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What are some comparisons between "Bliss" and Mrs. Dalloway?

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samc74 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 14, 2010 at 11:59 PM via web

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What are some comparisons between "Bliss" and Mrs. Dalloway?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 28, 2010 at 2:54 AM (Answer #1)

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The narratives of both "Bliss" and Mrs. Dalloway cover a day in the life of the heroine and both center on the day's major event, that being a dinner party hosted by the heroine. In "Bliss," Bertha goes through her day with a wonderful sense of peace and happiness. She contemplates the pear tree in her garden and sees that its beauty symbolizes her life and her expansive happiness. While she admires the projection of herself in her pear tree, cats run across the yard, and Bertha views their presence as a marring one.

In contrast, Mrs. Dalloway goes through her day in a contemplative mood, not exactly unhappy but thoughtful. At home, she has words with her daughter, has to mend her dress, and is surprised by the visit of a past suitor.

After Bertha's dinner party, during which she is filled with a wonderful sense of happiness with her life and husband, she unhappily discovers that her husband is having an affair with the woman whom she has just shared a special bond with--the woman named Pearl. Her first instinct is to run to the window to look out at her pear tree, seemingly expecting to see it withered and dead. However it looks just as it did when she shared the bond of the beauty of it with Pearl earlier.

Similarly, Mrs. Dalloway is exceptionally pleased with the progress of her dinner party, feeling that her hostessing of parties such as these fills a good service in the lives of her guests. She too receives a shock in the news of the violent and sudden self-inflicted death of a young man (ironically one she had shared a park with earlier in the day). However, Mrs. Dalloway's party ends with self-confirmation rather than self-deterioration because she confirms her choices in life and reappears at her party after retreating for a moment of adjustment to the entrance of death at her party. The narrative ends with the confirming statement: "For there she was."

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted May 28, 2010 at 3:10 AM (Answer #2)

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The narratives of both "Bliss" and Mrs. Dalloway cover a day in the life of the heroine and both center on the day's major event, that being a dinner party hosted by the heroine. In "Bliss," Bertha goes through her day with a wonderful sense of peace and happiness. She contemplates the pear tree in her garden and sees that its beauty symbolizes her life and her expansive happiness. While she admires the projection of herself in her pear tree, cats run across the yard, and Bertha views their presence as a marring one.
In contrast, Mrs. Dalloway goes through her day in a contemplative mood, not exactly unhappy but thoughtful. At home, she has words with her daughter, has to mend her dress, and is surprised by the visit of a past suitor.
After Bertha's dinner party, during which she is filled with a wonderful sense of happiness with her life and husband, she unhappily discovers that her husband is having an affair with the woman whom she has just shared a special bond with--the woman named Pearl. Her first instinct is to run to the window to look out at her pear tree, seemingly expecting to see it withered and dead. However it looks just as it did when she shared the bond of the beauty of it with Pearl earlier.
Similarly, Mrs. Dalloway is exceptionally pleased with the progress of her dinner party, feeling that her hostessing of parties such as these fills a good service in the lives of her guests. She too receives a shock in the news of the violent and sudden self-inflicted death of a young man (ironically one she had shared a park with earlier in the day). However, Mrs. Dalloway's party ends with self-confirmation rather than self-deterioration because she confirms her choices in life and reappears at her party after retreating for a moment of adjustment to the entrance of death at her party. the narrative with the confirming statement: "For there she was."

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