Mrs. Dalloway Study Guide

Mrs. Dalloway Study Guide

Original title:
Mrs Dalloway
October 28th 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published May 6th 1921)
London, England (United Kingdom)
ISBN 0151009988 (ISBN13: 9780151009985)

Virginia Woolf is known as a great writer in part because of her novel “Mrs. Dalloway”. It is included in different lists of the best English-language novels of all times. It talks about the generation that lived during a post-war time and the generation that will follow, making the same mistakes.

The timeframe of the book is one day. It talks about the life of a well-respected woman Clarissa Dalloway and how she prepares for a big gala in the evening. Throughout the day the reader travels back and forward in time. Due to such writing style, the text can be difficult to read. But it’s only at the beginning. Just like the Monet paintings that can seem like a set of colorful dots from a close perspective, the book gets its real feel after a couple dozen of pages.

It all begins with Clarissa walking down her street, visiting flower shops, and meeting friends. When she meets with Peter Walsh, the old memories are evoked. Peter proposed to Clarissa some years ago and was turned down. They follow and judge each other’s lives closely since that time.

The characters of the book are soldiers who suffer from physical and mental illnesses, husbands who can’t tell “I love you” to their wives because it feels weird, doctors who don’t understand their patients, and other high society members who are lost in their daily worries. To some extent, they either failed to accomplish their life’s goals, or failed to set these goals right.

This book is about the life as it is and the richness we experience in each single day. It is about how people move on, but the life catches up with them at any point in time. Why did we marry the people we married? Why did we fight the wars we fought? These are just some of the thoughts the reader will be left with after finishing the book.

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Mrs Dalloway”, Virginia Woolf’s modernist novel which mimics the unjust nature of 1920’s society in England focuses on the dark places of British culture at that time, and more importantly, the nature of its upper class. Woolf explores the patriarchal authoritarian abuses that were prevalent...

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