Death in "Mrs. Dalloway" Book Review by LauraT

Death in "Mrs. Dalloway"
An analysis of the theme of death in Virigina Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway".
# 103057 | 2,332 words | 0 sources | 2006 | US
Published on Apr 13, 2008 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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This paper examines how, in Woolf's novel "Mrs. Dalloway", death is a driving force for the development of the characters and the novel's dramatic action. The paper looks at how, originally titled "The Hours", the novel delves into the thoughts, memories, and experiences of Clarissa Dalloway, a wealthy middle-aged woman as she goes about a single, normal day in her life, with Big Ben marking each passing hour. The paper also discusses how, although the theme of death pervades the novel to its core, Mrs. Dalloway is not the ominous foreshadowing of its authors eventual suicide, or a reflection of Virginia Woolf's obsession with death, but a reconciliation of the fear and mystery of death, a celebration of life, and ultimately one character's triumphant ability to find purpose and comfort in the passing of life.

From the Paper:

"The first few pages of Mrs. Dalloway establish the themes of death and life that are prevalent throughout the novel. Clarissa experiences life with fervor and vivacity, and it is her strong and intense love of life that makes her fear death. She feels that the morning of her dinner party is, "fresh as if issued to children on a beach" (Mrs. Dalloway, p 3), and though she is middle-aged, Mrs. Dalloway's passion for the beauty and nuances of everyday life is strong. While her love of life is unremitting, it mixes with the sorrowful knowledge that her youth is over, and almost immediately her memories return to the time of her greatest happiness and her youth at Bourton. While Clarissa takes great joy out of the memories of her youth, she is more concerned with the present moment, observing that, "everyone remembered. "

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