Mrs. Dalloway

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I. Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, was published on May 14, 1925 in London, England. The novel follows Clarissa Dalloway and a variety of other characters throughout the span of one day in their lives in 1923 London. Woolf utilizes a narrative method of writing. With the novel’s structure, the narrator possesses the ability to move inside of a character’s mind and compose her thoughts and emotions immediately as events occur throughout the day. The novel’s main character, Clarissa, is a middle-aged woman who belongs to the upper-middle class in society and is well-married to a Member of Parliament—Richard Dalloway. Clarissa’s day is full of arrangements for a dinner party she plans to host that evening. During the novel, numerous other…show more content…
Rather than hold lengthy conversations between characters, she frequently writes only of small talk and leaves more serious topics to be recited in an individual’s exclusive thoughts. One of her purposes in writing the novel is to expose the hypocrisy of society. The characters in the novel range from eccentric acquaintances to extravagant lords and ladies to vindictive tutors to suicidal veterans. One example of this theme occurs when Rezia and Septimus attempt to settle down in the park. When the airplane soars overhead, she writes, “Tears ran down his cheeks (Woolf 21).” While one may mistake this as joy or, at worst, sorrow over the recent war, Woolf gives the reality of the action beneath the surface, stating, “They are signaling to me… this exquisite beauty… but he would not go mad. He would see no more (21).” While Septimus dwindles on the brink of insanity, Rezia chatters away about nature, unaware of the mess resting beside her. Septimus portrays the appearance of one man yet expresses an entirely new persona through his contemplations. Another instance of the theme transpires when Miss Kilman and Clarissa wait for Elizabeth to retrieve her gloves before going shopping. Clarissa and Kilman both make attempts at small talk. However, both give their attentions to a mutual disgust of each other. Clarissa simply asks if Kilman is taking Elizabeth to the stores. Kilman replies dryly, but in

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