Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Works Cited

Works Cited
"Big Ben." 2008. Excelsior Information Systems Limited. 28 Sept. 2008 .

"[minstrels] Fear no more the heat o'the sun-- William Shakespeare." 28 Sept. 2008 .

"Mrs. Dalloway." Mrs. Dalloway. 28 Mar. 2000. Columbia College of Chicago. 28 Sept. 2008 .

"Piccadilly Circus, London." A View on Cities. 2008. 28 Sept. 2008 .

"St. Jame's Park History." London's Personal Space. 2008. The Royal Parks Service. 28 Sept. 2008 .

Wallechinsky, David, and Irving Wallaca. "Trivia on Napoleon's Retreat from Russia." Trivia Library. 1981. The People's Almanac. 28 Sept. 2008 .

"The War to End All Wars." BBC News. 1998. British Broadcasting Company. 28 Sept. 2008 .

"William Morris and His Circle." The Harry Ransom Center. 28 Sept. 2008. University of Texas at Austin. 28 Sept. 2008 .

"William Morris (British Artist and Author)." Britannica Online Encyclopedia. 26 Sept. 2008. Britannica. 28 Sept. 2008 .

"World War One Tank." 2008. 28 Sept. 2008 .

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obsession with Age

"For he was not old; his life was not over; not by any means. He was only just past fifty." (pg. 43)

Aging is an important part of Mrs. Dalloway. All of the characters are feeling the effects of growing older and older-- Clarissa has recently been ill and is concerned about how old she looks; Peter is now fifty and feels somewhat like he has accomplished nothing in his life, etc. Many of the characters spend a great deal of time looking back on their past and wondering if they made the right choices. Clarissa goes back and forth throughout the entire book about whether she made the right choice in not marrying Peter as a young girl. Even though she asserts that she is happy in her life (much like Peter does), both Clarissa and Peter fear their aging and wish to be young again.


"Herbert has [Bourton] now," she said. "I never go there now," she said." (pg 42)

Clarissa and Peter have been talking about different things that happened at Bourton when Clarissa suddenly mentions that she no longer ventures to the country house anymore. Clarissa still equates Bourton with memories of Sally and Peter, so she chooses to avoid those memories by staying away from the country house. Denial and avoidance are an important theme of Mrs. Dalloway. Every single character in the book is guilty of experiencing some denial. Most of the denial has to do with a character refusing to acknowledge an innaprpopriate emotion, like Peter's love for Clarissa or Clarissa's dissatisfaction with her life.

Contrast between Peter and Sally

"...the radiance burnt through, the revelation, the religious feeling!- when Old Joseph and Peter faced them: "Star-gazing?" said Peter. It was like running one's face against a granite wall in the darkness! It was shocking; it was horrible!"

Here the contrast between how Clarissa felt for Peter and how she felt for Sally. The feelings that arise within Clarissa when Sally kisses her are ones of joy and elation but the moment Peter speaks, those feelings are gone. Woolf makes it very clear that Sally is airy and exilarating part of Clarissa's young life while Peter is the harsh and abrasive part. What is interesting is that Clarissa clearly loves both of them even though they are so different. They represent different things to her, but Clarissa is still able to love them in very different ways.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Loss of Passion and Feeling

"She could not even get an echo of her old emotion." (pg. 34)

Again, Clarissa begins to feel disconnected from the people around her and her own feeling. She has been thinking back to her days at Bourton with Sally and how pure and deep her feelings were for Sally. She felt alive then as opposed to how she feels detached now. Sally represents a time before Clarissa had to really "grow up" and get married to Richard. In marrying Richard, Clarissa begins to feel like she sacrificed true happiness and even her own identity for security and to bend to societies wishes.

William Morris

"...when Sally gave her William Morris, it had to be wrapped in brown paper..." (pg. 33)

William Morris was a visionary decorator, artist and early Socialist. He is well known for his revolutionary ideas in regards to home decor but also for his strong feelings toward Socialism. The fact that Sally gives Clarissa a book of William Morris' writing speaks to how different and "radical" Sally should be seen. In turn, his writing probably helped Sally and Clarissa think of "how they were to reform the world".


Picture Link:

Baron Marbot's Memoirs

"The candle was half burnt down and she had read deep in Baron Marbot's Memoirs." (pg. 31)

Baron Marbot's Memoirs detail Napoleon's retreat from Moscow after failing to capture Russia and take over. Napoleon, unable to continue attacking Russia in the dead of winter, reluctantly retreated back to France. During his lengthily retreat, his number of men dropped from 50,000 to 20,000. After his failure in the East, Napoleon all but disappeared from world view. It is interesting that Clarissa chooses such a dry and depressing subject to read about at night. War, while not an event that takes place during Mrs. Dalloway, is something that has a profound impact on the characters and action of the novel, including Septimus' shell shock and the general public living in a "post-war England".