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Mrs. Dolloway By Virignia Woolf Essay

695 words - 3 pages

One of Virginia Woolf’s best-known novels, Mrs. Dalloway features a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional upper-class woman of the post-World War I English society. While most of the novel is primarily centered on Clarissa Dalloway and her preparations for a party that evening as her “offering to the society”, Virginia Woolf also uses the novel to comment on the consequences of World War I on its veterans. Through Septimus Smith, a character who is an ill World War I veteran and suffers from posttraumatic stress, Woolf critically comments on the detrimental effects of World War I.
Virginia Woolf’s first depiction of Septimus Smith immediately indicates to the readers that Septimus is not mentally stable. “Septimus… aged about thirty, pale-faced…with hazel eyes [with a] look of apprehension [that] makes complete strangers apprehensive” (Woolf 16). After being dispatched from the war, Septimus suffered from severe trauma and was unable to differentiate between reality and his hallucinations. While he seems to appear composed and content externally, he was constantly replaying images from the war internally. To escape from the deeper troubles onset by these memories, Septimus fabricates a fantasy world in which he communicates with the deceased and feels that others are trying to communicate with him in encrypted language. Based on text study, Septimus has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, which is a mental illness closely linked with hallucinations and gradual dissociation with ones emotions, thoughts, and behaviors (Class Notes – AP Psychology).
While on active duty, Septimus suffered through several traumatic events. After dispatch, Septimus met Lucrezia in Italy, married her, and came to England, where he had constant hallucinations. The prominent hallucination in the novel was that of his close friend and commanding officer, Evans, who died in battle. Septimus believed Evans was trying to communicate with him. “[Septimus] sang. Evans answered from behind the tree. Evans himself—‘For God's sake don't come!’ But the branches parted…a man in grey was...

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