Critical Analysis

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Hannah Lucia Inkin - 11430532
‘Trauma and recovery in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway’ by Karen DeMeester 'Trauma and Recovery in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway' by Karen DeMeester explores the characterisation of Septimus Smith in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway by highlighting not only the psychological detriments suffered by victims of relentless ordeals such as war but also the need for them to give value to their injuries in order for them to successfully recover. The article presents many supporting ideas. First of all, it states that Woolf's narrative mirrors that of a trauma survivor. It is certain that imagist poetry and experimental novels of the post-war era "reflect the fragmentation of consciousness and the disorder and confusion that a victim experiences in the wake of a traumatic event" which inevitably damages any sort of faith the victim may have ever had about himself in the past and makes it harder to find realistic ideologies that give meaning to their life after the trauma. DeMeester then links this notion to the fact that the stream-of-consciousness narrative corresponds to the survivor's perception of time which suggests that memories of such a trauma often exists in a present consciousness, therefore interrupting personal life and history. The event is subsequently such a critical incident in one's life however not one to define Septimus's identity. Furthermore, through this, Woolf combines the past and future with the present in a "continuous flow of narrative form". However, DeMeester also explains that quite like the survivor who is also trying to find the meaning of the trauma, the readers cannot apprehend the text chronologically because the meaning of the text does not emerge from "temporal" relationships but "spatial" ones. Likewise, the idea that repetition is key to Woolf's intentions of reflecting Septimus' perception of space is then explored. It is suggested that this establishes a rhythm of futility which contributes to the...
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