Modernism & Woolf

Modernism & Woolf

  • Submitted By: mikeb
  • Date Submitted: 11/02/2009 8:51 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1264
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 2

‘We modern novelists, Woolf explained, look at human nature, at psychology – not at issues, at societies, at externalities.’ (Wheeler, 1998:95)

It is the intent of this essay to explore the modernist traits of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway in relation to the statement, “We modern novelists, look to human nature, at psychology – not at issues, at societies, at externalities (Wheeler, 1998:95).” In Woolf’s own words she, as a modernist, explored and was interested in the nature and psychology of humanity. Woolf as a modernist was not interested in exploring the broader issues of society; instead, Woolf delves into the internal workings of human nature through her characters; their thoughts, memories and desires. It is clear within the text that Woolf employs several literary techniques, which have become associated with modernist literature such as, stream of consciousness, multiple points of view, indecorous content, and a retreat from narrative descriptions of externality replacing this with a focus on emphasizing interiority. In this essay however, the focus will be on the aspects pertaining to the exploration of the inherent nature and psychology of humanity.

It is clear after an examination of the novel Mrs. Dalloway, in relation to the above quote, that Woolf has endeavored to explore the inner mechanism that drives our existence in the world and the subtle variations in each moment which can inevitably have a profound or similarly innocuous effect on an individual depending on the way in which the individual considers and reacts to, and with, the world around them. It is these seemingly unimportant moments that fill every minute of every day constructing and culminating into the life we live. Woolf explores these moments using a combination of a narrator who moves both with and through the thoughts of the characters an omniscient neutral voice combined with a stream of conscious thought and sparing reactionary dialogue. The text moves through the...

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