What is the importance of war in Mrs. Dalloway ?

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In a novel that takes places fewer than five years after the First World War ended, the impact of the war itself and of the returning soldiers’ difficulties is omnipresent in London. The narrator in Mrs. Dalloway mentions numerous discrete effects in passing, and the character of Septimus embodies an array of problems that one individual veteran could have suffered; more likely, he represents one composite sufferer—a sacrificed symbol of the entire national social body.

With memories of such dangers as aerial bombing, which was a new feature in the Great War, the “ominous” sound of an airplane is sure to be associated with the bombing that Londoners endured. With so many soldiers’ lives lost, many families were affected. In nuclear families, there were thousands of orphans and widows; more broadly, people lost siblings, cousins, and uncles. The narrator tells us that death is much on their minds: “strangers looked at each other and thought of the dead.” Overall, the national...

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