herself" 37; "One more page, to calm and locate
herself" 38; eighteen year old self; "Laura Zielski, the solitary
girl, the incessant reader, is gone, and here in her place is Laura
Brown" 40; also you might want to consider names and mistaken or shared identity (renamed; "he
and some poor boy from Arcadia had had the same name" 39)
Knowingness: Clarissa is often described as a knowing person
(130), yet we see her fretting: "Why does her daughter tell her
so little?" (21). Likewise, we see her at a loss with Laura
Brown, just as Laura Brown finds Richie inscrutable. How does this
web of knowingness inform characters' relationships with each other?
or lack thereof: Do you agree with Clarissa that there are all these
"vivid, pointless moments that can't be told as stories"
(132)? If narrative disallows the telling of such precious moments,
how has The Hours managed to convey them?
What is the function of obsessive and seemingly trivial details
given throughout the story? Ex. "He taps his foot on the
carpet, three times" (133), "He stands and walks to the
French doors (seven steps)" (135), "walks down the dim
hallway (twenty-three steps)" (138)?
What is the affinity between physical and mental illness in the
novel? Are they treated differently? Consider how characters tread
the fine line between sanity and insanity. Laura Brown asks herself,
"Is this what it's like to go crazy?" (142). How is mental
life externalized? How can one be mindful of losing one's
of art: Consider the presence and role of art in the novel. What
is involved in the creative process? How does Cunningham portray the
act of writing?
intratextuality: What other media or art is referred to in
this novel? What motifs do you find within the novel? How do these
recur throughout the text?
modern journal Blast; Wyndham Lewis's temporary but affecting
Vaughn (10), Mrs. Dalloway (10),
52 years old (10); a publisher ("the good, flagrantly unprofitable books
Clarissa insists on publishing alongside the pulpier items that pay her
lives on the 5th floor of a building on West Tenth Street in New York City? (10,
husband of Laura Brown; war veteran
"down the street" from the Browns (141)
husband of Virginia Woolf
Worthington Brown –
poet ("three volumes of poetry and...single, unreadable novel" 22);
son of Laura and Dan Brown
Woolf (nee Stephen) –
June 1923 (29)
East Sussex, March 28, 1941 (3)
Angeles, 1949, "well past seven" (37)
New York City,
morning in June, late 1990s (9)
Michael. The Hours. London:
Fourth Estate, 1998.
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updated September 17, 2009