The Hours Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

The Hours Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Mrs Dalloway Allegory

To a certain degree the lives of Virginia, Laura and Clarissa are allegories of the story of Mrs Dalloway; this is most true for Clarissa, who, apart from sharing the same first name as the eponymous character in Virginia's book, was also nicknamed "Mrs Dalloway" by her ex-husband because he could see similarities between the two. In the plot of the book, Clarissa leaves her apartment in the morning to go to buy flowers for a party she is throwing, which is exactly the way in which readers of "Mrs Dalloway" meet Woolf's heroine. Laura, too, is also preparing for a party. The darker side of Mrs Dalloway is also reflected in the characters as they deal with and seriously consider suicide.

Party Motif

One of the book's motifs is the throwing of parties; we meet the original Clarissa (Dalloway) as she is leaving her house to buy flowers for a party she is giving, and we meet Clarissa Vaughn in the same way. She is hosting a farewell party for her ex husband who is dying. Laura is also throwing a party; it is her husband's birthday and the party is smaller, just their young son, but a party nonetheless. There are also smaller parties referenced such as the Lunch party Sally is going to without Clarissa. The throwing of parties is a Motif that links the characters throughout the book.

Suicide Motif

One of the book's key themes is suicide and it is a motif throughout the book as well. Virginia toys with the idea for her fictional creations but is really deliberating about suicide as a possibility for herself. Laura considers suicide but decides she is just not a suicidal person. Clarissa does not consider suicide but is still a victim of it as her ex husband kills himself. Throughout the book the Motif of suicide reminds us of Virginia's mental issues and the effect that they unwittingly have in influencing others.

Birthday Cake Symbol

The unsatisfactory birthday cake is a Symbol of Laura's unsatisfactory life. From the outside appearance the cake is perfect and has everything about it that would seem to indicate that it is perfect; however to Laura it I not perfect at all and needs to be done over again. She makes a second cake. This symbolizes Laura's dissatisfaction with her life which would seem to those looking in to be perfect but to Laura is anything but. The need to make a second cake is symbolic of Laura's desire for a second chance at her life and a fresh start.

Richard's Armchair Symbol

Richard's armchair used to be a useful and attractive piece of furniture but now it is falling apart, declining rapidly and ceasing to be useful for its purpose. It is almost no longer fit to be a chair. This is symbolic of Richard himself who is visibly declining every day and who is a shadow of his former self. The chair symbolized his condition to Clarissa who hates the chair for deteriorating indicating her anger with Richard's physical and mental decline.

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