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Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Wool

Oct 08, 1999 789 Words
In Virginia Woolf's book, Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith grow up under the same social institutions although social classes are drawn upon wealth; it can be conceived that two people may have very similar opinions of the society that created them. The English society which Woolf presents individuals that are uncannily similar. Clarissa and Septimus share the quality of expressing through actions, not words. Through these basic beliefs and idiosyncrasies, both characters mimic each other through their actions and thoughts, even though they never meet. Clarissa feels sadness and death around her. There is much routine and habit around her but she still seems dissatisfied. At her late age of fifty she sees herself as Mrs. Dalloway, not even Clarissa. She portrays her sense of happiness as something not monstrumental or graniose, but rather quite simple. She can be happy throwing a party, she can escape reality: Every time she gave a party she had this feeling of being something not herself, and that everyone was unreal in one way; much more real in another. …it was possible to say things you couldn't say anyhow else, things that needed an effort; possible to go much deeper. But not for her; not yet anyhow. (Woolf 171)

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With Septimus, seeing his best friend Evans die at war has been a major trauma in his life. His wife Rezia must constantly take him away from his reality and have him focus on things not involving war or him thinking of it. Septimus sees beauty in small lifeless things that surround him. Beauty can be seen as a plane that writes in the sky, deciphered but which signifies beauty. Subconsciously, he reveals his need to be nurtured, but he pulls away from society when he falls ill and has trouble dealing with reality. Both Septimus and Clarissa are very similar in this manner. Death is perceived as defiance by both characters. Clarissa expresses her belief in reincarnation. She believes if her true self is not revealed in this life, it will be revealed in the next. She has the belief that everything will work out, eventually. Thinking of Septimus's death, Clarissa remembers thinking before a party, "If it were to now die, ‘twere now to be most happy"(Woolf 184). She felt if she was to die, it was a good point in her life to die. As for Septimus, he knows of war, death, and destruction; he knows that society will not change and that he cannot live in a world that can be so constricting. Septimus takes a leap of faith and ends all of his suffering in this unforgiving world; individuality, Septimus and Clarissa recede into the depths of normality. Clarissa accepts this recession, from having a dream to being merely Mrs. Dalloway. However, he does not, this constriction and uniformity propels him out of his bedroom window to death. Although Clarissa and Septimus differ in their response to this uniformity, the truth remains that they are both dissatisfied. Their dissatisfaction emanates from

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their influence from their surrounding society. Many people don't understand what Septimus is going through, so they tend to think badly of him. The doctors he is under care from are far from helping and more intent on collecting for their service payment. Septimus is not even happy with himself, let alone his society. He had guilt because he could not feel anymore, not even for his wife. "His wife was crying, and he felt nothing; only each time she sobbed in this profound, this silent, this hopeless way, he descended another step into the pit" (Woolf 91). With Clarissa, the only influence of society on her are the parties she has. Though the parties bring happiness to her, after they are over it is back to her normal life that is stale. An important matter to Clarissa is to be social with important people. When her husband is invited to a brunch with Mrs. Bruton and she is not, she feels disappointed that she was not considered or not accepted by a wealthier person. Though Clarissa and Septimus are not of the same wealth or backround, both characters have a very similar prospective about things around them. Septimus believes death is an answer to his constant torture from the doctors and society. Clarissa relates to his suicide as a way for him to finally communicate to everyone, especially his two doctors. Neither Dr. Holmes nor Sir William could empower his life anymore with their false treatments. In everything that has happened in one day, the key connection between Septimus and Clarissa was his death and the English society that both people were subjected to.

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