Type of paper:
Literature, War, Society, England, Suicide, World, London, Novel
In the novel by Virginia Woolf titled Mrs Dalloway we encounter a war veteran Septimus Smith who is often engaged in boorish talk with his Italian born wife Lucrezia. The conversation with Clarissa Dalloway is also a crucial part of the narrative since here we also find the intrusion of Peter walsh who seems to be creating an enigmatic situation for Clarissa.
Smith ends up being consigned to a mental asylum due to the indelible rise of his hallucinations which continually cause problems for his communication. The conversation between Clarissa and Richard Dalloway is sparse and without much substance since their marriage is practically dead although it is well known amongst London society.
Clarissa Dalloway’s party is an important social occasion for London society. She manages to create a stir by inviting some of the top jet set to the event. However the party is obviously marred by Septimus’ suicide although the act is viewed as redemptive by Clarissa Dalloway. Septimus may be compared to all those who suffered in the First World War and who ended up in an alien world after the war with not much going for them.
The sense of regret and sadness which inform Mrs Dalloway as a novel is brought full circle in the final situation where everyone seems to retreat deeply into their own respective thoughts. This is a masterly work which exposes the hypocritical chasms in high society and how these can drive someone to madness and suicide. A comparable piece of literature would be Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen where the ghosts converse as Clarissa and Septimus communicate in the rousing finale.
Woolf, Virginia (2009), Mrs Dalloway (print), Oxford University Press
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