Mrs. Dalloway By Virginia Woolf Essay

1927 words - 8 pages

The psychological effect the city environment has on both, the characters and authors, can be seen in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway and T.S.Elliot’s the wasteland. The lack of unity of Elliot’s text has lead critics to feel the writing is far too fragmented:
My nerves are bad to-night. Yes, bad. Stay with me. Speak to me. Why do you never speak? Speak. What are you thinking of? What thinking? What. I never know what you are thinking. Think. (TWL: 110)
However, as Gareth Reeves suggests in the book T.S.Elliot: The wasteland ‘unprecedented conditions of chaos and disintegration demand unprecedented methods of poetic fragmentation’ (16). Critics, who felt the poem lack form, may have over looked the fact that Elliot has purposely designed the poem as such. ‘My nerves are bad tonight. Yes bad’ sounds like spoken English, which is not always spoken in complete sentences. Add to the fact that the person speaking sounds unnerved to the point of not bearing to be by herself should her thoughts reveal reality.(Selby,106) It is as if the stress of the city has finally poured into the speakers thoughts, making the speaker feel the need to self-reassure.

Point one: 2-v
The modernist perception of a person being produced from a place fits neatly into Virginia Wolfe’s Mrs Dalloway. The book’s namesake if often portrayed as a person framed by her emotions, worried how ‘something awful was about to happen’(Woolf,1). Although the city has allowed more freedom, such as to roam unescorted, being in an alien environment to which Clarissa was bought up in has had a psychological effect. By comparison, Mr Dalloway is externally viewed as a strong character. Although, Richard is good at remaining in control, he has his own issues. Even with his wife he ‘could not bring himself to say he loved her, not in so many words’(Woolf,86). Richard is battling with himself to confess his love, but simply falls back to his required role of a male of the time, remaining in control of his feelings and keep them repressed. This leads to the editor of New Case ,Su Reid to suggest ‘A pattern of male control and female illness is established’ (p61). The exception being Septimus. Having been shocked by the trauma of war, Septimus is shown throughout the book as being unnerved. When speaking with Doctor Holmes, Septimus is prescribed cricket as ‘ a nice out-of door game, the very game for[him]’.(Woolf,19) Cricket is associated with the open air and grassy plains of the country, with the doctor suggesting that being out of the city would be good for mind and body. Doctor Holmes is reaffirming the modernist believe that ‘Disease …[is] in the social body itself and not in the individual .’ Being surrounded by so many people in crowded surrounds would have been, assumed the modernists, have an effect on a person’s wellbeing. [281]
Point one:3-v
The sense of constant change and fast pace of life is also expressed in the writing. When Peter Walsh thinks of Clarissa his speech...

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