“Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death..."-part of a quote from Voltaire.
Mrs. Dalloway and The Hours both share in this concept of time. It is marked in Woolf's novel by Big Ben, and by the characters in Cunningham's piece discussing or thinking about the hours passing by. Time within the novels then is somewhat of a physical manifestation of death upon the characters. They see time is ticking by, and that it will continue to do so with or without them. Pages 4, 95, 127, and 150 are a few examples of when Big Ben is brought up or time in general within Mrs. Dalloway. In The Hours the one example that stuck most in my mind was on page 197-198, the scene with Richard up on his windowsill and Clarissa. "But there are still the hours, aren't there? One and then another, and you get through that one and then, my god, there's another. I'm so sick." This getting through the hours is then revisited in the ending chapter with Clarissa realizing that Richard's mother was just waiting for the end of the hour to go to sleep alone.
At first when I had read The Hours I didn't understand the title. Yet now that I look back on it and this connection with time in Mrs. Dalloway that inspired his novel seemed to add up. It was about the passing hours, the time that goes by when one lives and goes about their business, and realizing that it goes by indefinitely.