What kinds of love are depicted in Mrs. Dalloway and how are they relevant to the narrative and to the genre of modernism?

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Woolf depicts love in many forms in her novel Mrs. Dalloway, but one form of love that is particularly representative of the Modernist outlook is the love that Doris Kilman secretly feels towards her charge, the lovely Elizabeth Dalloway, daughter of the title character, and the love she feels for Jesus Christ.

Doris Kilman is Elizabeth's teacher, and she is of German descent which makes her an outsider in the post-war setting of Mrs. Dalloway's London life. She is a bitter, dreary woman, unhappy and contrarian in her views, but her two great loves, Jesus Christ and Elizabeth, bring her moments of hope, joy, and fulfillment. That her deep love for these two individuals even exists is interesting, because all signs show that Miss Kilman's love is unrequited. Miss Kilman's disappointment in love suggests that love and the requisite warmth, affection, and connection that potentially results from love may be a futile hope in the modern age.

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There are several kinds of love present in Mrs....

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