Fictional Clarissa Vaughan, another Michael Cunningham creation, shares her first name with the title character in Virginia Woolf’s novel. Vaughan also shares Dalloway’s love of parties and her preoccupation with a man who commits suicide.

Woolf’s Clarissa is obsessed with a soldier she has heard about but has never met: Septimus Warren Smith. A shell-shocked World War I veteran, Smith cannot return to the life he had before the war.

Although he endured frightful battles, he is unable to cope with society’s confinements. He ends his life rather than attempting an unsuccessful return to a world that, for him, has irrevocably changed.

Cunningham's Clarissa is a modern woman who lives and works in New York City. Her disease-ravaged former lover - Richard - is fighting a losing battle with AIDS. A respected poet, Richard can no longer live the life he had before his illness.

Although he has endured frightful bouts of pain and anguish, he is unable to cope with society’s expectations of him. He ends his life rather than accepting an award he thinks he won because of his illness not his genius.

Although Laura Brown and Clarissa Vaughan live during different times, they unknowingly share a bond which goes well beyond their love of Virginia Woolf’s book:

  • One woman shattered her life to live a dream;
  • The other unwittingly tried to put the pieces back together.

Life ... unfortunately ... doesn’t always allow for those broken pieces to become reattached.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Dec 24, 2013

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"CLARISSA VAUGHAN" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2003. Jun 18, 2019.
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