Virginia Woolf was born in London in 1882, her father Leslie Stephen was a literary critic and philosopher. She was educated at home populated by many brothers and sisters and she met men of letters and learned Greek. Virginia’s favourite place was her parent’s house at St Ives in Cornwall where she spent the summers, indeed she wrote on this place “To the lighthouse”. Her mental instability and gloominess starts with her mother’s death and is increased by her father’s death, she starts to take drugs. At her father’s death the Stephens moved to Bloomsbury, near British Museum, where a group of writers discussed on art or philosophy, they were the Bloomsbury Group, which included the Stephens, Clive Bell, her sister’s husband, Leonard Woolf, her husband, Keynes, and others. They were unconventional, anti-Victorian, they had in common the desire of experimentation. She lived in a bad period, between the two wars and with the second World War she was obsessed and by the fear of going permanently insane she drowned herself in the River Ouse in Sussex in 1941. She wrote The Voyage Out, Night and Day, Jacob’s Room (a man, Jacob who dies in World War I), Mrs Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, The Waves. Virginia uses short time units, for example: one day in Mrs Dalloway, two in To the lighthouse, a few hours in Between the acts.. But short time units are expanded in character’s mind, this is described in Virginia’s Modern Fiction, in which she makes difference between time of the clock, measurable, and time of the mind. She was concerned about women’s rights, indeed she was a volunteer in the movement of women’s suffrage and wrote something about female emancipation as A Room of One’s Own, Three Guineas.
It’s about a story of an ordinary day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of Richard Dalloway, a Member of Parliament. It is in one day, and it is an indirect interior monologue because of the third-person narrator. Virginia Wools uses the stream of consciousness, she rejects the traditional plot and describes character’s minds. It’s set in the Bond Street area in London, and here are shown six lives. PLOT: Clarissa Dalloway spends the day to organize a party at her house, she has invited Peter Walsh too, her young lover who is still in love with her, and while the party is taking place Septimius Warren Smith commits suicide in a less fashionable part of London because of his shock for the World War I, so his psychiatrist tells this news to Clarissa at the party and she is struck by the news, Virginia Woolf is able to show the same day but under the point of view of different characters, Clarissa and Septimius, they have both shared events such as an airplane flying but with different emotions. The novel doesn’t tell us what happens next.
SHE LOVED LIFE, LONDON, THIS MOMENT OF JUNE
It is the beginning of Mrs Dalloway, the novel starts with Clarissa’s interior monologue, so here Virginia Woolf uses the technique of stream of consciousness, indeed the novel begins and ends with main character’s name. The title is relevant to meaning because it’s referred Clarissa’s feelings, she loves life, her traffic city London, and June. One day, in morning, Clarissa goes out to buy flowers for her party and when at line 3 Virginia writes “thought Clarissa Dalloway”, we enter in Clarissa’s stream of thoughts, in her memories, evoked by “squeaking door hinges”, for example. Clarissa remembers when she was eighteen at her country house in Bourton, she remembers her young lover, Peter Walsh, his smile, eyes, pocket-knife, grumpiness, and there’s a flash-forward, a flash of the future, because Peter Walsh would be back from India one of these days, June or July. Mrs Dalloway is seen through the thoughts of Scrope Purvis, her neighbour, he sees her a charming woman, she’s like a bird because of her vitality, vivacity, though she’s over fifty, and she’s white because of her illness, this is the only description of Clarissa that we have. Clarissa’s positive, she loves life, June, she loves traffic, London, and it is consistent with the impression we got from the title .