What makes "Mrs. Dalloway" a Modernist novel?

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There are several ways in which one can see Mrs. Dalloway as a Modernist novel.  The mose dominant is that the novel's premise marks a "shift" in both content and narrative style.  When Woolf defines Modernism, herself, she does so in a deliberate and pointed manner:  “All human relations shifted,and when human relations change there is at the same time a change in religion, conduct, politics, and literature.”   It is here in which her work can be seen as Modernist in scope. The stream of consciousness style of writing marked a shift in how literature could be constructed.  It was in this where the text become Modernist in scope and in understanding.  In terms of content, Mrs. Dalloway focuses on how the fundamental notion of consciousness- "a whole life in a day"- is part of our being in the world.  This is yet another "shift" in our thinking and in the way "human relations change."  Mrs. Dalloway is not a direct narrative type of protagonist because Woolf believes that this shift which has taken place in both society and intellectual consciousness makes this impossible.  

Clarissa's party features much that marks "an end" to the old and conceives of a new that is fundamentally different than what was in the past.  Clarissa is not a definite social creature.  She does not fully embrace the condition of what women were told to be.  True to this "shift," she articulates a different vision.  War is not seen as nationalistic or patriotic, but rather is "shifted" to be seen as psychologically horrific.    All of these ideas come to represent how the work, itself, is a Modernist one because of the emphasis on this "shift" as an inescapable part of being in the world.

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Where can Mrs. Dalloway  be seen as a novel of Modernism?

When Woolf suggests that the essence of Modernism is the idea that "all human relations have shifted," I think that this becomes one of the driving forces behindMrs. Dalloway.  Consider the construction of consciousness in the novel as an example of Modernism.  Clarissa is representative of the modern individual who is a part of a social order, but simultaneously distant from it.  This alienation is highly Modernist in its suggestion that individuals are not always immersed fully in a social group or in a collective entity. Clarissa's sense of consciousness is defined by how she has one foot in a social setting and another that exists entirely on the outside of it.  Such a reality leads to a sense of fragmentation, the very idea that there is no totality.  This is something that Woolf explores in her novel, as well, lending itself to how it represents Modernist ideas.  Woolf's idea of "human relations shifting" leads also to how Woolf sees the world as one of change.  This aspect of social and political change is another element of Modernist thought that presents itself in Woolf's novel.  The construction of self is done in a shifting setting, where political and social ideas are not static, but rather fluid and in flux.  Accordingly, Clarissa's notion of self is not fixed, reflecting another tenet of Modernist philosophy.

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