To what extent is Mrs Dalloway successful in its purpose, content and impact upon the audience?

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To the extent that we are still reading and talking about Mrs. Dalloway almost one hundred years later, we would have to say this is a novel that has been successful in its purpose, content, and impact on its audience. Arguably, Woolf has never been more influential than in the...

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To the extent that we are still reading and talking about Mrs. Dalloway almost one hundred years later, we would have to say this is a novel that has been successful in its purpose, content, and impact on its audience. Arguably, Woolf has never been more influential than in the present day, as the world "catches up" to her thinking.

Mrs. Dalloway is an experimental novel, written at the same time as Joyce's Ulysses, and like that work, written in stream-of-consciousness and covering a single day. Its purpose is to use the stream-of-consciousness form to more accurately depict how people actually experience life and to illustrate how subjective that experience is. While her novel can be confusing because it changes point-of-view so often, she is, in my opinion, successful in both vividly depicting London through various perspectives and in her purpose of conveying her ideas about how patriarchy, be it through war or psychiatry, destroys people's lives.

Woolf is also successful in communicating her content, which parallels the life and suicide of Septimus Smith, who is unable to recover from his World War I "shell shock," and Clarissa Dalloway, who affirms life when she throws a successful party. The two lives come together finally at the party, as Clarissa hears of Septimus's suicide. Thus, while depicting a successful party, Woolf is also able to critique the leaders of society that attend, such as the prime minister and Septimus's doctor, as forces of destruction.

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