A Look Through … | Francesca M.

by capreviewroom

A Look Through Mrs. Dalloway’s Time Machine

Modern Classic “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf was published in 1925 and takes place post war London, England. The novel analyses a day in the life of fifty-two year old upper class housewife Clarissa Dalloway who finds joy in hosting elaborate parties. The themes of the story involve a fear of death as Clarissa and Septimus both shared in common but also contrasts with happiness because the party is the main focus and parties are known to be fun, upbeat and cheerful. Time is also a main idea because Clarissa seems to have lost herself through out the book, she is no longer who she was before she got married, she is lonely and feels her life is at a “stand still”. “ Far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day”. This work, in detail describes the events Clarissa goes through which lead up to the dinner party she will be hosting later that evening including a surprise visit from a long lost love named Peter Walsh and a suicide not many people saw coming.

The book constantly travels between the present and the past, which causes confusion. One moment Virginia Woolf is talking about the errands Clarissa goes through in order to prepare for her party and the next she is referring to Clarissa’s early life when she was in love with Peter Walsh. The book is fast paced in order to understand it thoroughly it needs to be read slowly and a few times over because the point of view changes often during the story line. The stream of consciousness of each individual character changes sometimes even with in one paragraph. Clarissa begins telling the point of view of the story and then it changes to a veteran of world war one named Septimus. It is easy to miss important facts through out the book because of how immediately people, places and times change.  Another issue with “Mrs. Dalloway” is the structure of Woolf’s writing in this particular piece, there are no chapters, it is just page after page non stop it makes reading more challenging than it already is because people do not know when the appropriate time is for a reading break or who the chapter is mainly focusing on.  Basically, readers are not reading what is actually going on in the novel they are reading what the characters in the book are thinking and feeling. “He thought her beautiful, believed her impeccably wise; “Woolf also uses excessive commas, semi colons and run on sentences which allows room for the reader to miss interpret what she is really trying to say. For example, the same, that one day should follow another; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; that one should wake up in the morning; see the sky; walk in the park; meet Hugh Whitbread; then suddenly in came Peter; then these roses;  “Mrs. Dalloway” is a book that should be read by people who find interest in conquering books that brings constant questioning of what is happening in the story.


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