The Hours Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 42 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Hours.
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Death Wish

Suicide is the central theme of the novel. Whether to accept life or reject it has been a literary theme dating back to the ancient Greek tragedies. William Shakespeare summed it up perfectly in Hamlet, with his famous line, "To be or not to be, that is the question." Psychologically speaking, there are two major reasons for suicide: despair and revenge. Given Laura Brown's level of anger and resentment, emotions she stifled continually, revenge may have been part of her motivation. Despair most certainly played a part in her death wish, however. She saw the life she'd made for herself as a series of long, depression-filled hours. With no hope or prospect for joy in her life, those hours seemed unbearable. Laura flirted with thoughts of death, which to her seemed a release from the hours. Virginia Woolf sought that same release from her own despair.

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This section contains 796 words
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