virginia woolf analysis

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Virginia Woolf presents several major ideas in Mrs. Dalloway that she expertly uses her complex characters to convey. She presents three major characters, Clarissa Dalloway, Peter Walsh and Septimus Warren Smith in each one’s own unique circumstances yet makes clear connections between the three. Throughout the narrative, some major themes are constantly referred to, such as death and time. Clarissa is first presented as a confident and almost independent woman when she declares, “she would buy the flowers herself.” Yet from the very first lines, she begins reminiscing about her days as a young eighteen-year-old girl, revealing her obsession with her past and unhappiness with the way her life turned out to be. Almost immediately, Woolf reveals Mrs. Dalloway’s insecurities, with her accidental encounter with a man from her past, Hugh Whitbread. Although decades have passed since the two parted ways, Clarissa immediately grows aware of her hat, which she feels might be unfit for the occasion and perhaps does not match Hugh’s impeccable sense of style. Mrs. Dalloway constantly thinks about her past and the summers at Bourton, through which Woolf reveals several important themes. First, the fear of aging and time is distinct as she ponders the different directions her life could have taken and notes “she felt very young; at the same time unspeakably aged.” In addition, as Clarissa walks, she recalls lines from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline, which come from a funeral song and reveal her constant contemplation of death. Peter Walsh and Clarissa Dalloway have a lot of similarities. First, they have a weighty sense of not unhappiness with their lives. Clarissa feels that she has achieved nothing and has no skills other than knowing people by instinct and feels that she has “settled” for Richard. She even senses a certain loss of identity as she sees that she
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