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Apart from through society and class, how does Woolf carry out the "social criticism"...

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cristopherhs4 | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 2, 2013 at 12:58 PM via web

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Apart from through society and class, how does Woolf carry out the "social criticism" she sets out to highlight in Mrs. Dalloway?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 2, 2013 at 1:19 PM (Answer #1)

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I would suggest that Woolf's own understanding of Modernism plays heavily into the social criticism in the novel.  Consider own Woolf's own viewpoint:  "All human relations have shifted—those between masters and servants, husbands and wives, parents and children."  For Woolf, there is a significant change in this social pattern that is evoked through the novel.  The discussion of the war and its impact on individuals is part of this shift, one in which individuals must ask questions about themselves and their political leadership. The discussion of colonization in terms of India and Britain's relationship is another "shift" that is emphasized in the novel's handling of the issue of social change.  Additionally, I would suggest Clarissa's questioning of her own condition in the world is one in which the relationship between women and what they are told to do and what they feel they can do is another emphasized "shift."  The social change to which Woolf speaks is to highlight this "shift," a transformation from what is into what can be or what should be.  In  this, Woolf is able to execute the social criticism of the novel.


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