Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. Specifically Term Paper

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Ultimately, Mrs. Dalloway's opinion of herself is highest when she is giving parties. Woolf writes, "Every time she gave a party she had this feeling of being something not herself, and that every one was unreal in one way; much more real in another" (Woolf 171). She knows she has a gift for bringing people together, and it is this gift that makes her life worthwhile. It is odd, because the entire reason for her being (at least to her) is superficial and another jab at English society by Woolf. The parties are the grounds for the wealthy to socialize and show off, while they are attended by the low-paid servants, the poor who form the backbone of English society. Ultimately, the novel condemns this society, and Clarissa Dalloway's simple character is at the forefront of this condemnation. Her simplicity and reliance on pleasing others represents all that is wrong with English society in Woolf's mind, and she makes it quite clear in this novel.

The passage indicates that Clarissa is simple, complex, and yet unable to settle on one
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tropic for long. She is like a bird who cannot sit still too long. Woolf writes, "She looked at Peter Walsh; her look, passing through all that time and that emotion, reached him doubtfully; settled on him tearfully; and rose and fluttered away, as a bird touches a branch and rises and flutters away" (Woolf 43). Comparing her to a bird is a perfect assessment, because Clarissa flits from one topic to another, never concentrating on one for long.

In conclusion, this passage is a look inside the character of Mrs. Dalloway, and her simplicity. It portrays her simplicity, her reliance on the opinions of others, and her inability to concentrate on any topic for more than a few minutes. She is a simple character who sometimes can have moments of great intuitiveness and understanding, but mostly flits from one topic to another, only hoping for the approval of those around her. She is interesting, sometimes complex, and often exasperating, which seems to be part of her charm. For there is something charming about her, even if the reader cannot take her…

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References

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harvest Books, 1990.

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