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Poems by T. S. Eliot

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 801
  • Category: Poems

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Adeline Virginia Stephen was born in London, England in 1882 to an affluential man in the writing industry and a beautiful socialite. In her early adulthood Virginia would experience the death of her parents, two of her siblings, and an aunt who helped raise her. Death and depression became (HELP ME FIND A WORD) to her and would be a common theme until her death. In 1912, Virginia married Leonard Woolf, a brilliant writer and critic. Five years after they were married, Virginia and Leonard founded Hogarth Press, they found success by publishing many books including:

Poems by T. S. Eliot, Prelude by Katherine Mansfield, and Kew Gardens by Virginia Woolf. March 28th ,1941 Virginia Woolf died by drowning which many believe was suicide. (BIOGRAPHY add to citation page) Mrs. Dalloway was written and published in 1925 and become one of Woolf’s most well-known novels. The inner thoughts of many characters are explored through a day in London. The main character is high society house wife named Clarissa Dalloway. The novel begins with Clarissa who is shopping in preparation for a dinner party she is hosting. When Clarissa returns home she is met by Peter, a former lover and friend.

During their encounter he poses many questions that make Clarissa wonder if she has made the right decisions in marrying her husband. The novel then shifts to Peter’s perspective as he spends most his time at a park obsessing on the reason’s Clarissa rejected him in the past. In the same park Septimus and his wife Luceriza sit awaiting an appointment with Dr. Bradshaw a psychiatrist that treats Septimus for shell shock. After returning from World War I, Septimus is driven mad because of his experiences, and he feels the sacrifices he has made for London were in vein.

The novel shifts again to Richard, Clarissa’s husband as he attends a brunch. During this time his mind races with thoughts of his marriage and their happiness. He wonders if he has expressed his love often enough and intends on telling her when he returns home. Instead of an “I love you” he gives her flowers. The focus shifts again back to Septimus and his wife who are sharing a lovely day before he is taken to a psychiatric home. When Bradshaw enters the home Septimus states he would rather die then to have his soul taken from a doctor, so he throws himself out of a window to his death.

Clarissa’s party began with all guests attending promptly except for Dr. Bradshaw and his wife as he was dealing with Septimus’ death. Upon arriving they announce what has happened with Septimus much to Clarissa’s dismay. She is not angry or saddened by his death but jealous because he was able to seize the opportunity of death as she has longed to do. The elements of storytelling that help shape the remarkable masterpiece of Mrs. Dalloway are theme, character, and symbolism. Theme is the most important element of storytelling used because time and facing death are common thoughts of all main characters in the novel.

Character is important because interconnectivity of all characters help support and compose the strength of the theme. Woolf uses symbolism to aid in the development of the characters. Time is the most notable theme in Mrs. Dalloway because the sounds from clocks are a constant reminder to the characters of their inevitable mortality. Life is measured by time passing on a clock or calendar, it takes no consideration to how fulfilled a person is. The famous clock tower Big Ben the time keeper for the people of London is a relentless annoyance to Clarissa.

“The sound of Big Ben flooded Clarissa’s drawing-room where she sat, ever so annoyed, at her writing table; worried; annoyed” (Woolf 117). The ringing of the bells is a constant reminder to Clarissa that she has not done anything of measurable success with her life. One critic noted “…the fame of Big Ben suggests that the mark we leave on the world be something grand, something renowned” (Armntrout). Clarissa has led the typical life of high society housewife of her time; hosting dinner parties and rearing her child were her only responsibilities, yet she longed for more.

At the age of 51 she fears her time to leave a legacy are over and with every strike of Big Ben her impending doom seems closer, “a suspense before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air” (Woolf 4). Throughout, the chimes of the clock are used to assist in shift the consciousness of a character from past to present. Woolf makes the point that the physical life we live is unimportant compared to the soul, “the unseen,” which lives on forever, “surviving” and “haunting,” even after death.

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