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

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

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Lisa E. Crain Professor Fesmire Humanities 107W 3 February 2005 Integration of Life and Death Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours show that life and death are dependent on each other. It is a person's life experiences that define their thoughts and feelings on death and death can define their life experiences. Cunningham, the author of The Hours, explains it best: We live our lives, do whatever we do and then we sleep - its as simple and ordinary as that. A few jump out of windows or drown themselves or take pills; more die by accident; and most of us, the vast majority, are slowly devoured by some disease or, if we're very fortunate, by time itself. There's just this for consolation: and hour here or there when our lives seem against all odds and expectations, to burst open and give us everything we've ever imagined, though everyone but children (and perhaps even they) knows these hours will inevitably be followed by others, far darker and more difficult. Still, we cherish the city, the morning; we hope, more than anything, for more. (Cunningham 225) Both authors use different characters' perspectives to show different vantage points of life and death and how one affects the other. Woolf uses Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Smith, from Mrs. Dalloway, to illustrate her view on life and death. ...read more.

Middle

At the time of his death, Septimus was having a breakthrough in his illness. He and his wife were enjoying some time together in between moments of insanity. When he heard the doctors approaching, Septimus realized that his insanity would return. "It was their idea of tragedy, not his or Rezia's (for she was with him)...But would he wait till the very last moment. He did not want to die. Life was good. The sun hot" (Woolf 149). By throwing himself out the window, he relieved himself and Rezia while preserving the good memories they had created together. Laura Brown, a main character in The Hours had a similar role in society as Clarissa, but different views on how to live her life. She is a housewife in the late 1940's, and like Clarissa, Laura doesn't have a job outside of being a mother and a wife. Also similar to Clarissa, she married her husband for really no reason except that it was the socially acceptable thing to do. "What could she say but yes? How could she deny a handsome, good-hearted boy, practically a member of the family, who had come back from the dead?" (Cunningham 40). Laura spent her time taking care of her son Richie, while secretly wishing she could spend her time reading novels. Motherly intuitions never came naturally to her, which made her feel uncomfortable around her own family. ...read more.

Conclusion

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). It is clear through these novels that life and death affect each other. Life and death have become almost identical. Living without passion, such in Clarissa and Laura's case, can be viewed as its own form of death even though they are fully alive. How the women react to that realization is how they would react to death. Richard and Septimus are both lovers of life; therefore they use their suicides as a form of preservation to their life. So, even in death, their life is upheld. Their suicides then tie back into Clarissa and Laura who use them as an awakening to how they have been living their lives. Life and death are integrated so tightly throughout these novels that the reader understands the significance of both. Life dictates death and death affects how life is lived. A line from Shakespeare's Cymbeline, "Fear no more the heat o' the sun / Nor the furious winter rages," sums up the message conveyed by Virginia Woolf and Michael Cunningham. Since life and death are so closely related, death is not something to fear and life should be lived to the fullest. ...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. An Abstract View of Death - as seen in Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours.

    He hears voices and suffers from flashbacks. In the morning while in Regent's Park, Septimus hears the voice of Evans, a friend of his who died during the war, "He sang. Evans answered from behind the tree. The dead were in Thessaly, Evans sang, among the orchids.

  2. Dickinson's BECAUSE I COULD NOT STOP FOR DEATH

    pathway till we reached the tomb of General George Washington, how we paused beside it, and no one spoke a word, then hand in hand, walked on again, not less wise or sad for that marble story; how we went within the door - raised the latch he lifted when

  1. Describe and explain the main evidence given by a believer to prove that there ...

    If people have had earlier lives, then there is a belief that memories of these past lives ought to reside in the subconscious. For example; descriptions of past lives are given, which can be partly confirmed by historical facts. People, especially children, who claim memories of former lives, give these descriptions.

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

    Through the fact that there is no lock or latch, the author conveys the unabashed confidence in each other between the two children. Whilst mentioning how the door is capable of opening from both sides emphasizes that the affection is mutual.

  1. Death in Duke Street

    He feels awkward at being in the centre of the attention and wonders what say to the old man.

  2. Critics have spent entire books interpreting Gray's

    He makes four arguments. First, the goals of the great, which include aristocratic lineage, beauty, power, wealth, and glory, share the same end as the "rude forefathers," the grave. Human achievements diminish from the viewpoint of the eternal. The monuments that Memory erects for them ("storied urn or animated bust"),

  1. Did The Owenite Movement offer women a 'New Moral World'?

    Barbara Taylor. Virago Press (1983). Were advocates of contraception in order to free women from repeated pregnancies? Other Owenites looked upon contraception as a means of giving women the freedom to express their sexuality as individuals. This proved to be controversial in the communities as some women saw this as

  2. All Souls' Morning by Eamon Grennan

    Grenna has an interesting, but affective use of verbs throughout the poem. The light described in the opening lines is described as "citrine light". The intricate use of the word "citrine" again appeals to the senses, conveying a clear indication of exactly what colour, texture and mood the light is.

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