Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a Metaphor in Mrs. Dalloway, By Virginia Woolf

2436 Words10 Pages
When WWI was over, many people questioned the brutality that carried on over the four years that the war was happening. The Europeans trust in authority and in their country began to collapse, and Modernism was a way they could respond to the damage of those beliefs. It was obvious that the old world was gone and a new one had started to arise. In this new world, while other aspects of Europe were advancing, improvement in the psychiatric treatment of mental conditions, for example shell-shock, fell short. Most of British society remained unaware and uninterested in the problems that these illnesses forced on the veterans. This insensitive attitude toward the soldiers inspired Virginia Woolf to write Mrs. Dalloway. In this novel she shows…show more content…
In fact, he doesn’t really pay much attention to the plane, but it’s the twirling smoke that he focuses on. Through Septimus’s thoughts, Woolf gives us access to Septimus’s thought process and mental state. For the people surrounding Septimus, the plane soaring overhead is symbolic of rebirth and a chance to place their problems behind them and look ahead, optimistically, into the future. For Septimus, however, the plane represents war, death and destruction, and toffee advertisements by this war machine is a perfect example of why modern society disturbs Septimus. It’s also one reason for his inability to assimilate into a modern, post-war society. We eventually find out that it was after the death of Septimus’s friend and fellow soldier Evans, that his mental health started to deteriorate. After four years of war, he can no longer feel emotions. Even after he marries a young Italian woman named Rezia, his mental state keeps getting worse. Rezia, like most of society, doesn’t understand what’s wrong with her husband. “For she could stand it no longer. Dr. Holmes might say there was nothing the matter…he was not Septimus now…he was mad!” (23-24) Rezia knows something is wrong, but she hasn’t any idea what it could be because even Dr. Holmes doesn’t think there is anything wrong with him. “Dr. Holmes examined him. There

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