What do the flowers in Mrs Dalloway represent?
For Clarissa Dalloway, flowers primarily represent the joy and beauty of life. They also have a more conventional meaning, as they are associated with love and femininity. In relation to the latter, it's notable that Sally's rough handling of flowers isn't just an attack on a thing of beauty, it's decidedly unfeminine:
Sally went out, picked hollyhocks, dahlias – all sorts of flowers that had never been seen together – cut their heads off, and made them swim on the top of water in bowls. The effect was extraordinary – coming in to dinner in the sunset. (Of course Aunt Helena thought it wicked to treat flowers like that.)
There is clearly a generational gap in Aunt Helena's and Sally's respective attitudes towards femininity. But Sally isn't really unfeminine at all; she simply expresses her femininity more unconventionally than other women. An example of this comes when she plants a kiss on Clarissa, a kiss that lingers long in her memory. This is Sally's unique way of choosing a...
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