Mrs. Dalloway

Misconceptions and Mistaken Treatments in Mrs. Dalloway College

The horrors of war have, for centuries, tormented the human soul. Some veterans are able to re-acclimate themselves to normalcy, while others are crippled by trauma due to the gore and violence. In Virginia Woolf's novelistic masterpiece Mrs. Dalloway, Septimus Smith endured the gruesome events of World War I, but returned home severely scarred. Because of the lack of modern medical and psychiatric knowledge that society has today, Septimus’ battle scars killed him in the end. If his caregivers, Holmes (a physician) and Bradshaw (a psychiatrist), had been more attuned to the true nature of his mental incapacities, and had possessed modern, competent medical knowledge, Septimus might not have ended his life.

Let’s first examine Holmes. Ignorance seems to be his basic nature; in fact, he sees distraction as a cure-all. He encourages Septimus to listen to music, play golf, and/or take sleeping pills (2206). He also recommends that Septimus take up some new hobbies, but discourages over-excitement. These distractions may stifle the symptoms temporarily, but they do not help solve the problem. Externally, Septimus is perfectly healthy, so Holmes thinks that there is “nothing whatever seriously the matter but was a little out of...

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