Post World War I Novel. Short Biography On Virginia Woolf And Book Report On Her Work "Mrs. Dalloway"

1027 words - 5 pages

Post World War I Novel"Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia WoolfThe ending of World War I in Europe left England in a state of physical and political upheaval. Being the arena for Europe's war, England's physical destruction could be seen everywhere. However, England was also undergoing political and emotional turmoil. In addition to England's loss of political clout with its colonies, women's rights were also being fought out in the public domain. People were suffering from a loss of human life, property and also a way of life. In the rubble of this war, Virginia Woolf's novel, Mrs. Dalloway, erupted.Virginia Woolf was the daughter of a literary critic from London. She was home schooled, as women in those days were not considered worth educating. She never attended College; however, she did participate in the literary salons that came into being during that time period. Her involvement in these gatherings, as well as the publication of her literary handiwork, did not occur until after the death of her father. She became an active member in the women's rights movement as well as an active contributor in the literary circle of the period. Her novel, Mrs. Dalloway, was considered her first real literary accomplishment. This novel employed what was called "stream of consciousness" for which she is considered by many to be one of this technique's first patrons. This mode of writing allowed the reader to become privy to the inner thoughts of the characters. The character did not hold back any of his feelings, but rather expressed whatever was on his mind at that precise moment.The novel, Mrs. Dalloway, is the story of an upper-class British housewife, whose emotional struggles post World War I are told to an audience through "stream of conscious". The entire story revolves around 24 hours in the life of Clarissa Dalloway. The script contains many similarities to both acquaintances of and the author herself. The novel is an expression of the emotions that were prevalent and the losses that were evident after the conclusion of World War I. The novel contains characters that represent all of the problems encountered after the war. The veteran, the politicians and the women's right activists are all embodied in this novel.This novel chronicles the fate of the veteran, Septimus Smith after his involvement in war and the destructive effects it has had on his psyche. This poetic, gentle man has emerged from war hating not only him but also the world in which he lives. This characterization is also one that could fit both the main character, Mrs. Dalloway and the author herself. Although both the main character and the author herself have depressive feelings about society and their place in it, neither feel that they could take the step that this veteran did in taking his life in order to avoid succumbing to society. Both have their doubts and their periods of unhappiness, however, neither would take the easy way out by committing suicide. In opposition, they both endure the everyday turmoil of their lives. Although the main character feels that she is happy, she constantly questions her decisions in regards to marrying her current husband in order to achieve the easy life.Prior to her marriage to Richard Dalloway, a member of Parliament, she had been in love with both a childhood friend Sally Seton and Peter Walsh, a long-time love of hers. To this day, she still feels conflicted about her choice in marriage and its outcome. She had settled for the comfort of a socially accepted marriage and a man who loves her. However, she still finds herself unable to stop thinking about the choices in her life that she rejected. As she proceeds through her day in the planning of a party, she does realize that there is beauty in life for everyone even in these times. While in the florist, she realizes that she sees splendor in nature's bounty in the same way as a homeless person also sees this same beauty. Even in a city surrounded by destruction, beauty still exists. In spite of all the destruction resulting from the war, there is still beauty in the world and a reason for living. Regardless of the constant crying experienced in the novel, there is still something to live for.The crying and emotion itself is also a sign of post war Europe. The population had a lot to cry about. The loss of life and property has created an emotional atmosphere for both the citizens of England and the characters themselves. Although the characters may appear weak and emotional, they merely represent the population of Europe at the time. Beaten and tired, they are reflecting on their lives and the choices that they made, along with the consequences.This novel represents many firsts. It uses the literary technique of "stream of consciousness", relates the emotional condition of England post World War I. and represents the talent of female writers at a time when only men were considered intelligent enough to produce a literary masterpiece. Mrs. Dalloway relates the emotions and situations of post World War I in Europe. As such, this novel gives the reader a bird's eye view of the European community during this time period. Not only history books can relate the truth about a time period. Such novels can relate how the population actually felt during that period, thus adding another perspective to the history of that time. History is normally all about the facts, however, adding the emotional picture of the time can add to our learning from our mistakes.


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