Tag Archives: clarissa

Realization as a Comment of Style

As a child he had walked in Regent’s Park-odd, he thought, how the thought of childhood keeps coming back to me-the result of seeing Clarissa, perhaps; for women live much more in the past then we do, he though.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.55

Peter’s remark on how women tend to reminisce on past events is indicative of Woolf’s use of analepsis when Woolf’s narrative is focalized around female characters in the novel.

Woolf’s syntax

“But, thank you, Lucy, oh, thank you,” said Mrs. Dalloway, and thank you, thank you, she went on saying (sitting down on the sofa with her dress over her knees, her scissors, her silks), thank you, thank you, she went on saying in gratitude to her servants generally for helping her to be like this, to be what she wanted, gentle, generous-hearted. Her servants liked her. And then this dress of hers – where was the tear? and now her needle to be threaded. This was a favourite dress, one of Sally Parker’s the last almost she ever made, alas, for Sally had now retired, living at Ealing, and if ever I have a moment, thought Clarissa (but never would she have a moment any more), I shall go and see her at Ealing.”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print. p.38

In this particular example, one can see how Woolf uses syntax to reflect Clarissa’s character. Clarissa is shown here to be vivacious as she thanks the servants numerous times. Also, the way she moves from one idea to the next (the dress to Sally Parker), it shows the quickness to her thinking. The language of this paragraph (the sound of it) shows the liveliness in her thinking and the positive energy she is trying to maintain in her life.

Time and youth

“But she feared time itself and read on Lady Bruton’s face, as if it had been a dial cut in impassive stone, the dwindling life; how year by year her share was sliced; how little the margin that remained was capable any longer stretching of absorbing, as in  the youthful years, the colors, salts, tone of existence, so that she filled the room as she entered and felt often as she stood hesitating one moment on the threshold of her drawing-room, an exquisite suspense…”(30).

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print. p.30

We see time become a key important theme within the novel and it is interesting to see that she referring to Clarissa who fears time itself, but yet time goes slow throughout the novel which makes it quite ironic. She sees her life dwindling down and she does not want it to end since she wants to feel the youthful years once again. Woolf uses strong diction to describe youth like tone of existence and colors since young people are usually filled with life while older women feel the color fades and grows quite hesitant.