Mrs Dalloway Essays

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—and so her character has become hard, almost brittle.

For Clarissa, love destroys one by threatening the self, one’s individuality, one’s psyche, complicating one’s life and making one vulnerable to someone who may disappoint or disillusion one. Dalloway is lonely for her loved ones who have also left, rejected by her—Peter to an adventure in India, Sally to the country as a wife and mother, Elizabeth taken over as Miss Kilman’s “disciple.” Everyone else is merely a “party friend,” with a party face and party manners.

Yet Woolf deliberately creates a world in which the consciousness and searches for identity of two strangers can be seen as metaphors for all human existence, for who does not seek identity, love, and purpose?

It is this flowing stream of images, thoughts, and feelings that engulfs the reader, who shares a conscious awareness of each individual’s connections to all people over all time, as well as a recognition of the individual’s delicate sense of self, which is threatened by those very people and experiences.

Learning of the suicide of a shell-shocked World War I survivor, Stephen Septimus Smith, she sympathizes with his defiance of authority figures who would force the soul. to explain Woolf’s images of space, darkness, and affirmation. The images of reflections in glass, sight, and mirroring are key to her sense of being and to the creation of continuity between people.

In accepting her emotional kinship with Septimus, Clarissa is able both to come to terms with death and to embrace life. Contrasted with Clarissa’s musings and mundane activities are the terrified hallucinations and apocalyptic visions of Stephen Septimus Smith. In another essay, the structure of the novel is analyzed as it relates to female development. One article deals with the paradoxes of love and silence, duality and time.

Points out that Clarissa’s real passion was not for Peter but for Sally, whose kiss gave Clarissa “a moment of unparalleled radiance and intensity.” Blackstone, Bernard. Blackstone claims that the characters’ loneliness and the pity they evoke are keys to . Excellent analysis of Woolf’s use of metaphor to convey a sense of suspense and interruption.

Woolf creates a sense of the “terror of entering the sea of experience and of living life,” so that the reader feels both the loveliness and the frightening truths of reality.

In addition Clarissa keeps remembering the line from Cymbeline, “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,” which, as a reflection on death, both frightens and comforts her. Discusses the absence of a mother, Clarissa’s own ambivalence about her life, the imagery of sea and wind, and the work’s parallels in as a “scathing indictment of the British class system and .

Through the use of these recurrent motifs and of a narrative voice that moves into and out of diverse minds, the novel develops that theme that the individual life, like the art that records it, is but a fragile human construct, a thin envelope to contain the formless if fascinating tissue of experience. “Narrative Structure(s) and Female Development: The Case of as a “typically female text” that hides its “subversive impulses,” which resist the typical narrative structure. An older but excellent essay on Woolf’s use of time, “the insistent hours pressing on,” to create a sense of the pressures felt by Septimus and Clarissa.


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