Mrs. Dalloway Reader’s Response 8/24/12
I found Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf to be a beautifully written, complex book. I was overwhelmed by the number of characters and had a hard time keeping up with all of them. This book was not by any means an easy read, but it was wonderfully written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the beginning of the story, I could tell that flowers had some sort of significance in this story. I think flowers mostly symbolize deep emotion in certain characters. Clarissa loved the flowers, and she was a very emotional, reflective character. Richard and Lady Bruten didn’t care for flowers in the way that Clarissa does. They were also not the deep, thoughtful, insightful characters and Clarissa was. There was a lot of symbolism in this book. I felt like Peter’s pocket knife sort of displayed his fear and confusion. I felt like in a way he was always trying to defend himself with this knife while fidgeting with it nonstop. There were several places in the story where Peter was fidgeting with this knife, and he was always in some sort of deep thought while doing this. I was sympathetic toward Septimus because he did not seem to care much about his life, and it was because of the war. Septimus was suicidal and didn’t see things the way others did. I think in certain ways of thinking, Septimus and Clarissa are similar. In the beginning it was mentioned that they both have beak noses and love Shakespheare, so I think Woolf wanted readers to make a connection between the two. They are sort of opposites too, because Clarissa is a voice of reason and sanity, while Septimus is not really connected with the rest of the world, and kind of listless a lot of times. I wasn’t shocked when Septimus killed himself, just because he had talked about killing himself. As horrible as it was, I think Septimus’ suicide lead Clarissa to some clarity in life.