Depression In Mrs. Dalloway, By Virginia Woolf

1539 WordsNov 17, 20177 Pages
In “Mrs. Dalloway,” Virginia Woolf highlights different experiences of everyday suffering after World War I. Septimus Smith, a veteran of World War I, loses his identity during his tour. Clarissa Dalloway and Lucrezia Warren Smith are both suffering as a result of society’s expectations; they both lose their individuality and succumb to their husbands. Many people did not know how to cope with the change of perspective after the war; some people tried different forms of treatment, while others chose to ignore the war and move forward. Virginia Woolf asserts the idea that depression can only be understood emotionally, not scientifically, ultimately proving that uneducated women have more wisdom than men after the war. Septimus suffered…show more content…
He felt alone and had survivor’s guilt after his friends had died in war, but treatments did not help him. Eventually, Septimus’ depression overwhelmed him, and he committed suicide. Septimus visited two different doctors who claimed to have effective methods for treating depression. Dr. Holmes, Septimus’ first doctor, believes in conversion, “But conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will” (100). Conversion is a full rejection of the desires of the mentally ill person; for example, the patient would be separated completely from society in order to recover. Sir William Bradshaw, another known doctor, believes in his competing treatment: proportion, “... you invoke proportion; order rest in bed; rest in solitude; silence and rest; rest without friends, without books, without messages; six months’ rest; until a man who went in weighing seven stone six comes out weighing twelve” (99). Sir William Bradshaw claims that proportion is better because it provides balanced treatment, but Virginia Woolf critiques this notion. She is asserting the idea that proportion is actually conversion because the proportional treatment is not balanced. Both specialists claim to have different, more effective treatments, but neither are able to save Septimus, because their treatments are too similar, and they do not understand his illness. Septimus’s condition cannot be scientifically understood because it is deeply emotional, “But
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