In Mrs. Dalloway, why does Clarissa host parties? Is it out of a desire to connect people, to fulfill her upper-class role, or another reason?

Clarissa, who has been described as the "perfect hostess," believes her parties are a "gift," meant to bring people who live somewhat isolated lives together.

Quick answer:

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 same significance that they once did, when society was more unified and coherent.

Once upon a time, there was never any serious doubt as to why such celebrations took place and what they really meant. But in the modern world depicted in Mrs. Dalloway, this is no longer a straightforward matter, as Clarissa's lack of certainty amply demonstrates.

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I would argue that in the morbid, post-war times in which they live, Clarissa hosts parties in order to avoid losing her mind and to help others to avoid losing theirs. The character of Septimus, who commits suicide hours before the start of Clarissa's latest party, bears testament to the depression suffered by many in the aftermath of the war. For Clarissa, throwing parties were a way of creating meaning, a reminder of the importance of social conduct, and a ray of sunshine in dark times.

To put this another way, Clarissa hosts these parties because she feels responsible for providing a setting in which her guests, who have been through so much, can enjoy themselves. The fact that she tells every person at her parties that it is delightful to see them is indicative of a character determined to bring some light and happiness into a dreary world. The fact that the Prime Minister arrives at her party gives a clear indication of the social standing which her parties have acquired.

As a lady of the upper class, Clarissa considers throwing her parties as an act of genuine kindness that she can bestow on the community. They also help to distract her from the challenges of her advancing years, give her a purpose, and keep her impending existential crisis at bay.

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The semi-ornate marriage of Richard and Clarissa Dalloway is quite representative of the social English traditions of their times; the demonstration of a productive and virtuous home, of a care-free lifestyle, and of a (even if falsely) loving family is the primary proof of a head of household who has done "well" for himself, especially after the turmoil of World War I.

In a way, we could say that, considering her social station, Mrs. Dalloway does not have much of a choice as far as to how to live her life. At fifty two years of age, she has lived through the peak of Victorianism; a time where women were seen and not heard. Moreover, the historical context of the novel occurs during a time where entertaining was the chief occupation of the upper-class lady.

Surely Clarissa was quite aware of that when she chose Richard as her husband, and there is little evidence to suggest that her entertainment was done in any way ill at-ease. We could safely conclude that the entertaining duties are second-nature to a character like Clarissa, and that this kind of activity is quite expected from a woman of her class.

However, the fact that Mrs. Dalloway is actually quite a retrospective and self-analytical character makes us wonder to what extent the superficial portrayal of her family makes her actually happy. After all, she is a woman who claims to want to find herself.

She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea and alone; she always had the feeling that it was very, very dangerous to live even one day.

Therefore, as you statement says, in a London society shaken from its foundations by the War, and now surrounded by the shell-shocked, the broken, and the scared, Mrs. Dalloway has come to the realization that the new world which surrounds her is quite alone. Alone, together. She sees how each of the people she knows has known pain and still try to move on. With a bit of a grudge, she realizes that she has been overly protected and, perhaps even way too lucky, to feel what the shaken have felt. She may even wish to be one of the people who were touched by a life-changing event, however, she realizes that her life is basically what will always be: a superficial show of cohesiveness.

Conclusively, Mrs. Dalloway  she uses the medium of togetherness as a way to humanize an otherwise sad situation.

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