Mrs Dalloway and The Hours – comparing paragraphs


Clarity, economy and sophistication. These are the goals of editing when Advanced English students are seeking to improve drafted paragraphs.

Consider this sample body paragraph:

Daldry also chooses to use a strong opening to reveal all three timelines in focus. Through a lengthy montage of the morning routines, it blends the 1920s, 1950s in California and the modern context of New York through linking objects like the vase of flowers and waking up out of bed to portray similarities characters expressed in their minute actions. This also gives Daldry time to create contrasting differences because of context. Use of technology in the modern context shows the rush in society while other two show the waking to family and relationship quarrels. As an important element of the film, music is layered over the opening shot of wider camera angles that close up on the character to focus attention. The tension of the music though ascending motifs that play after a fast tempo impose the decision making of each character as they wake up to be of an important significance to them. Daldry further links the characters through intertextuality of their readings of the novel Mrs Dalloway; acting out certain tropes expressed in the day. The title of this novel also suggests to the audience an immediate assumption of the main character role through the honorific ‘Mrs’ placing her to live up to society expectations of a married woman.


Marker feedback included these suggestions:

  • topic sentence could be more specific – identify a concept early in the sentence
  • reduce unnecessary words to improve clarity – ‘context’ is mentioned three times in the three successive paragraphs
  • music is the only film technique discussed in a detailed manner – which other features or metalanguage could be included to show how are these ideas actually revealed?
  • syntax errors – read aloud to ‘hear’ sentences that don’t sound right


*image from

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