Mrs. Dalloway

Financial Despair in the Modern Era

Critic Bradbury states that “With light taxation, no inflation, cheap food, cheap labour, a plentiful supply of domestic servants, many ordinary middle class families with modest incomes lived full and comfortable lives. No wonder that so many who came from such families and survived the War, looking back, felt that there was a grace, an ease, a security of living then which has since been lost forever” (62). This statement clarifies the difference between the individual free from the modernist influence and the individual adversely affected by the modernist influence. It attests to the notion that the extreme physical and mental anguish suffered at the hands of the battles in WWI was not the only burden facing those under the modernist guise, those experiencing despair, ambivalence, and loss of meaning in existence, among other sentiments. These newly established financial burdens also served as a source of contention and despair for those families who made it through WWI.

In Dubliners, James Joyce conveys this message in two ways. First he does so from a third person point-of-view, depicting lower class financial woes in “Two Gallants” through the characterization of Lenehan. Joyce also depicts middle class jealousy of the...

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