Final Critical Essay Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway

1380 words - 6 pages

Final Critical Essay |
Mrs. Dalloway: Perceptions of One’s Life |
Brittney Davey |

In Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf involves two main characters whose personalities and life styles are on complete opposite’s sides of the spectrum, which do not know one another but are linked through the concept of different ways each person views the world they live in. Clarissa Dalloway is a high-class, wealthy woman who cares about what others think of her so she indulges herself in parties to be commonly liked, yet struggles with her internal thoughts and memories to the outside world. Septimus Warren Smith is a man who survived the war with severe post-traumatic stress from ...view middle of the document...

Many people including myself would misjudge Clarissa Dalloway because some lower-class people do not know the life of the wealthy; they perceive the wealthy as their certain stereotype and what people around them say, but not all rich people follow their label. Mrs. Dalloway is an example of a wealthy woman who would not be categorized as a snob; she uses her funds for her successfully planned parties which gets her friends and acquaintances together to mingle and share information. She cares for others over herself and strives to be liked by everyone. Although Mrs. Dalloway is not considered to be selfish, snobby or pretentious; looking back on her memories/flashbacks to her younger self Clarissa is discriminatory towards people less fortunate and different from her because that was her lifestyle back then. She perceived life to be dangerous and wanted a safe living environment which is why throwing elegant parties is an important part of her life; it is safe and secure from the world. The difference between Mrs. Dalloway and Clarissa Dalloway is her attitude towards life. She never wanted the things Peter Walsh wanted, she married Richard Dalloway and got what she wanted for her life. She chose the path she wanted, that best suited her. That is not seen as conceded; that is freedom of speech, freedom to be who you are, and ambition to go after what you want. She also thinks what is best for herself and appropriately uses emotions as she sees fit, for example on page 32 in the novel Lucy (Mr. & Mrs. Dalloway’s maid) told Clarissa Mr. Dalloway would be lunching out that day for an important meeting with Lady Bruton. Mrs. Dalloway’s reaction towards this response was not jealousy but rather anger for not being invited since it is said to be that Lady Brutons lunch parties are “extraordinarily amusing” (32). Mrs. Dalloway uses her emotions appropriately to each situation and her perception on this dilemma is “fear of time itself” and “the dwindling of life” (32) meaning there is not much time for her since she is elderly and wants to live life to the fullest and perceive it with greatness and optimism.
On the other side of the spectrum, Septimus Warren Smith chose a different path when he enlisted into the army. When Septimus came into the story I sympathized with him and perceived his life to be actually as it was but less traumatic and deadly. Outside people will never understand Septimus and what he has been through; the look of apprehension in his eyes makes strangers apprehensive towards him (15). An example is Septimus and his wife sitting on the bench in the park when Septimus starts screaming “Evans” to a man he thinks is his friend but is a complete stranger to him. External people would perceive his life as being a constricted man who has a certain disorder. Septimus sees the world full of regret and is struggling greatly with his illness he jumps out of a window and kills himself because of his multiple...

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