Monday, October 17, 2011
What’s an Hour, Then Another?
Michael Cunningham recounts the intersecting lives of three women: Virginia Woolf, Laura Brown, and Clarissa Vaughn. Virginia Woolf is in the process of writing Mrs. Dalloway while suffering from mental illness in the suburbs of London. Laura Brown, an avid reader of Mrs. Dalloway, is a conventional housewife in the 1950's who is typecast, plays a perfect role, but is nevertheless stifled by space and time. Clarissa Vaughn, also known as Mrs. Dalloway, is the ex-lover and best friend of Richard Brown, the son of Laura Brown. Her purpose in life is askew, and she only has the hours a billow to keep her afloat.
Yet, despite the simple practicality of time, the hours play an overtly significant role in each woman’s life. One woman is constrained by time, another is restrained by it, another is upheld by it. In the end, each woman’s story collectively entangles with plot and time while Cunningham leaves us readers with the following quote: “We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep--it’s as simple and ordinary as that…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…we hope, more than anything, for more.”
We all have different destinations, goals, dreams. Yet, if we can count on anything, we cannot deny the fact that the second turns into the minute, and the minute into the hour. Time is ubiquitous; it is everywhere. We cannot bend or conform to it like a malleable spoon or a rubber-band. Time can be a novelty, a scapegoat, a medium for action or even lethargy. Still, as sure as the coming of the next second, another thing is also sure: time is neither our friend nor is it our foe.
- Kerri Byam
Image Source: http://www.michaelcunninghamwriter.com/files/the_hours.jpg