The Intersection Of External Time And Internal Time In Mrs Dalloway By Virginia Woolf

3259 words - 13 pages

In Mrs Dalloway, the modernist writer Virginia Woolf undermines the
usual conventions of prior prose fiction by adopting an innovative
approach to time. She contrasts the objective external time and
subjective internal time that structure the plot of the one-day novel.
In fact, the story takes place on a single day in June and, by the use
of two important techniques, namely the stream of consciousness mode
of narration and the interior monologue, the reader is constantly
flowing from the present to the past or the future. Moreover, Woolf
blurs the distinctions between dream and reality but emphasizes the
importance of the present moment. Finally, both representations of
time have a great influence on characters' life and relations between
each other.

Firstly, time itself, which, in fact, measures and divides, becomes
fluid, elastic and mobile the interaction of memories and thoughts. As
Showalter points out in the introduction of Mrs Dalloway, "In Time and
Free Will (1888) … Bergson" speaks about "'psychological time, which
is internal, subjective, and measured by the relative intensity of the
moment'" (qtd. in Woolf xx). Internal time is one of the new
characteristics that Woolf introduces in her novel. In other words,
she describes a subjective reality through the stream of
consciousness. By this new mode of narration, Woolf gives to the
reader the impression of entering the consciousness of the characters.
It describes the unorganised flow of thoughts, sensations, and
memories that is the time in the mind (or internal time). Characters'
memories introduce the element of time. Furthermore, one of the
techniques for representing the stream of consciousness in the novel
is the indirect mode of interior monologue. To put the point another
way, this method provides the reader direct access to the characters'
thoughts, emotions and feelings by the use of words. It replaces the
images that must be used to represent such sensations. Moreover,
thoughts are reported into a third-person past tense narrative.
However, it seems that Woolf never tries to transcribe the stream of
consciousness of her characters directly. It is always reported, with
phrases such as "she thought", "she asked herself", "she wondered",
etc. introduced regularly. She therefore keeps reminding the reader
whose stream of thoughts it is that he is reading, for this reminder
is one of the unifying factors.

In the fluid nature of consciousness, temporal limits and definitions
lose their distinctiveness. Indeed, Woolf constantly blurs the
distinction between dream and reality. As David Daiches suggests,
Woolf "presents the individual stream of consciousness as compounded
of retrospect and anticipation . . ." (63). In other words, time is
free in the mind of the characters; it allows them to go back in their

Find Another Essay On The Intersection of External Time and Internal Time in Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

A comparative study of the presentation of characters' mental states in Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Hours by Michael Cunningham.

2525 words - 10 pages man", therefore amalgamating society with the 'insane'.Many describe the Septimus and Mrs Dalloway as Woolf two alternate natures, Cunningham places emphasis on the characters common traits by including a narration of Virginia Woolf while she creates Mrs Dalloway allowing us to trace her influences. When writing Woolf is at ease, "her mind hums" and she feels her "purer self". This is in great contrast to the fear she has expressed previously of

Use of Time in Waiting for Godot and Mrs. Dalloway

838 words - 4 pages , time can also be seen as an underlying theme that is significant because it questions and influences the structure of the story including the characters actions, dialogues, or story's plot, setting, etc. Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot" and Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway” use time to show cylical patterns which influence many different aspects of charecters. "Waiting for Godot" is a play written by Samuel Beckett, in which two

Septimus Vs. Clarissa: "Mrs. Dalloway", written by Virginia Woolf

584 words - 2 pages The themes of a book are probably the most important elements that can be analyzed throughout a novel, a book without themes is not a book. In "Mrs. Dalloway", written by Virginia Woolf, there are many aspects that can be analyzed. The most important themes come from the characters themselves, and their behaviors. In this novel, there are three very important themes throughout the whole novel, that can be analyzed through setting and characters

Mrs. Dalloway By Virginia Wool

780 words - 3 pages In Virginia Woolf’s book, Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith grow up under the same social institutions although social classes are drawn upon wealth; it can be conceived that two people may have very similar opinions of the society that created them. The English society which Woolf presents individuals that are uncannily similar. Clarissa and Septimus share the quality of expressing through actions, not words. Through

An Analysis of Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway

3394 words - 14 pages various perspectives on the room of one's own motif and themes arises, and is manifest also as the enriching "box of flowers" idea. Woolf hints at a psychological androgynous alchemy that might be achievable via literal marriage (as in the case of Clarissa's marriage to Richard), or a purely imagined or "negative" marriage (as with Peter), and works out a model of negotiated psychological health as an antidote and remedy to the bad doctoring portrayed in her book, and that must have been typical of her time. Works Cited Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. 1925. San Diego, CA: Harcourt & Brace, 1981.

Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own Woolf writes about the struggles that women of her time faced in writing.

781 words - 3 pages In the novel, A Room Of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf it seems implausible thatone could miss the theme behind her writing. Even just by reading the title, it is self-explanatory. In order for a woman to write fiction she must have money, and a room ofone's own. Woolf stresses this throughout the novel. She directly says "Intellectualfreedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom. Andwomen have always been poor

Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot

2498 words - 10 pages , the text itself exits outside of the text. In other words, the text’s “meaning” is not found within the text itself, such as the case with Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; instead, the “meaning” is artificially produced by the audience and their own background knowledge. Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway is often cited as a pinnacle example of Modernism. The text of Woolf’s work exists within itself: the reader does not necessarily have to consult the

Serving time in Virginia

1345 words - 5 pages , England established its first permanent North American settlement, Jamestown, in 1607.The Jamestown expedition was financed by the Virginia Company of London, which believed that precious metals were to be found in the area. Sending the first wave of settlers in 1607, colonists included 104 males, mainly single, of varying ages, most were businessmen and their gentlemen servants, not up to what was in store for them, but hoping to carve a

The Relevance of Gender In Society: A research paper on Virginia Woolf's views on gender roles using three of her books, "To the Lighthouse", "Mrs. Dalloway", and "A Room of One's Own".

1976 words - 8 pages female of that time. She does not play a role. She shuns marriage and basks in her freedom, but she knows that she is an oddity. "She [Mrs. Ramsay] put a spell on them all, by wishing, so simply, so directly, and Lily contrasted that abundance with her won poverty of spirit." (Woolf, To The Lighthouse, 101). Lily is a painter but is fearful that she will never be known as one. Self-doubt casts its connotation over her through snide remarks made by

Cultural Disenchantment in a Postwar Climate Illustrated in Virginia Woolf’s Novel Mrs. Dalloway

2129 words - 9 pages novel’s many characters represent a different aspect of the English citizens’ disenchantment with established, presupposed cultural values and worldview brought about by the unexpected lack of glory in victory or dignity in the dead and wounded multitudes. The world Woolf creates in Mrs. Dalloway is both a historical reflection and a social commentary, portraying how the atrocities of war trickle down through the many layers of experience and

It's Time for West Virginia to Eliminate Food Tax

1922 words - 8 pages It's Time for West Virginia to Eliminate Food Tax Can you recall an incident in American history involving disgruntled citizens dumping tea into the Boston Harbor? I can. This tea dumping was one of the foremost events of the revolution. Do you remember why these angry citizens dressed as Indians, stormed one of their own boats, and dumped all of the crates of tea into the harbor? The English monarchy’s taxing of the settlers’ tea caused

Similar Essays

Time And Place In Virginia Woolf`s Novel "Mrs Dalloway"

817 words - 3 pages Clarissa. Septimus Smith hears it also when he is trying to find the sense of living. "As it is seen from the outline of these facts, mechanical time does not coincide with the real time of the novel. The real time has no beginning and no end, has no stops, pauses - it is just continuous high tides and low tides." (Virginia Woolf "Mrs Dalloway and Essays," Moscow, Raduga Publishers, 1984, p.18) It means that besides mechanical time, there exists

The Importance Of Time In Virginia Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway".

4027 words - 16 pages moments time passes and death is what waits for everyone.As we have seen, Woolf uses different narrative techniques, which reflect a modernist treatment of fiction. The intersection of external and internal time in the novel shows the great complexity of time, as a theme. The new novelistic structure erases the distinction between past, present and future, and also between dream and reality. A moment can be repeated, recapitulated or changed in

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

Suspended In Time: Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway The Element Of Time In A Modernist Novel

1963 words - 8 pages after Septimus' suicide which not only completes the recording of external time, but marks the uniting of the familiar characters that narrated throughout the novel. These narrative voices gather at Clarissa's highly anticipated party where past and present come together and complete the novel.Works CitedDeMeester, Karen. "Trauma and Recovery in Virginia Woolf;s Mrs. Dalloway." Modern Fiction Studies. 44.3 (1998): 649-673.Fleishman, Avrom. Virginia