Mrs. Dalloway

Mrs. Dalloway: The Self-characterization and Introspection of Virginia Woolf

It is neither unique nor uncommon for great authors to weave themselves into the fabric of their own works; it is a technique that adds realism and believability to otherwise complex fictional characters. D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers and James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man are examples of this occurrence in which the main character is a literarily-conscious version of the author himself. Oftentimes authors will imbue their characters with aspects of their own personalities because such familiar characteristics offer depth and insight to a figure's development. However, it is distinctly less common for an author to create a complete portrait of herself spread among several characters, rather than taking on the role of a single central figure. In Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf accomplishes such a feat by separating her own personality among the two characters Clarissa Dalloway and Septimus Warren Smith. These counterparts serve to illustrate the devastating polar extremes caused by Woolf's manic depression, yet still remain faithful to the less than 24-hour timeframe of the story.

The character of Mrs. Dalloway was not new at the time that she wrote the novel. Both Clarissa and her husband...

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