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Where can Mrs. Dalloway  be seen as a novel of Modernism?

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ruchinka | Student, Undergraduate | eNoter

Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:48 PM via web

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Where can Mrs. Dalloway  be seen as a novel of Modernism?

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

Posted May 19, 2012 at 6:57 PM (Answer #1)

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When Woolf suggests that the essence of Modernism is the idea that "all human relations have shifted," I think that this becomes one of the driving forces behindMrs. Dalloway.  Consider the construction of consciousness in the novel as an example of Modernism.  Clarissa is representative of the modern individual who is a part of a social order, but simultaneously distant from it.  This alienation is highly Modernist in its suggestion that individuals are not always immersed fully in a social group or in a collective entity. Clarissa's sense of consciousness is defined by how she has one foot in a social setting and another that exists entirely on the outside of it.  Such a reality leads to a sense of fragmentation, the very idea that there is no totality.  This is something that Woolf explores in her novel, as well, lending itself to how it represents Modernist ideas.  Woolf's idea of "human relations shifting" leads also to how Woolf sees the world as one of change.  This aspect of social and political change is another element of Modernist thought that presents itself in Woolf's novel.  The construction of self is done in a shifting setting, where political and social ideas are not static, but rather fluid and in flux.  Accordingly, Clarissa's notion of self is not fixed, reflecting another tenet of Modernist philosophy.

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