Analysis of Book

Cunningham’s The Hours focuses on the collective consciousness and how it plays in to writing stories. In his novel he explores the lives of three women in different decades, all of who are writers exploring the the inside of mental stream of consciousness. From the beginning, in the prologue about Woolf’s suicide, it is crafted in a way that shows how the the evaluation of the world remains even at her death, her evaluation of the scenery described by Cunningham. The novel is based heavily on Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, who is Clarissa. The back and forth between time frames, from Clarissa to Brown to Woolf, shows the connection and influence that writers have on each other but more importantly the similarity between writer’s inner workings. Since the novel is based on Woolf’s life and novel, there is a heavy homosexual influence wiith the women, furthering the connection that the three women have with each other despite the time difference. Since the novel focused so heavily on AIDs and the fatality of it in the time periods, the meaning and quickness of life is also explored through the women’s minds.

Analysis of Movie

The film is heavily based on death and homosexuality, prevalent among the three eras played by the three different actresses,  and how they struggle to express their inner thoguhts on those two subjects when they are being suppressed. It is then the exploration of the inner conscience and stream of thought, and how writers and people in general verbalize inwardly events going on. The jumping around in time frames triggers the audience to connect the three lives together and see how death and homosexuality transcend through the decades. By following the three women’s lives, we can see the developmental psyche in which suicide can be thought of at any moment and prompted by random events.

Analysis of Adaptation

The main focus of the adaptation of the film to the novel was the constant exploration of the stream of consciousness and the inner workings of the mind. Whaat it deviated the most in was the focus on homosexuality and the repercussions of it, the fact that it doesn’t end fatally, or at least the worry of death is not as haunting as it was in the novel, perhaps because of the medical advancements of current day medicine. The focus then is moved to how the people interpret with words death and daily life, of love, and how words are used as a tool for freedom. The actresses and actors reflected the tone of the novel, a serious tone, very well. Cinematography did capture scenes that showed a strream of consciousness still flowing.

Online research


In this interview with Moore, author of   and a psychiatrist, he responds to questions probing at the theme of death, both literal and symbolic, responding mostly based on the thought that we all live a ddead life because of the fear of what vitality life has to offer, or can offer. He is intrigued by Laura Brown’s retreat from her too clean and organized life, by her seeking life and death. He talks of the American “dream” and way of life, in which everything is arleady dead- dead fast food, dead boring job, deadening children’s innate abilities by suppressing them through school, and talks of how closely related life and death are, in the aforementioned examples and in Woolf’s suicide. He points out that she stepped in to a stream, water, the giver of life, and how by that hand she died.


Horvat explores ways in which The Hours is a celebration of life and death and howt he closeness of life and death exists everywhere, constantly, even in non-morbid ways.


Meryl Streep participates in an interview with incredibly deep responses, centering on the idea that these demanding and well-off people who have high expectations of life ask for more and more, which ends up in not having enough and a constant analyzation of life itself that leads to suicide and/or a search for life.

Critical analysis

The following is a question posed by Gabrielle Wenig in her review of The Hours: “What happens when a film about women tries to force us to the conclusion that the thinking woman, or the sensitive woman, or the creative woman’s only or best choice is death?” What is your answer to this question in regards to The Hours and how is this a problem?

This question reminds me of Kate Chopin’s The Awakening in which Edna supposedly drowns herself at the end, like Woolf and like the suicides occuring in the movie. This message seems to criticize the view that women can either die, or be trapped in a marriage to have a “complete” life. Much like Chopin’s book, in which Edna is married but refuses to be identified by her marriage and children and husband, drowns as an alternative. The women in the film, similiarly, ended their lives in order to escape from a norm and suppression and depression caused by love lives. It could be seen as a problem since there is not one but three women being explored, so the quantity, like great amounts of empirical data, seems to speak more to the moridibity of a woman’s existence. However, as aforementioned,  it could work to the advantage of women. These women, creative women, who feel too much who think too much who are imprisoned because of their intellect are suppressed by society. Hence, the movie can be taken as a message to society to free them.