Essay: Virginia Woolf

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
  • Price: Free download
  • Published on: July 16, 2019
  • File format: Text
  • Number of pages: 2
  • Virginia Woolf
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Choose a character.  What is the significance of that particular character?

Septimus Warren Smith is a World War I veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder. His story is written alongside the story of the other main character, Clarissa Dolloway. His character is very significant as he shows the horror that occurs after the war. Post traumatic stress disorder is a very common mental disorder among war veterans. Before the war he was an aspiring poet and enjoyed Shakespeare. Septimus wanted to be in the war to prove himself as a man, but instead the war transformed him drastically. He was created a sufferer by the war and now lives in his own world, unattached from reality. He experiences hallucinations, especially conversations with his dead friend. Septimus is depressed and unable to feel emotion. His wife, Lucrezia, also suffers from his mental health becoming lonely as his mental health decreases. Going along with being depressed, Septimus also shows signs of being suicidal. At the end of the novel, Septimus commits suicide as a way to escape his problems. Septimus is also a significant character in the novel because he doubles Clarissa. Although Clarissa and Septimus never meet, they both mimic each other’s actions and thoughts. They both feel sadness and death and have both been frightened by illness. Similar to how Septimus is trapped in by his feelings and emotions, Clarissa is trapped in by her life. They are not very confident and feel judged by others which leads them to experience oppression from the people around them. They both question life. More specifically Clarissa questions her choices and Septimus questions life in general.

Setting is essential to any text.  How does the setting(s) influence the events in the text?

The setting is very important in Mrs. Dalloway. The whole novel takes place on a Wednesday in June 1923 in London. The events start on an early morning and end at 3am the following day. The story is constantly switching perspectives from present to past, due to the characters’ haunted pasts. Throughout the novel, there are no chapter breaks and the chiming of the Big Ben is the only reminder of time. The novel takes place right after World War I. The author uses the location of London to intersect the lives of the characters in the novel. Through the setting we are able to see the effects of the war, especially through Septimus. Septimus returns from war traumatized. The novel displays how Clarissa lives in an upscale neighborhood in London. She has lived a very comfortable and privileged life. Clarissa walks through London’s streets while she is preparing for her party. The mysterious grey car that seems to grabs everyone’s attention does not attract Clarissa. Septimus has a completely different feeling on the streets of London. Septimus has just returned from war and is suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and is insane. The grey car threatens Septimus and terrifies him. Peter Walsh is also found on the streets of London. Peter acts in an immature manner and follows a young lady through the streets.

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