Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

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The psychological effect the city environment has on both, the characters and authors, can be seen in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and T.S.Elliot’s the wasteland. The lack of unity of Elliot’s text has lead critics to feel the writing is far too fragmented:
My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me. Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak. What are you thinking of? What thinking? What. I never know what you are thinking. Think. (TWL: 110) However, as Gareth Reeves suggests in the book T.S.Elliot: The wasteland ‘unprecedented conditions of chaos and disintegration demand unprecedented methods of poetic fragmentation’ (16). Critics, who felt the poem lack form, may have over looked the fact that Elliot has purposely designed
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Huddled between the concrete and the sky, responding to every momentary need. Vibrates unconscious to its formal destiny.’ (31). Deconstructing the lines, this image of a city that produces people but also in its entirety, kills them too. The city is great at providing for ‘momentary’ needs but in Elliot’s view, is doomed. There is a parrel to one of the characters in the poem and the city: The Fisher King. The Fisher King’s land is left barren due an injury on himself, making him infertile and thus his land too which Elliot likens to the state the city may find itself in (Annis).However, there is some hope. Eventually, although sterile, the fisher king does rise, and the possibility for man to rise and learn from his makes in an unnatural environment.

Point 2-2-v
In comparison to Elliot’s view of the city, Woolf presents the city as a comfort. When Clarissa experiences the city, she thinks of ‘what she loved: life; London, this moment in June’(woolf,4). Through Mrs Dalloway’s eyes the reader can feel the chaos of the city but also the reassurance people of the city feel in its daily sound. Although there is a lack of countryside beauty, Mrs Dalloway finds beauty emerging in the cities ‘energy and motion’(Roe and Sellers,154). This activity allows Clarissa to ‘make safe, comfortable if fleeting connections with pedestrians’.(Clunky,442). Clarissa has become a Flaneuse, enjoying

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