A revolution in plot and style
Set in London, this is the story of an ordinary day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, the wife of Richard Dalloway, a Member of Parliament.
•The novel starts with one of Clarissa’s monologues. It is, in a sense, the most important in the whole book since it introduces us to the “stream of consciousness” technique and to the novel main character, Mrs Dalloway.
On a London morning, she plunges into the life of the city with intense pleasure: all the sights, sounds, people, machines, things, that come her way are filtered through her mind. Also those things of the past are filtered of her mind, evoking by, for example, squeaking door hinges (cerniere scricchiolanti)
The importance of the day depends of 2 things:
1)The interior monologues of the characters, which express their inner lives
Past and Present and mental impressions run through the mind of the main character, Clarissa. The result is chaotic, vital and fascinating, like any stream of consciousness.
2) The way their lives cross without their even realize it which shows the irony and the mystery of individual destiny.
•In Mrs Dalloway 6 lives are shown during one day in the Bond Street Area of London (similar to the one day in the life of Dublin in Ulysses by James Joyce).
•The novel is characterized by the way in which what goes on within the mind of the characters, overlaps with what goes on outside, in the external reality. In fact, what is important depends not on the event in itself, but on the impression it makes on the human consciousness.
•Virginia Woolf rejects the traditional eventful plot (trama movimentata). All her attention is turned to describing the working of her characters’ mind and, to do so, she makes a great use of the interior monologue, often at the expense of the traditional dialogue.
•Her sentences are often broken by dashes (trattini) and semicolons, to reproduce the incessant and irregular flux of thought as it builds up in the mind.