Virginia Woolf 's Mrs. Dalloway And Morrison 's Song Of Solomon
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Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison both depict the fallout from traumatic historical events as a longstanding affair, often lasting generations and affecting those who are not even be directly involved in the trauma. Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and Morrison’s Song of Solomon do a marvelous job of portraying the macrocosm of traumatic historical events (World War I for Woolf, racist violence and slavery for Morrison), but more importantly they beautifully render the microcosm of how people suffer as a result of those events. Thanks to representations of various characters and the ways they cope or fail to cope with such trauma, Woolf and Morrison show the necessity of community in coping and how far-reaching a community can be in the way it affects people.
The fact is, characters who lack communities to support them through traumatic events are shown to handle their pain much worse than those with communities. One clear example from Mrs. Dalloway is Septimus Smith, the World War I veteran suffering from what we would probably diagnose today as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Woolf repeatedly enforces Septimus’s loneliness and despair throughout the novel. Neither the doctors who attempt to treat him nor his wife Lucrezia understand him. As the narrator says, “But Rezia could not understand him,” and “So he was deserted.” These characters act in ways that may or may not be in Septimus’s best interests, such as Dr. William Bradshaw with his emphasis on “proportion” and ensuring