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Clarissa and Mrs Dalloway in Virginia Woolf's "Mrs Dalloway" and comparison with the modernist ideas of T.S. Eliot in "The Wasteland".

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Introduction

Clarissa and Mrs Dalloway in Virginia Woolf and comparison with the modernist ideas of T.S. Eliot. The nature of identity is a main theme in Mrs Dalloway. This novel explores the question of our ability to truly understand the ?self?. Indeed, our surroundings, our physical environment and our human relationships actually impact the notion of self and personal identity. The characters in this novel only have a limited understanding of one another, each creating a personal identity through their reflections in the eyes of others. This idea is shown by Clarissa, as the reader witnesses throughout the novel her identity develop in parallel with her contact with the outside world. But it is clear that none of the characters know much about each other, because it becomes obvious that what each knows of another is a fragmented version. Indeed, Clarissa is seen by her husband Richard Dalloway as ?Mrs Dalloway?, as a charming and delicate wife, whereas her servants help her to portray the image of the ?gentle, generous-hearted? society wife, and while Peter sees her as the snob and perfect hostess. ...read more.

Middle

It suggests that there is and has been a speaker: the unspecified ?us? who will receive greater specification in the next lines. We certainly want to identify the ?us? that winter kept warm with the ?us? that summer surprise. And if the pronouns suggest a stable identity for the speaker, much else has already become unstable: landscape turns into cityscape, the series of participles disappears and is replaced by verbs in conjunction (?And went?, ?And drank?, ?And talked?); the adjective-noun pattern is broken. So we can clearly notice a tension is settled between the presumed identity of the speaker and the instability of the speaker?s world. The main characters in Virginia Woolf?s novel find themselves isolated from each other, struggling to say what they truly mean: Richard Dalloway spends all day thinking about the way he?ll tell his wife he loves her, but in the evening appears to be unable to say it. ...read more.

Conclusion

When the soldier is replaced into a banal existence, apart from war, he suffers of an identity crisis. Moreover, this part also echoes Lucrezia and Septimus? relationship in Virginia Woolf?s novel. In addition, these identity lacks reveal Eliot?s and Woolf?s searching for identity as writers as they elaborated new sorts of narrative structure and averted the traditional ones to adjust their need as modern writers. Woolf uses internal monologues, switching between Clarissa?s and other character?s consciences, and sets the plot in one only and unique day of Mrs Dalloway?s life. This makes the story majorly composed of the characters? thoughts and memories, with a fluid and long sense of time. Eliot as well sets multiple voices (most of these being anonymous, some in foreign languages) and all united into one conscience expression the solitude and disillusion of humanity. The characters in both works are mainly ordinary people, but they affirm their individuality in minor ways: Mrs Dalloway throws a party, creating a little community for one evening, while two lovers exchange hyacinths in the first section of the The Waste Land. ...read more.

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