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Essay on Decision Dilemmas in Mrs. Dalloway

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As people grow older, many feel trapped in their lives because of decisions in the past. Due to the regret in their decisions, people often become unhappy and feel stuck in the lives they have chosen. The character Clarissa in Mrs. Dalloway does just that. In novel, Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa becomes a prisoner in her adult life as a result of her upbringing, need for social status, and relationship choices she has made in the past.
Clarissa Dalloway’s childhood was the foundation on her lavish adult lifestyle. Her childhood influenced her thoughts on social class and standings. Clarissa was raised in a middle class family that always valued social status. As a child Clarissa spent a lot of time with her family. Her experiences at her Uncle William Bourton’s estate exposed Clarissa to the ideas of social norms. (2 Worster) These family influences taught social status was necessary for security and happiness in the future. Unlike most women in her era, Clarissa was aware of the lifestyle paths she could take, when most women of there time period were unaware of choices they had concerning their future lifestyle. (2 Worster ) Clarissa’s upbringing gives her the mind set that you must be rich and have social status in order to be important in life. This is later proven false in the novel, as Clarissa become evident that the comfortable and extravagant lifestyle she chose, is not all its cracked up to be. Worster shows in her literary criticism, “The Self Imprisoned Clarissa Dalloway” that Clarissa struggles with her identity due to the manipulation of truth her own mind. As “Clarissa Dalloway meagerly examines the conditions of her life and resignedly submerges herself beneath the shallow façade of the perfect housewife.”(1 Worster...


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..., which is the part Clarissa is trying to perceive. Clarissa’s comfortable life does not call for the need of intelligence like Mrs. Kilman, so Clarissa cannot gain the respect of her husband or daughter. Clarissa gets respect from her family makes Clarissa, which isolates her from becoming further educated and respected. “She has failed at trying to achieve this type of status. This contributes to her overall sense of failure because both her husband and daughter se her as a common housewife.” (Worster)
The novel “Mrs. Dalloway”, Clarissa Dalloway’s decisions in her youth led to being a prisoner in her adult life. Through her relationship choices, upbringing, and need for social status, Clarissa’s decisions leave her feeling trapped in an undoable situation. Due to the regret in Clarissa’s decisions, she never truly becomes happy with the choices she has made.



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