Elements Of Narrative Discourse In Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway

981 Words 4 Pages
Mrs. Dalloway: pages 115-117

Throughout Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf utilizes numerous elements of narrative theory. The element that seems to experience most variance and prevalence is that of the narrative discourse, the story as narrated, in the representation of an event. The narration of the story, through its progression, undergoes numerous shifts in perspective and style. Woolf creates effortless transitions between direct and indirect free discourse while also incorporating traditional third-person narrative within the novel. These transitions result in shifts in perspective, allowing a variety of personal and fresh insight to be offered, as well as changes in the presentation of the overall account. A passage that effectively demonstrates
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This brings forth a second element of narrative theory that appears as a result of the narrative discourse. The constant shift of perspective allows the potential of loss or interference in the progression of the story. Collectively, the narrator, assisted by the discourse of the characters, creates a sense of unreliable narration. This particular passage shows how the presentation of a conversational exchange may be affected, similar to numerous other passages concerning dialogic exchange. When focused within the character’s mind, the reader is led away from others’ direct words and instead sees and hears the affected conversation through the often-wandering mind of the character that holds the current perspective. In this passage, the actual conversation is often seen in an abbreviated form, deviating from the traditional dialogue that incorporates verbal and nonverbal cues, full disclosure of exchange, and standard grammatical tags. This is demonstrated at the bottom of page 115, “what had they been doing? Oh, it was for the party; no, he had not forgotten, the party. Peter Walsh was back. Oh yes; she had had him.” The reader loses the reliable nature of dialogue for one does not know the minute details or accompanying comments that are typically present to offer insight and unaffected information. The validity and wholeness of the conversation must then be acknowledged as lacking. The reader is unable to be truly sure what may be distorted and what has been observed and reported objectively by the external, unnamed

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