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The Hours 《時時刻刻》. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941). Virginia Woolf was born in England in 1882, and died early during World War II.

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The Hours 《時時刻刻》

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The hours

The Hours 《時時刻刻》


The hours

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

  • Virginia Woolf was born in England in 1882, and died early during World War II.

  • T. S. Eliot said while she lived she was the center of literary life in London; she wrote essays and novels and book reviews. She was married to a publisher, Leonard Woolf, and she was related to a group of people who were rigorously intellectual and who sought a world that was more humane. To them, known as The Bloomsbury Group, as to us, that meant a world that was accepting of differences.


Virginia woolf and feminist movement

Virginia Woolf and Feminist Movement

  • Virginia Woolf’s impact on western civilization was to reinvigorate the Feminist Movement. Women in England got the vote in 1920, and with that big achievement, the movement became quiet. Woolf delivered her lectures to women in college in 1929. She pointed out the other achievements that were attained in her lifetime: two colleges for women; a married woman’s right to possess her own property; the vote; and in the last ten years the opening of most professions.


Women as an inferior sex

Women as An Inferior Sex?

  • Nonetheless, there was outright discrimination against women as an inferior sex, and Woolf herself was kept out of the library at Cambridge. The reading about the contrast between the meal at the rich men’s college and the sparse meal at the poor women’s college led her to ask why women are poor. She answers her question by saying because they have children, and often a lot of children, and even to earn money was impossible, and they have been denied control of their own wealth which was controlled only by husbands or fathers.


Woolf s response

Woolf ‘s Response

  • Virginia Woolf does not advocate an angry response to the hostility of men. “If you are always comparing your lot with the lot of men, if you are always thinking how much easier it is for them to earn a living than for you—you will have an enemy within who is always sapping your strength and poisoning your happiness.”


Stream of consciousness

Stream of Consciousness

  • “……to describe the unbroken flow of thought and awareness in the waking mind; it has since been adopted to describe a narrative method in modern fiction. Long passages of introspection, describing in some detail what passes through a character’s mind,…”

  • “… the continuous flow of a character’s mental process, in which sense perceptions mingle with conscious and half-conscious thoughts, memories, expectations, feelings, and random associations.”


Woolf a stylist

Woolf: A Stylist

  • Mrs. Dalloway recounts the thoughts, the doubts, the worries and the feelings of Mrs Dalloway, an upper-class woman in London, as she prepares for the party she will give that day. Actually this more or less summarizes the plot, because in the work of Virginia Woolf there is not much of a plot or a storyline (except for Orlando). Orlando by the way, is an interesting ‘counterpoint’ to Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse and Between the Acts, because it extends over several centuries, whereas the other novels condense time by concentrating on one day, indeed just as Ulysses.


A glimpse of a lifetime

A glimpse of a lifetime

  • Mrs. Dalloway is about only one day in the life of Clarissa, but from it we get a concise glimpse of a lifetime.

    Excerpt from Mrs. Dalloway

  • “She felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged. She sliced like a knife through everything; at the same time was outside, looking on. She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day” (11).


The movie summary

The Movie: Summary

  • The Hours interweaves three stories with remarkable skill: in the 1920s Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) grapples with her inner demons and slowly works on her novel Mrs. Dalloway; in 1949 the pregnant housewife Laura Brown (Julianne Moore) feels her own destructive impulses; and in 2001 book editor Clarissa Vaughn (Meryl Streep)--much like the title character of Woolf's novel--prepares to throw a party, in honor of her dearest friend, a seriously ill poet (Ed Harris), now dying of AIDS .


A modern woman

A Modern Woman

  • In the contemporary segment Clarissa (played with verisimilitude by Streep), a New York editor, attends to her former lover Richard, a brilliant novelist who has taken ten years to write his latest book, about as long as Clarissa has been in a committed relationship with another woman. Richard, who left Clarissa for another man and likes to refer to his ex as Mrs. Dalloway since Clarissa shares many of the attributes of Woolf's eponymous heroine, is now dying of AIDS in his lifeless Manhattan apartment.


The hours and virginia woolf

The Hoursand Virginia Woolf

  • Michael Cunningham intertwines Woolf’s story with those of two more contemporary women.

  • Movie directed by Steven Daldry


Woolf s suicide

Woolf’s Suicide

  • In March of 1941, Woolf left a suicide note behind for her husband and sister before drowning herself in a nearby river. She feared her madness was returning and that she would not be able to continue writing. She wished to spare her loved ones. The time was World War II England; she and Leonard had sworn to commit suicide if the Nazis had invaded.


Virginia s farewell letter to her husband

Virginia's Farewell Letter to Her Husband

  • 'Dearest, I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do. You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer.


Farewell letter

Farewell Letter

  • I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know. You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that - everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer.

  • I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been. V.'


The theme of suicide

The theme of suicide

  • The theme of suicide runs throughout the film like a chronometer marking the hours. Laura contemplates it, Clarissa witnesses it and, in the film's prologue set in 1941, a cognitive Woolf wades into a Sussex river, her pockets stuffed with rocks, and drowns herself.


Kidman as virginia woolf

Kidman as Virginia Woolf

  • Kidman is Virginia Woolf, whom is the key in the plot and a link between the other two characters. As she begins to write Mrs.Dalloway, perhaps her most famous novel, we see events unfolding in a single day in the lives of two other women in different locations and time periods.

  • Images from http://www.oscar.com/nominees/nom_32080.html


Mrs dalloway

Mrs. Dalloway

  • We follow the errands of Mrs. Dalloway as she prepares for an evening party and the nightmarish last day of poor Septimus who is suffering from 'soldier's heart'.

  • Mrs. Dalloway has achieved something beyond the parties, confidences, and gossip.

  • Mrs. Dalloway shows women breaking from age-old male domination, and liking it. Women can be lesbians, for instance, and it's their choice. They might choose to marry a man later, or not, it's their call.


Moore as laura brown

Moore as Laura Brown

  • Pregnant Laura Brown, in a haunting, nearly silent performance by Moore mainly opposite a small boy, is coming to terms with the fact that she is miserable in her marriage to the humble and loving Dan (John C. Reilly). One of her only comforts is reading Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway in the film.


Streep as clarissa vaughn

Streep as Clarissa Vaughn

  • The third woman is Clarissa Vaughn, in a wonderful performance by Streep, whose link to Woolf is that she is actually living the novel Mrs. Dalloway, except in present-day New York.


Three women the hours and virginia woolf

Three Women: The Hoursand Virginia Woolf

  • One gray suburban London morning in 1923, Woolf awakens from a dream that will soon lead to Mrs. Dalloway.

  • In the present, on a beautiful June day in Greenwich Village (New York), 52-year-old Clarissa Vaughan is planning a party for her oldest love, a poet dying of AIDS.

  • And in Los Angeles in 1949, Laura Brown, pregnant and unsettled, does her best to prepare for her husband's birthday, but can't seem to stop reading Woolf.


A hymn to consciousness

A hymn to consciousness

  • These women's lives are linked both by the 1925 novel and by the few precious moments of possibility each keeps returning to.

  • The Hours is a hymn to consciousness and the beauties and losses it perceives. It is also a reminder that, as Cunningham again and again makes us realize, art belongs to far more than just "the world of objects."


Reality and fictional universe

Reality and fictional universe

  • As Cunningham moves between the three women, his transitions are seamless. One early chapter ends with Woolf picking up her pen and composing her first sentence, "Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself." The next begins with Laura rejoicing over that line and the fictional universe she is about to enter. Clarissa's day, on the other hand, is a mirror of Mrs. Dalloway's--with, however, an appropriate degree of modern beveling as Cunningham updates and elaborates his source of inspiration.


Connections

Connections

  • In this story of three women of different eras whose lives connect and parallel each other, we see each of them struggle between despair and meaning. Small moments repeat themselves as the same themes shimmer through the single day we spend with them. We see them wake. We see them prepare for a special occasion and we see them worry about family members who are worrying about them.

  • Like Mrs. Dalloway, all three women get flowers. And, like her, all three share an emotional kiss with another woman. And all three try to find something to hold on to so that they can feel that their lives are worthwhile.


Homosexuality bisexuality

Homosexuality / Bisexuality

  • Since Woolf's book touches on the significance of a same-sex kiss, it follows that Laura, for one, would be party to such a life-altering act. Clarissa's openly gay lifestyle aside, there is, of course, Woolf's own documented bisexuality to contend with — there's a moment in the film in which the author locks lips with her sister (played by Miranda Richardson) a little too persuasively.


Themes of displacement despair and death

Themes of displacement, despair, and death

  • Laura Brown once again struggling with repressed homosexuality in picture-perfect suburbia, and a standard New York melodrama in which characters throw flowers into huge vases without the need to arrange them — and asked us to extract some meaning from the overlaps, the inter-relationships.

  • the movie has tense and sad situations, including two suicides and one near-suicide. A character speaks of having to have a serious operation.

  • Characters areanguished and isolated.


Clarissa s never give in spirit

Clarissa’s “never give-in” spirit

  • Clarissa knows that her desire to give her friend the perfect party may seem trivial to many. Yet it seems better to her than shutting down in the face of disaster and despair.


Women s lives

Women’s lives

  • Clarissa is to eventually realize:

    There's just this for consolation: an hour here or there when our lives seem, against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined.... Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more.


The hours

http://www.merylstreeponline.net/msoth.html

21世紀的自主女性


The hours

探索女性的內心掙扎

  • 導演Steven Daldry表示:「這部劇本最吸引我的地方是讓我有機會探索三個女人在一天內的生活,對我來說,她們每一分每一秒的心路歷程都充滿勇氣,我經常想女性在日常生活中的付出,通常都被男人外在的豐功偉業掩蓋,但是這些女性的內心掙扎卻同樣深遠偉大。所以這部片其實是在探索二十世紀女性所面對的困難選擇,對蘿拉、克勞麗絲和吳爾芙來說,這些選擇是真的能決定死亡或是歌頌生命。」


The hours

Photograph by Lenare

19 29

1927Photograph by Man Ray


The hours

「就算是要活短短的一天,都是非常非常危險的事。」

"It is so dangerous," she thinks, "to live for only one day."

1939Photograph by Giselle Freund


Questions

Questions

  • Families who see this movie should talk about what this means, and how most of us are defined and define ourselves not by huge heroic adventures but by small connections and kindnesses.

  • What did Virginia, Laura, and Clarissa find to give value and meaning to their lives? They have people to love and people who love them - what are they missing, and why?


Questions1

Questions

  • What is the significance of those three kisses, none of which seems to give the characters the comfort and intimacy they are seeking?

  • Why does Cunningham give us three stories touched by the fictional character created by Woolf?

  • Do you think that any of his characters are successful? How can you tell?

  • What book could inspire you as Cunningham was inspired by Woolf?


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