Sex And Economics In Mrs. Dalloway And The Secret Agent By Joseph Conrad

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Sex and Economics The third and final rubric I devised for the remaining two texts of the course is regarding sex and economics in Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad. These two texts are very deeply rooted in sex and the economics of marriage. Woolf presents yet another willful, married woman. Yet Mrs. Dalloway seemingly trapped in a conventional and boring marriage with a conventional man, appears to be fairly content with her decision. The debate of marriage is one that is prevalent in both of these texts. Mrs. Dalloway herself does not seem to understand her own sex and struggles to identify with herself. In The Secret Agent, Winnie Verloc’s struggle with marriage is different than Mrs. Dalloway’s, yet …show more content…
Dalloway appears to enjoy her domesticity and maternal chores as “Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself” (Woolf 3). The act of buying these flowers is inherently domestic, and Mrs. Dalloway is completely placid with this activity. The sanctity of marriage is shown in the text as being very important to women in society, not because women need to get married or always want to, but because this is what is expected of them. Sally Seton was a wild-spirited young woman who kissed Mrs. Dalloway when they were both younger. Sally walked around naked in her home when that was considered indecent as a visitor could show up at any moment. Sally and Mrs. Dalloway were in love, yet when Mrs. Dalloway sees Sally at her party all these years later, she is barely recognizable, and is now Lady Rosseter who has five sons. Her youthful and energetic days are over as Sally is replaced with an unrecognizable woman, completely tamed by the conventions of marriage. Yet Mrs. Dalloway herself, having married a man of status, has been changed as well. She now looks down upon people who resemble what Sally and Mrs. Dalloway were like in their youth. I included Mrs. Dalloway in this rubric because the marriage issue is a core theme at the centre of this novel, as most of Mrs. Dalloway’s past events are romantic issues. Peter Walsh and Sally Seton both competed for Mrs. Dalloway’s attention, until Mrs. Dalloway herself chose a man who was unexpected, Richard Dalloway. Mrs. …show more content…
Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad delve into the world of the married woman in ways that have not been previously explored. Mrs. Dalloway and Winnie both married for the purpose of security, one wanted status and the other wanted protection for their beloved sibling. Mrs. Dalloway’s entire disposition changed upon entering marriage, and she realizes this as she sees her old friend Sally Seton whom has also changed as much as she has upon entering marriage. Yet the difference between Mrs. Dalloway and Winnie, is that Mrs. Dalloway enjoys her life as a married woman a little more than Winnie. Her anxieties about her various relationships are present, yet she does love Richard enough to marry him without regretting her decision. On the other hand, Winnie married Verloc completely dependent on the fact that he could provide for her and her family. Winnie’s murder of Verloc by invocation of Stevie’s ghost can be seen as an allegorical way of divorce. Especially when related to the larger scheme of marriage and the ‘marriage question’ at the time. Verloc wronged Winnie, without taking responsibility for his actions, therefore she metaphorically left him and left her oppressed lifestyle. It can be seen as a metaphor for the intensely violent ways marriage can be towards women, therefore women have had to exert just as much force to escape a toxic marriage as the man is placing on them in the marriage. Mrs. Dalloway and Winnie Verloc are two

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