Overview and Literary Techniques: Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

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The story of Mrs. Dalloway was written by Virginia Woolf in 1925, and closely relates to her own life. Woolf was born on January 25, 1882 into an upper-class family. At the age of 13, Woolf’s mother died, which was the beginning of her bouts with mental illness. Two short years later, Woolf’s older sister and primary care giver Stella also died. After her death Virginia Woolf began suffering from more severe depression and manic episodes that would stay with her intermittently for the rest of her life. In Mrs. Dalloway, the narration and point of view changes from one character to the next often. This was not just Virginia Woolf’s writing style, but rather a technique she used to emphasize the importance of certain characters. Virginia Woolf’s motive in writing this novel wasn’t just to present to us the ins and outs of high-society housewife, or to explore homosexuality or feminism, but to take the reader on a psychological whirlwind journey that takes postmodernism and realism to a new level which hadn’t been portrayed in Victorian novels.

The story starts off in the perspective of Clarissa Dalloway. Immediately the narration becomes what she is thinking and what she observes, like when she opens her French window and “feels the still air”. The narration especially the fact that it jumps from one thought to the next seems much more realistic because it is told how a person would actually think, which we refers to as “stream of consciousness”. We can tell Clarissa will be the main character she is the narrator and thoughts that are conveyed are her thoughts. Occasionally the narration is taken to the perspective of a different character, but for the main part, Clarissa narrates. C...

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...g beauty of the world. Like poetic drama novelist here suggests more than what is described and asserted. The conflict between life and death, love and hope, misery and beauty, hope and despair, individual freedom and social contact etc. are suggested through imagery, symbol and rhythm. Mrs. Virginia Woolf’s reporting of the stream of consciousness of her character is different from the traditional novel.

Works Cited

1) Woolf, Virginia (2009), Mrs. Dalloway (print), Oxford University Press
2) Dowling, David (1991), Mrs. Dalloway Streams of Consciousness. Twayne Publishers
3) From Mrs. Dalloway, Penguin Popular Classics 1996, page 36 OR Harcourt, Inc. (2005),page 35
4) Whitworth, Michael H. (13 January 2005). Virginia Wolf (Autors in context). Oxford University Press. P.15
5) “Virginia Woolf- Modernism Lab Essays”. Modernism.research.yale.edu. Retrived 2012-08-17
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