June 07, 2016

BOOK OF THE MONTH REVIEW - MRS. DALLOWAY BY VIRGINIA WOOLF


 Genre : Classics, Fiction, Feminism, Women Literature

Mrs. Dalloway was written by Woolf in 1925, when the world, particularly Europe, was experiencing a lot of changes in all fronts. The story is set in those days of modernism; and revolves around a woman named Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of a rich influential bureaucrat, who loves throwing parties and socializing. The entire story is set in a day of Mrs. Dalloway's life, where each character tells a story about his or her life. Each character directly influencing Mrs. Dalloway, looks back on a day when they were younger, when Clarissa turned down her friend, Peter Walsh's proposal for marriage. Mrs. Dalloway is one of the classics which have been widely read and appreciated around the world.
What I loved the most about Mrs. Dalloway is it's representation of the characters. A typical London morning in 1925 will have all the prominent characters in the novel. Clarissa is a socialite who arranges parties and indulge in socializing with high class families to share gossips and talk about life in London. What is even more special about the timeline is that it is set in 1925 which means the story encapsulates the old fashioned ways of living and the new modernist approach to life. Clarissa Dalloway, is taught from her early childhood how to become the perfect wife in a rich household, and that just represents how women had a certain role in lives. While she is not happy about the ways of life, she has not been able to break out of it. On the other hand, several characters, break out of the perception to become independent and "different" from the women in that time.
The novel has no chapters, just a steady flow of thoughts which jumps from one character to another to form an entire day of activities, impressions and views. Every thought, every view has a specific opinion on life in 1920s, every argument had different approaches and every view had its consequences. Every character has a personality so strong and so different, it's hard to talk about just one character. A character, Septimus Warren Smith is particularly interesting in the story, who is apparently written as a double to Clarissa. While both of them doesn't appreciate the way of life, Septimus breaks out of it by killing himself. And when Clarissa comes to know of it, she describes it as a defiance; she sees it as a way of escaping from the world of mishaps and misfortunes.
Virginia Woolf is a genius, and someone who has read at least one of her works will agree with me when I say this.

-NIVEDITA

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