New Criticism approach to Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway
Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, was set in a time period shortly after World War I. An omniscient narrator narrates the novel and it gives the reader response full access of what is happening in the minds of the characters from different points of views. In the close reading of a particular excerpt, it shows the relationship of a husband, a WW I veteran, and his wife. The text can be found on page 23 of the novel. “For she could no longer stand it. Dr. Holmes might say there was nothing the matter…It was she who suffered – but she had nobody to tell.” This short paragraph tells a world about how Rezia, the wife of Septimus, is feeling about her husband and their marriage. This close reading will bring out the meaning of what is written and what can be obtained from the language and style of the text. Woolf attempts to take the reader into the mind of Rezia. The words of the passage are worth more than what is written. The emotions that can be felt through the words change the tone of the novel. By introducing such emotions into the husband – wife relation through the use of certain language, it makes the reader response wonder whether there is love in the relationship. The discovery of new tensions gives the novel a new prospective, revealing the thoughts of Rezia towards Septimus. Woolf writes that Rezia cannot stand their marriage any longer, but she loves him and cannot live life without him. This brings conflict into her life. Dr. Holmes states that there is “nothing the matter”, implying medically. At one point in the passage Rezia even goes to think that it would be better if Septimus were dead. This causes the reader response to wonder if love is even in the “picture”. Could it have been dependency for Rezia? Later on in the reading, it is stated that Rezia cannot be happy without him. It is also evident that she is miserable with him and he does not pay her any attention....
Cited: Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, 1925. 23. Print.
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