Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway

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Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway In Jacob's Room, the novel preceding Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf works with many of the same themes she later expands upon in Mrs. Dalloway. To Mrs. Dalloway, she added the theme of insanity. As Woolf stated, "I adumbrate here a study of insanity and suicide; the world seen by the sane and the insane side by side." However, even the theme that would lead Woolf to create a double for Clarissa Dalloway can be viewed as a progression of other similar ideas cultivated in Jacob's Room. Woolf's next novel, then, was a natural development from Jacob's Room, as well as an expansion of the short stories she wrote before deciding to make Mrs. Dalloway into a full novel. The Dalloways had been introduced in the novel, The Voyage Out, but Woolf presented the couple in a harsher light than she did in later years. Richard is domineering and pompous. Clarissa is dependent and superficial. Some of these qualities remain in the characters of Mrs. Dalloway but the two generally appear much more reasonable and likeable. Clarissa was modeled after a friend of Woolf's named Kitty Maxse, whom Woolf thought to be a superficial socialite. Though she wanted to comment upon the displeasing social system, Woolf found it difficult at times to respond to a character like Clarissa. She discovered a greater amount of depth to the character of Clarissa Dalloway in a series of short stories, the first of which was titled, "Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street," published in 1923. The story would serve as an experimental first chapter to Mrs. Dalloway. A great number of similar short stories followed and soon the novel became inevitable.
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