Modernism And Virginia Woolf Essay

1466 words - 6 pages

Woolf’s narrative style literary called stream of consciousness, correspond to the perception of time, which has to be viewed as the vital element of modernity. Therefore, before addressing to Woolf’s literary style it is necessary to describe how modernist authors were influenced by the new concept of time. Time has experienced by modernist author as a phenomenon in which past, present and future are juxtaposed at the same time; therefore, time is not the representative of chronological moment. In this sense, our experience of life is not restricted to presence rather it is a combination of unfulfilled wishes, memories and desires. To describe the concept of time in modernism, Tim Armstrong ...view middle of the document...

Since the human mind is a series of interconnected events, drawn from the past to the present and proceeds to future, Woolf’s narrative style pursues the flow of human thoughts like a chain of association which are passing through a single character’s mind to get the core of human experience and reveal the link of human conscious and unconscious. In order to complete her literary form and to convey the Continuous flow, she avoids dividing the novel into chapters.
Moreover, she applies interior monologue which has the best function to imply the stream of consciousness. The most innovative and creative part of the novel consists of the subjective experience of the protagonist ‘Clarissa’ and other central characters of the novel over a single day; hereby, the reader has right to enter the thought of characters which implicitly engages her/him to make own perception of characters by existing in their minds. Woolf describes this literary style in her essay “Modern Fiction” and writes: “Let us record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, let us trace the pattern, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness”. The best example of the stream of consciousness and the interior monologue in “Mrs. Dalloway” is the second paragraph of the novel: “What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave;…” (1). Here, the thought of hinges, doors and making space for the party she is giving that night makes her think about the sound of the hinges ‘squeak of the hinges’ (Mrs. Dalloway, 3) and sends her mind back to the memories of her young adulthood at Bourton, which depicts how Woolf captures the core of reality beyond the surface of characters’ life through entering their flow of thoughts. It is remarkable that Woolf and some of her contemporaries who used this narrative technique, stream of consciousness, tried to convey the fragmentation and trauma of modern human not only through the content of the artwork but also through art form. Thereby, “Mrs. Dalloway” consists of scattered fragments of thoughts and images that we as reader should gather them for better understanding of characters.
Henceforward, this essay will focus on social vision of Woolf in her novel “Mrs. Dalloway” which could be considered a social critique of post war situation. In “Mrs. Dalloway”, Woolf is engaged with the question about individual and how she/he is affected by social forces, sex, class and wealth. Although, there are some critics like Forster who argues that Woolf refuses to discuss the effect of social structure on individual (8), Woolf's critical approach towards dominant social forces proves the...

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