Monday, January 26, 2009

"Mrs. Dalloway"

Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs.Dalloway” focuses on Mrs.Dalloway’s day as
she prepares to host a party. Mrs.Dalloway is a middle-aged woman who looks back at her youth and romances in this novel set during WWI.

When we read Mrs.Dalloway we can see the effects of WWI with the character Septimus Smith, who suffers from depression. But we can see that high society isn’t as affected by the war as much as others: throwing parties and gossiping.

At the beginning of the book Clarissa sees her old flame Peter on the street and reminisces about their romance. Although she is 52 years-old, she sounds like a giggly teenage girl with a crush when she thinks about him. On page eight it says, “that he had no heart, no brain, nothing but the matters of an English gentleman, that was only her dear Peter at his worst; and he could be intolerable, he could be impossible but adorable to walk with on a morning like this.” This shows that she still has feelings for Peter but also a deep feeling of animosity towards him as well. Clarissa was upset that he married an Indian woman, but she felt sorry for him since he never did any of the things he dreamed of doing. But when she compares her husband with Peter, it’s almost as if she regrets marrying her husband. When it says that she would still find herself arguing with herself in the park over whether or not she did the right thing by not marrying Peter, it’s almost as if she’s having a midlife crisis. Like when a middle-aged man, who is having a midlife crisis, leaves his wife and finds a woman half his age.

In the book Septimus, who suffers from depression, is painted as a mentally-ill, helpless man who needs the constant assistance of his wife. His wife is very loving and helpful. On page 31 it says, “For Dr. Holmes had told her to make her husband (who had nothing seriously the matter with him but was a little out of sorts) take an interest in things outside of himself.” But Septimus did suffer from depression and that is evident when he commits suicide.

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