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Mrs. Dalloway Commentary Essay

1144 words - 5 pages

Mrs. Dalloway covers a day in the life of the upper-class society involving Clarissa Dalloway and her friends, living in London post World War I. This passage is set at Regent’s Park as Septimus Smith, a World War I veteran suffering from shell shock, and his wife, Rezia, are waiting to see the psychiatrist William Bradshaw. Septimus’ daily life struggles are seen as he tries to emerge from a hallucination and back into the harsh London daylight. Despite being mentally ill and dealing with guilt over the loss of his best friend Evans, Septimus has great moments of clarity, as he is able to recognize the beauty that surrounds him. The use of repetition demonstrates Septimus constant battles ...view middle of the document...

Woolf makes use of parenthesis in the word “scientifically” to suggest to us that Septimus may not be crazy for seeing beauty in everything wherever it is “the houses, the railings or the antelopes stretching over the palings” as even science is on his side. At this point, Septimus has now removed himself from the hustle and bustle of urban life, a place that offers little optimism for him and has entered a world that welcomes, accepts and creates beauty for what it is. While everyone else goes about their everyday lives in chaos and disarray, not paying attention to what surrounds them, Septimus is able to sit back from the world and watch in fascination.
The use of imagery is conjured up as a leaf is described to be “quivering in the rush of air as exquisite joy”. Septimus’ appreciation for nature is evident and is emphasized through the use of alliteration as he watches with great attentiveness, “swallows swooping [and] swerving up in the sky”. Through the use of the action verbs “swooping” and “swerving” and the repetition of the letter “s”, a tone of softness, speed and simplicity is achieved, things that are seen in both nature and beauty. Woolf demonstrates Septimus’ continuous dream like state as Septimus examines “the flies rising and falling” and also how the sun dazzles a leaf with “soft gold in [a] pure good temper”.
The detailed and visual descriptions of nature that Septimus experience allow us to delve into his world, enabling us to share his passion and excitement for “ordinary things” as they are. This allows us to experience an epiphanic moment along with Septimus, as discovers an innate truth, “beauty is everywhere”. Ordinary things such as motor horns become chimes to him. For his tortured soul, haunted by the horrors of the past, beauty is very much in the moment.
All it takes is for Rezia to say, “it is time” for Septimus to wake from this revere. In the place of beauty, descriptions of war begin to emerge as his mind is now focused on the word “time”, as if it was a bomb. From “husk”, we get “shells” and from “shells” we get horrific images of a bomb shelling from a...

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