How does Virginia Woolf interweaves stories of "ordinary" lives to address modernist concerns in Mrs Dalloway?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Woolf recognizes that one Modernism is about the "shift" in human relations.  On such "shift" is the idea that the narratives of ordinary lives do not have to have something related to drama or exaggerated conflict.  The hours in people's lives represent the narratives to be told.  In not advocating a central plot, but rather the hours of a day in which individual concerns are evident, Woolf is able to address Modernist concerns.  The individual narratives are ones that form the basis of the hours that pass in a day.  The narratives are not central enough to detract attention from these hours, but rather comprise them.

Woolf embraces the Modernist tendency to see a "shift" in which the novel is representative of consciousness.  Mrs. Dalloway is the compilation of different characters' voices in the setting of a day.  This is where Woolf is able to accomplish her basic idea of setting a novel to the timbre of Modernism.  Within the hours of a day, thoughts arise within the individuals.  In seeking to capture these thoughts, to capture the hours, Woolf is able to accomplish a novel of Modernist proportions.