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Mrs. Dalloway is the ultimate form of free indirect discourse. Virginia Woolf employs this literary technique to allow the reader a chance to truly delve into the characters thoughts

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Introduction

Cynthia Yang 10/10/12 IB English Mrs. Dalloway Essay Embodiment and Free Indirect Discourse: Reliance Mrs. Dalloway is the ultimate form of free indirect discourse. Virginia Woolf employs this literary technique to allow the reader a chance to truly delve into the characters? thoughts. Through this mechanism, character development happens not only through the lens of an omniscient third party but also through the characters? own lenses and the perspectives of other characters. With free indirect discourse, the characters of this novel become much more than just personages in a novel about the events of a single day. In fact, the technique gives rise to some characters coming to embody certain prevalent themes in the novel. The implementation of embodiment is essential because it allows Woolf to comment on certain social themes from all angles, giving new meaning to complex themes such as human nature and love and religion. ...read more.

Middle

Similarly, Miss Kilman becomes the embodiment of love and religion. Even when ?the body of Miss Kilman was not before her [Clarrisa], it overwhelmed her ? the idea? (126). In this case, the embodiment is much more literal: the flesh of Miss Kilman becomes the theme. Miss Kilman, unlike Dr. Holmes, acknowledges the embodiment herself when she thinks, ?it is the flesh that she must control? (128). Clarissa feels that love and religion destroy ?privacy of the soul?, something she greatly values (127). On a more tangible level, Miss Kilman physically takes Elizabeth, who she greatly loves, away from Clarissa. The embodiment throughout the novel gives light to the destructive nature of certain themes. However, this embodiment would not be possible without free indirect discourse. Free indirect discourse is the backbone that allows embodiment to flourish. The technique allows for the reader to enter Septimus?s mind to understand the gravity of the distress human nature causes him. ...read more.

Conclusion

While Dr. Holmes?s oblivion to his embodiment strengthens it, Miss Kilman?s tactical awareness strengthens her embodiment. This major difference is made apparent only through narration, or in Holmes?s case, lack thereof. Without free indirect discourse, characters would not be able to embody themes. Throughout the novel, theme becomes much more apparent through the technique of free indirect discourse. The characters of the novel come to embody, physically become, themes that reek havoc on other characters? lives. Dr. Holmes and human nature push Septimus to his demise. Miss Kilman and love and religion manage to strip Clarissa of her true values. The narration style of the novel is essential to understanding the idea of embodiment. Undoubtedly, free indirect discourse in this novel highlights the deleterious nature of human nature and love and religion. The condemnation of the themes leads one to wonder, is this part of a larger social commentary that Woolf is attempting to make? Do aspects of human behavior inherently have perverse affects on humans themselves? ...read more.

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