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Examine which is the best critical theory (approach) to analyse and interpret Mrs...

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p1041 | eNoter

Posted October 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM via web

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Examine which is the best critical theory (approach) to analyse and interpret Mrs Dalloway: Liberal humanism, structuralism, stylistic, psychoanlytical or post modernism.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 30, 2013 at 10:32 AM (Answer #1)

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I tend to think that Mrs. Dalloway can be best seen as a Modernist work and this becomes the best lens with which to analyze and interpret it.  When Woolf writes about Modernism, she seems to be embodying much of what Mrs. Dalloway represents:  "All human relations shifted and when human relations change there is at the same time a change in religion, conduct, politics, and literature.”  Modernism is the best critical theory or approach to analyze and interpret Mrs. Dalloway because this lens is so effective in embracing so much of the work's intensity.  In assessing the "shift" that is so intrinsic to Modernism in Mrs. Dalloway, a greater sense of the work's power is revealed.  From the use of the female narrator, to the delving into both human consciousness and what it means to be a woman, to the dual narrative offered in Clarissa and Septimus, to even the configuration of time, analyzing the work from a Modernist point of view reveals much of its meaning and significance.

In analyzing the work from a Modernist position, one is able to see the exact contours of what it means to experience a "shift" in all aspects of being.  The work assesses change in politics, identity, social structure, and psychological notions of self.  It is from this Modernist condition in which other approaches can be evident.  Woolf recognizes how her work embraces the Modernist tendencies.  Woolf understands the historical condition in which she is writing and applies Modernism to this time period, one in which there is a clear "shift" in human relations both internally amongst individuals and externally in which how individuals interact with their world.

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