Imagery In Virginia Woolf's 'Mrs. Dalloway'

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Flowers are a sign of celebration, a sign of sympathy, and a sign of beauty. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway which was published in 1925 seven years after the first world war, and her last novel Between the Acts which was published in 1941 in the middle of the second world war, both are full of flowers. The imagery of nature and rustic scenes within the novels help you to better understand the feeling of reflecting on happier times from the past, and hoping for recreation. Although most would think that Woolf’s images would be about looking for a better, brighter, and happier future, they all do not quite relay that message. Many of the images are corrupted and distorted, echoing with remaining fears from the previous war and the approaching fear of war ahead. Nature is beautiful, it is frightening, it is confusing, and it is questionable. All of these feelings and more can be found in the nature imagery that Woolf uses so beautifully throughout her novels Between the Acts and Mrs. Dalloway.
Woolf uses natural imagery as means to bring the past and present together, to reflect on what used to be, and to hope that nature will bring stability in their future in Between the Acts. In a scene during the pageant we read as Miss La Trobe struggles with silence of the stage, having an uneasy and uncomfortable feeling but then we read about how the cows took that burden away, just in time ‘she lifted her great moon-eyed head and bellowed’ (pg 87). You get the feeling that the cows are calming and relaxing her, as they appear gentle and kind with eyes like the moon. The cow’s bellows seem to bring the past and present together. You get this idea from Woolf when she writes ‘Their ability to cross boundaries of time stretches beyond the cont...

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...und even more in Between the Acts gives a feeling of loss of hope. We read and watch as the natural world transforms into a world of warfare. In Mrs. Dalloway the world was attempting to recover from the First World War, while Between the Acts, named so appropriately, for occurring in between two major acts, the two World Wars. Flowers and birds slowly loose their optimistic appearance to Woolf, and soon become images of destruction and fear. Nature brings many different feelings to this world. Flowers bring us happiness, but soon will die, rain can make us sad, but at the same time brings life to world. Birds create beautiful songs, yet there a few that prey, and end lives. Nature is a complicated cycle, and Woolf brings the images of nature and causes the reader to feel and think many different ways, simply by relating moments throughout these novels to nature.
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