A Daze In A Maze

by capreviewroom

So much can happen in one day. In fact, Virginia Woolf makes a lifetime happen in one day in her novel, Mrs. Dalloway, where Woolf was able to weave two somewhat
unconnected stories. The technique Woolf uses narrating anything, an idea or thought, is through a ‘stream of consciousness.’ And this stream, although made up of different thoughts and or ideas, is continuous. It is difficult to tell when one thought ends and another begins.

The story begins with a woman name Clarissa Dalloway who is in her fifty’s, and recently recovering from an illness She is making preparations for a party she will be hosting that evening. Clarissa starts the day running an errand to buy the flowers for the party. And during that day, she looks back on her past, which includes her decision to marry Richard Dalloway thirty years earlier, instead of Peter Walsh who was better suited for her.

The second story which Woolf weaves in involves Septimus Smith, a shellshocked war veteran, out on the street with his wife, Rezia. Septimus experiences the negative aftereffects of the war, hearing voices and feeling that life has little meaning. Septimus begins to reflect on his life as a car backfires and leaves him paralyzed. He remembers his good friend Evans who he lost in the war and tries to talk to him continuously. This is a sign of his descend into madness through his depression.

Some of the characters in ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ reveal two different realities. One is a reality in their own point of view. The other, is what life is to them through others. A reality that is shared, different from the everyday reality they own, and is a lot more personal. For example, Clarissa, Peter Walsh and Sally Seton all live their own lives, which is normal, the reality they see themselves. The other reality, is much more meaningful to them, which is the reality they share. Like, even after having strayed across half of the world, Peter Walsh still is in love with Clarissa; a love he can’t get over, but also can’t accept. This defines Peter’s thoughts.

Going from one person’s thought to another is definitely a trick in this book. It takes a lot of careful reading to keep track of each thought and not intertwine ones thought with another. It is definitely a hard read, but an interesting one nonetheless. Being able to see through each character’s thoughts and reliving their past as if time got away from them and the present leaves them questioning their decisions, or depressed. It gets you thinking a lot about yourself and how you view your past, how you see your own life and how others see your life. It’s a maze of thoughts, but a game worth walking through.


-Homer Concepcion


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