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Adaptations Of Virginia Wolfe Essay

3304 words - 13 pages

In approaching a topic such as adaptations, one has to first understand what exactly adaptation means and how it is applied to such works to get the product the "adapter" is trying to create and for what reasons they are "adapting" for. The American Heritage Dictionary defines Adaptation as the following:

"1(a). The act for process of adapting. 1(b). The state of being adapted.

2. A composition recast into a new form: "The play is an adaptation of a short novel."

3. An alteration or adjustment by which a species or individual improves its condition in relationship to its environment. (10)"

The definition that we'll be looking at closely is the second one; "a composition recast into a new form." The novels, The Hours, Mrs. Dalloway, and the film The Hours are three "compositions" that were recast by their creators in order to explore a different area from those mediums. Virginia Woolf, Michael Cunningham and Stephen Daldry all focused on the condition of depression and how it affects a woman and what that woman goes through while trying to live a life of "normalcy." Cunningham and Daldry adapted their pieces from Woolf's, Mrs. Dalloway not only because it was a work by Virginia Woolf, but because it was a story that could be told from many point of views, universally, and timelessly; one could say that Cunningham and Daldry transcended generations with their characters thanks to Woolf's novel. Though all of the pieces are strikingly different in the way they are presented, one thing remains true to all of them: All of the characters were trying to make sense of their lives while coping with their depression.

Mrs. Dalloway is a drama based on the psychological condition of Clarissa Dalloway, taking place in one day in the summer of 1923. The day takes place five years after World War I was over, and that is important because it helps place the characters emotional states. Woolf takes the reader on a psychological roller coaster with flashbacks to Mrs. Dalloway's' life, specifically her teen-age to college years. She shows us all of the decisions Dalloway had to make and how those decisions had shaped her life. Clarissa Dalloway had chosen a life that would be safe for her, by marrying well and having a child, by living the proper political life. Throughout the novel, Clarissa thinks back onto how she could have had a life of sexual freedom and excitement with Richard, her ex-lover from her college years. Of course this is all put into play by the arrival of him from India, because she hadn't seen him in a very long time. All of these occurrences and flashbacks just add to Clarissa's growing-depression that she barely is able to hold onto in the story. The most interesting and most significant aspect of Mrs. Dalloway is that it takes place in one day, which is what Cunningham and Daldry built their book and movie off of. The idea of telling a story of a woman's thoughts in one day is an amazing...

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