The Hours – Time To Promise The Everlasting Happiness


The Hours – Time To Promise The Everlasting Happiness - Wisdom's Webzine

The Hours (1998)
Book by Michael Cunningham


The Hours won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize. It depicts the delicately-tangled lives of three ladies from different generations and their destinies. It is a story of one day in their lives. The three ladies are as follows; a writer Virginia Woolf writing Mrs. Dalloway in 1923, Laura Brown reading Mrs. Dalloway in 1949, and Clarissa Vaughan, who calls herself Mrs. Dalloway and prepares a party for her former lover in 2001.

It is 1923 in Richmond, England. Virginia has been suffering from mental illness since her youth. She finds inspiration as she plans her book, Mrs. Dalloway. In 1949 in California, a housewife Laura is waiting for delivery of her second child. As she reads Mrs. Dalloway, she experiences conflict about her present life. Finally in 2001 in New York, Clarissa, who calls herself Mrs. Dalloway, spends busy days planning a celebration party for her former lover Richard, who is dying of AIDS, as he has received a literary award. She looks back on the time that she believes was happiness that would last forever yet it was only momentary.

All of the three ladies discover the beauty of insignificance during their one day. They feel tranquility while looking at a nephew playing around or while looking at a dead little bird. They are constantly reminded of how they are satisfied with their present life by recalling their loved ones of past and present and reminiscing the happy moments of their lives.

Within an ordinary day that seems not so different from any other day, many things are projected: the pain in life that has been stained in mind, a yearning for never-filled happiness, dim recollection of passing moments, desires to escape from the present, and searching for comfort from the present.

Despite their endless questions and pain, the real self and the real happiness that they struggle to find have not even been realized in the end. However, their unwavering yearning for life triggers our sympathy and touches our heart.

What they have been missing and wishing for is their origin. The reader is no different. What he has been looking for so far is the real self; our origin. Human is unaware that the pain of life without cure would continue on forever as generations pass, even after they physically cease to exist.

The necessary requirement to find the true self, life and happiness, is to know our original self, our starting point, as well as our destination. Before yearning for and pursuing something with endless questions and worries, we must find our origin by emptying out and throwing away the “self” and the “self” who has been living in such a way. By returning to the original mind – pure mind with no pain or burden whatsoever, we would be able to find the true self that the three ladies have been searching for to the end. In that original state, everlasting happiness will be waiting for us.

We can’t end everything with yearning and curiosity about life; rather, we have to find the solution for that and live as the real self. Our days, our time must be spent finding our true self and realizing the never-changing happiness.