The Woolf Howls! {“Mrs Dalloway” ~ Virginia Woolf}


Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway is a startling world of internal monologues with our chief protagonist as Clarissa Dalloway. The entire story-line stretches across the span of a single day, but the way it spins makes you feel as if you’ve traveled restlessly through endless days, weeks, months or even years. The specialty of this novel lies in the fact that you are made to dive into the subconscious of not just one character, but every character within the book!

The novel focuses more on the emotions and the chaotic, unorganized thoughts of the mind as we drift from person to person like a restless parasite determined to find out all that goes in inside. The typical novel would focus on the action, the environment and the rough pacing of the plot. However, Woolf defies such conventions and dives solely into the depths of thoughts, feelings and ideas– those which make a person act in such-and-such a manner– which cannot be simply summed up in a word or two. Emotions such as anger, sorrow and suffocation are expressed explicitly through how the mind sees them.

This is what makes Virginia Woolf unique. Not only is she a genius in capturing the internal reality of the post-war, post-Victorian England which was in the chaos of confusion due to newly emerging modernity, but also stitches up an amorously engaging love story. Clarissa’s love life is full to the brim with a loving, rich, successful husband, a lesbian experience in the past, a heart-broken lover in Peter Walsh, a fight to possess her daughter from the clutches of the dominating tutor- Miss Kilman and endless days filled with parties and dignitaries. Yet, through all this we notice a sense of emptiness and loneliness within the woman’s heart.

On another side of the narrative is Septimus Warren Smith- a war veteran married to his Italian lover, suffering from PTSD and hints of schizophrenia. We follow Septimus and Lucrezia, back and forth in time and memory, observing (like the nosy parasite that we are) their courtship period, their slowly degrading marriage and their fight to get decent psychological help for the man. Through them we meet two councilors with completely different ideas of how to deal with the problems, the couple’s anger and criticism towards their lack of understanding and their ultimate decision-
“What a lark! What a plunge!”- the lark representing the height and happiness, the plunge representing the final downfall.
{^Read the book to find out what that means as I have no intention of giving out spoilers 😛 }

Finally, all I can say about the book is that I loved it. Personally, I can relate to a lot of things that have been mentioned within the novel. The way it was written and the way the tale has been strung together is just beautiful with a touch of the classic sarcasm and irony {< my favourite combination}…

Hope I’ve inspired you to give it a read. It is one of my favourites. 🙂

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