Mrs. Dalloway: A Scathing Analysis

1354 Words 6 Pages
A Scathing Review
Some novels are passed down through history because they offer great entertainment, while others have great historical significance, yet at first glance Mrs. Dalloway seems to have little to no significance at all. In reality Mrs. Dalloway actually is an attempt to scrutinize the social injustices of the time from a real person’s point of view, without compromising true life and thought in any aspect. Through one particularly poignant scene of Clarissa Dalloway’s inner monologue, Woolf is attempting to give society a scathing review regarding its injustice towards woman, as well as the division it creates between people of different backgrounds.
Throughout the novel Clarissa is scrutinized for a variety of reasons, by almost
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Men were expected to work and do the hard labor to provide for the family, and in return the woman kept the home a place of calm and relaxation for the man when he would return. Because of this women are not expected to achieve anything great and this causes Clarissa to note that, “Nothing else had she of the slightest importance; could not think write or even play the piano” (119). Clearly Clarissa has an intense criticism of herself as is evident of her statement “could not think”. The readers are privy to her private thoughts as Woolf wrote the book as an honest tribute to the real stream of consciousness, therefore we know Clarissa actually had profound thoughts. Woolf is asserting that woman were oppressed not only in physical work and equality but in their thoughts as well. They are repeatedly told men are much better therefore they think men must be better when in reality the only difference in intelligence between Clarissa and any man is the education and opportunity they were provided. Without a sense of self pride an intelligent woman like Clarissa would desperately search for purpose and thus an even further cause as to why she values her role as a host for parties. Clarissa also exemplifies the reason Peter and Richard feel disdain for her parties when she asserts, “could any man understand what she meant either? about life? She could not …show more content…
She recognizes that the society is oppressing woman, and therefore is using this passage to encourage the equality that women should enjoy. This is also an early attempt to tear down the strict gender barriers defined at the time. Woolf would only see this novel as a success if it led to the further awareness, or even change, of the oppression society provided its members at the time.
Mrs. Dalloway might seem like a monotonous story that emphasizes nothing of importance at first, but the continuous brutal honesty of Woolf is a tool used to emphasize what Woolf is critiquing about society. Woolf’s rhetoric embodies Clarissa’s own moral dilemma regarding a search for purpose, where it is not readily available. Through this continuous stream of thought Woolf is effectively able to call out the issues with division between men and woman as well as people from different backgrounds, in a way that does not sacrifice any truth for the sake of

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