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Mrs. Dalloway

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Nellie McCullough

on 6 January 2014

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Transcript of Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. Dalloway
Hero Cycle Parts 1
1. She is desensitized from a very sterile marriage
- "She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible, unseen; unknown; there being no marrying no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street...this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway" (11).

Hero Cycle Part 2
2. Peter returns and Clarissa thoughts return to the past and what could have been. It makes her contemplate her current life

-" And Clarissa had leant forward, taken his hand, drawn him to her, kissed him, --actually had felt his face on her before she could down the brandishing of silver flashing-- plumes like pampas grass in a topic gale in her breast..." (46)
Hero Cycle Part 3
Clarissa refers to Peter as too spontaneous and passionate for her liking. She fears making a change in her life as dramatic as being with Peter, therefore overcoming the fear by convincing herself of their incompatibility.

"But with Peter everything had to be shared; everything gone into. And it was intolerable, and when it came to that scene in the little garden by the fountain she had to break with them or they would have been destroyed" (8).
Instead of continuing through the hero cycle, Clarissa repeats steps one through three. Wolf's stream of consciousness writing style models snapshots of the daily life of common London people. Their thoughts are often shallow or materialistic and Clarissa, for example, does not move forward enough to fully overcome her fear of change and commit to it.
Septimus's Life
Major characters in Mrs. Dalloway's life
Peter- her childhood romance who re-enters her life in London, he is remarrying but seems to not be in love with anyone
except Clarissa
Sally- also from Clarissa's past, through her carefree nature she inspired Clarissa. However, she now conforms to society in London
Elizabeth- her daughter who she does not have a good relationship with
Richard- her husband who is secure, but bland (no passion in their relationship)
Ms. Kilman- Elizabeth's tutor and she is very educated, but feels shunned by society. Clarissa does not like Ms. Kilman and Elizabeth's relationship.
Septimus- a World War I veteran who suffers from PTSD. He is self educated, but is unable to feel anything related to daily life
Rezia- Septimus's Italian wife who is frustrated because she does not know how to re-interest Septimus
Holmes/Sir William- two doctors that he saw
they wanted him to be sent to a home, they treat him as if he has no say
Hero Cycle Repeat
Hero Cycle Deviation: Clarissa
As with her consideration of her relationship with Peter, Clarissa models only steps 1-3 in the context of her relationship with her daughter.
1. "Gloves and shoes; she had a passion for gloves; but her own daughter, her Elizabeth, cared not a straw for either of them" (11).
2. "This woman had taken her daughter from her!"(125).
3. "And Richard and Elizabeth were glad it was over, but Richard was proud of his daughter" (194).
Motifs/ Symbols
Peter's Pocketknife= Phallic symbol, Peter often fiddles with his pocketknife representing his uncertainty and hesitancy in life
Time- Big Ben, Clarissa's life is always the same thing every day so the passage of time does not change anything, "There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air" (5).
Death- Death often consumes Clarissa's and Peter's thoughts and Septimus even kills himself, " chill and sharp and yet (for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen" (3).
Hero Cycle Part 1
-Septimus is initially a young and impressionable individual whose life revolves around his studies and comparatively insignificant schoolboy interests.

"He went to France to save an England which consisted almost entirely of Shakespeare's plays and Miss Isabel Pole in a green dress walking in a square... he developed manliness" (86).
Hero Cycle Part 2
-Septimus perceives the war as an opportunity to become a man. The change he unknowingly moves toward, however, is grim.

"There in the trenches the change which Mr. Brewer desired when he advised football was produced instantly; [Septimus] developed manliness" (86).
Septimus Part 3
Septimus does not give his respect to either of his doctors. Although he clearly suffers from PTSD, he is very unwilling to accept help from both Rezia and his doctors. It almost seems as if he does not want to help.

"When the damned fool came again, Septimus refused to see him" (91).
Septimus Part 8 and 12
Septimus never clearly expressed his view toward death until he killed himself, which obviously reflects he found death the best solution for himself. Therefore, although he skips many steps, Septimus ultimately reaches mastery by concluding that in order to achieve a new life full of feeling, he must die.
Septimus Part 4
Despite his overall removed nature, Septimus definitely acts with clarity when he and Rezia collaborate to perfect Mrs. Peter's hat.

"They were perfectly happy now, she said, suddenly, putting the hat down" (146).
Septimus Part 4.2
But this is an isolated incident. The hero cycle breaks here because Septimus never definitively overcomes his PTSD. One could argue, however, that he frees himself from it by relinquishing the physical world and retiring to a separate, unconventional reality.
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