Sunday, 11 February 2018

Do you find Woolf’s feminist views in evidence in Mrs Dalloway?


Virginia Woolf has been greatly successful in portraying different kinds of female experiences in Mrs. Dalloway. Women in her novel are clearly distinguished from each other. Thus Sally Seton, Mrs. Dalloway, Doris Kilman and Elizabeth are all sharply different from one another but all have the essential womanliness.

In the novel the social circle of Clarissa Dalloway has been portrayed as a power system. Clarissa is rich and well-connected with society, being married to Member of Parliament living in the heart of Westminster and inviting the Prime Minister to her party. She is in one sense part of this power system; in another sense she is reduced by this system to a position of unimportant. She is not included in the private gatherings of those who exercise power. Lady Bruton does not invite her to lunch and sees her as having held back her husband Richard Dalloway’s career and prevented him from being promoted to the cabinet. Clarissa’s own identity is submerged in that of her husband.

Clarissa believes strongly in the privacy of the human soul. This belief leads her to distrust all those solutions to the problem of loneliness or unhappiness which in anyway endanger that privacy. Her profound concern for the privacy of the soul is a complicated feature of her character. This concern is at once her genius, and, to a certain extent, the cause of her failure philosophically, recognition of the uniqueness of each human soul represented for Virginia Woolf, the highest good.

Through the portrayal of Lucrezia Virginia Woolf gets an opportunity to describe a foreign woman’s reactions to the city of London. She was optimistic before coming to London but now she finds herself lonely and miserable because her husband had refused to give her a child and also her husband has lost his sanity. Lady Bruton, the main target of Woolf’s satire is depicted, as an egotistical, self-centred, conceited and complacent society lady who feels proud of her ancient descent, her country, social status and style of her living. Doris Kilman, a social caricature and a satire portrait of a religious type, is one of those who use love and religion to acquire power. Sally Seton is an unconventional unorthodox kind of person who even as a young girl had shown her defiance of the established code of conduct. Lady Bradshaw is also a target of satire. She is described as a woman who keeps herself busy with attending dinner parties, occasionally opening a bazaar, showing an interest in child welfare and pursuing her hobby of photography.

To sum up, Virginia Woolf was a woman and in her novels she gives us the woman’s point of view. Her picture of life does not include sordidness and vice, brutality and criminality.

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