Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

981 Words4 Pages
Time serves as one of the key structures of our society. Throughout each day we are constantly reminded of time: What time is it? What time did I start work? What time is the game? Remember that one time? Time flies when you are having fun! These expressions of time are categorized into two types of time: external time which labels our presence in reality and internal time which guides our actions, thoughts, and emotion. Naturally, we assume that these times are set in unison to each other, as time is always relative to an observer. But what happens when the times of the external and internal differ? In the novel Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf, Woolf begins to explore this question through her unique writing style of free indirect discourse to travel forward and back in time, as Woolf narrates freely through the thoughts and memories of each character. With each half-hour and hourly strike of Big Ben in the heart of London, the clock serves as a tool to remind each character of the reality of life. The clock further provides physical structure and unity in a post-World War I society, connecting characters of the past at specific moments in time. Through the use of flashbacks we can parallel characters of the past into the present moment, which supports Woolf’s intricate understanding of time as circular not merely linear. Wolf further guides the reader to see how time can provoke daunting effects of fear and anxiety upon one’s life, which is displayed through

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