In Mrs. Dalloway, does Clarissa host parties because of her innate desire to bring people together or simply because she's fulfilling her role as an upper-class lady? Or does she host parties for another reason? Clarissa, who has been described (perhaps rather derisively) as the "perfect hostess," does mention that she believes her parties are something of "gift," meant to bring people who live somewhat isolated lives together.

In Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa hosts her parties to bring enjoyment into a dreary post-war world and to give herself a sense of purpose while bringing others joy.

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Clarissa's throwing parties is more concerned with her innate love of life than with trying to please other people. Having said that, Clarissa does want those who attend her parties to enjoy themselves and to experience a similar love of life.

In this way, Clarissa's parties can be seen as a way of sharing her joie de vivre with other people, of spreading the joy around a little. On reflection, however, Clarissa's not quite sure as to whom these parties are ultimately supposed to benefit. It would seem that they're more about her than about those attending them.

In any case, in throwing these parties, Clarissa is creating a gift of some kind; the only question is to whom this gift is being given. Is it to herself or to the people who come to her parties? Clarissa herself isn't entirely sure.

To a large extent, this is because, in true modernist fashion, she feels herself alone in what is an increasingly atomized world. This means that social occasions such as parties no longer have quite...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 876 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on October 29, 2020
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