While reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf I found myself entrapped by her vivid imagery, her unfailing detail of all objects around her characters and her story of a day in a life. Her keen imagination made me feel like I was the camera and I was panning around London fallowing around people, and going places. She definitely has a way to make you see the big and the very small details. (Although, I must admit, at times I wanted her continue the story and not the description). For this blog post we are to focus on why she gives names to minor characters and places. After days of contemplating and reading, Virginia Woolf names minor characters and places for the purpose of social commentary but also to draw our attention to everyone and everything. Make the reader notice that we are all human and we all have a voice.
Reading Mrs. Dalloway has shifted my view of a prose and the internal monolog. Her focus on every detail of her characters makes the reader have a better understanding of each one but also makes us realize we are all connected. Woolf stressed that we are to “look within” and “examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day” (2155). When the airplane flies overhead and people stop to see what the airplane is writing in the sky, Mrs. Dalloway, Septimus and all the others are connected for a brief moment in time. We stop, look up and see the airplane through everyone’s eyes. We hear their voices and their thoughts and we know everything is connected in our giant world.
Woolf’s narrative shifts from the wealthy and the privileged characters of Jane Austen or Bronte sisters to characters that struggle physically and mentally. She dives into the harsh realities of what is human and ordinary gives them a voice and a story. Her goal was to “criticize the social system and to show it at work, at its most intense”(2156). I truly believe Woolf has done so in Mrs. Dalloway. Long gone are the days of prefect women, in perfect houses and indulgences. Now we get to hear the stories of Septimus and his struggles of posttraumatic stress disorder, or how Mrs. Dalloway has “the oddest sense of being herself invisible” (2161). Her prose makes us see the world “by the sane and the insane side by side”(2155). She pulls the taboo subjects from under a rug and makes them her masterpiece.
This was an extremely hard post to write, since there are so many topics and themes within this novel. So much to analyze and focus on! Mrs. Dalloway is a hauntingly beautiful description of an “ordinary” day. Woolf shines a light on the faults of our society and makes us know we are all connected and we are all human.
Ramazani, Jahan and Jon Stallworthy, eds. “Mrs. Dalloway”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. F. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2012. 2155-56. Print.
Woolf, Virginia. “Mrs. Dalloway”. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. F. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 2012. 2155-2264. Print.