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War in the Works of Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon, and Wilfred Owen

Powerful Essays
War in the Works of Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon, and Wilfred Owen

War has the ability to destroy not only countries and society, but families and individuals as well. Adverse effects are often the outcome of a war. It is not looked at in a positive way and often causes conflict. Through the works of Virginia Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon, Wilfred Owen, and the 1992 Welsh film Hedd Wyn the effects of war are made apparent. All of them express their representations of war differently; however, the works have many similarities as well.

In Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf shows the effects of war in simple and complex ways. Mrs. Dalloway has traveled to London to buy flowers for her party. The Great War had just ended and not only was the queen holding a party to celebrate its long awaited end, Clarissa Dalloway was also. While walking through the streets Mrs. Dalloway rejoiced in the noise and bustle of the city. All of this represented life, Woolf seemed to want to show her audience that regular everyday events in the city were meaningful and exciting, life can go on after war. Clarissa delighted in all of the clamor and bustle; she found it invigorating and exciting. Woolf is quick to show us a very different point of view with her intriguing character Septimus Warren Smith.

Septimus is an ex-soldier who was a casualty of the Great War. He suffers from shell shock and constantly thinks of killing himself. Septimus’ reality has completely been altered since he returned from war. The smallest noise, such as the car back firing, had the ability to send him into complete hysterics. Even though the war was over he lived in fear; his unconscious was haunting him. Septimus was insane and basically lived in his...

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...oth wanted to go to war; their lives were forever changed from this decision. Owen and Ellis were both uncertain about the war and why it was being fought, yet they both ended up there. Neither of them came home. All four have shown us the ugliness that war brings. Though they had their differences in why they went and how their lives’ turned out, they all experienced the wrath. Some experiences were fictional and others real, yet the portrayal and representation of war all boiled down to the same thing. It is ugly and effects the lives of everyone either directly or indirectly. Lives are forever changed in the presence of war. Woolf, Sassoon, Owen, and Ellis showed us this through their stories, poems, and personal experiences.

Work Cited

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Twentieth Century, Volume 2C Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway.
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