• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

An Abstract View of Death - as seen in Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours.

Extracts from this document...


An Abstract View of Death Lisa Crain HUM 107W January 28, 2005 In Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours contradictory and almost altered views of death are presented. Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham portray death as escape for some, but an entrapment for others. It is no longer treated as a subject to worry about or fear, which society now views it as. A line from Shakespeare's Cymbeline, "Fear no more the heat o' the sun / Nor the furious winter rages," sums up what the authors of Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours are trying to convey. Meaning that death is not something to fear, and life should be lived to the fullest. The thought of death streamlines through several character's narratives in both novels. In Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith are haunted with thoughts of death, while in The Hours, Richard Brown and Laura Brown also share similar thoughts. Their feelings on the subject are, however, different. It can also be said that their motives for dying or wanting to die are also quite different. The characters' thoughts, feelings, and reasons of death bring about parallel relationships between the two novels. Septimus Warren Smith, in my opinion, parallels Richard Brown. ...read more.


By dying before he was seen at the award ceremony, the last image that his peers have of him was from his best days of life. Richard describes it the best when talking about a vision he had of the ceremony. "'Being proud and brave in front of everyone. I recall it vividly. There I am, a sick, crazy wreck reaching out with trembling hands to receive his little trophy'" (Cunningham 62). Another parallel between the two novels is that of Clarissa Dalloway and Laura Brown. Their similarity is a sense of entrapment, which leads to thoughts of death. Clarissa Dalloway is a 1920's housewife. It is a time where a women's role was inside the home. Clarissa spent her days reading memoirs and trying to get her servants to like her. Her life was restricted to a very set routine. Even her marriage was routine and void of passion. "She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible, unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa and more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway" (Woolf 11). ...read more.


Clarissa realizes that live isn't worth living unless you are passionate and fulfilled when she hears of Septimus' suicide. "But this young man who had killed himself - had he plunged holding his treasure? 'If it were now to die, 'twere now to be most happy,' she had said to herself once, coming down in white" (Woolf 184). It's Septimus' suicide that makes Clarissa realize that life is too short to be scared and unhappy. In these cases, death was used as a way of awakening thoughts of happiness and love in both women's lives. Death becomes multifaceted through the analysis of these novels. The authors of Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours have created new definitions of what it means to die. Septimus uses death for relief, escape, and conservation. Richard also uses death as conservation, but also revenge on his estranged mother Laura. Clarissa sees Septimus' death as an awakening and a chance to start over. Laura however uses death as an alternative to running away from it all. Death is no longer just the ending to a life. It's a mean of preservation, escape, and awakening. "Death was defiance. Death was an attempt to communicate; people feeling the impossibility of reaching the centre which, mystically, evaded them; closeness drew apart; rapture faded, one was alone. There was an embrace in death" (Woolf 184). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE War Poetry essays

  1. Socrates believed that right insight leads to right action, this means that our judgment ...

    Rather than, I first look into their real self, if they have good hearts, then, no problem. I can relate Arristipus' Epicureanism in my life. Though I may contradict a lot of their belief, I would just like to point out some of the things the Epicurus believed that I too do.


    (L 179) These letters reveal a pleasure in the "soft" spring of the South, and in the "elegance" and "grandeur" of the great plantation of Mount Vernon. "We have had many pleasant times, " Dickinson told Mrs. Holland, "and seen much that is fair, and heard much that is wonderful

  1. "The Lottery" - Write a new ending for the story.

    "The lottery was a tradition practiced here in the origin Cleveland whereby decades ago stretched acres and acres of golden wheat farmland. Life was prosperous and harvests were abundant for many years. Till one day when one woman was innocently accused of burning a large piece of the crop and was sentenced to death the next day.

  2. Doors and Windows as Symbols of Character Thoughts and Relationships in Dom Casmurro and ...

    We can see these changes occur in several short excerpts concerning doors and windows. From the beginning of Bento's recollections, the strong affections between Capitu and himself are evident. Arguably the most effective symbol of their relationship is a small door that connects both their homes when they are young.

  1. Discuss the way in which death is presented in metaphysical poetry

    Henry Vaughan's somewhat over optimistic view of death in 'They are all gone into the world of light' is contrasted with Donne's 'The Apparition', in which he uses death as a threat. 'The Apparition' is a poem which is far from pleasant.

  2. Integration of Life and Death - Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours

    Clarissa Dalloway is a women living in the time when a women's primary role was that of a housewife. Clarissa spent her days reading memoirs and trying to get her servants to like her. Her life was restricted to a very set routine.

  1. Poetry analysis 'Morte D'Arthur'

    In this prison and in the prison of his own life now with the loss of his family the only escape possible seemed to be death. In the other poem death was not something longed for but something forced upon him.

  2. In her short story

    The narrator shows that he is genuinely sorry and ashamed of how he treated his stepbrother by saying 'my poor orphan, step brother.' He is encouraging us as readers to feel sorry for Gregory. Aunt Fanny and Preston interpret his 'silent and quiet' behaviour as being 'sulky' and 'stupid'.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work