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The analysis of the novel "Mrs. Dalloway" by Virginia Woolf

             Dalloway" is an account of one day in the life of an upper class British woman, her husband, her daughter and her circle of friends. Woolf's narration of Clarissa Dalloway's day begins with her protagonist's preparations for a party she is holding at her house that evening, and it ends as the party is finished. Clarissa is visited by an old friend, Peter Walsh, and her mind is returned to a time thirty years earlier when she thought of marrying him. Instead, she opted for the staid Richard Dalloway, and, as she goes about her daily business, Clarissa reflects on the choices she has made and the significant moments that have shaped the course of her life. Beyond the individual stories, "Mrs. Dalloway" presents the British Empire as an entity that had sacrificed so many lives in the WWI in order to preserve itself, and yet was already in decline. There are hints of the agitation for independence in India, of the Labour Party's activity and women's drive for social and political equality. The stream-of-consciousness technique, that is widely used in the novel and the narration, changed from calmly flowing to nervously jerking, makes its style remarkable. Woolf juxtaposes Clarissa's present experience with flashbacks to her life as it was thirty years ago. Moments when life decisions are made, are set in contrast to the seemingly insignificant moments. She suggests that these very small moments give meaning to life. Woolf depicts mostly not the actions, but moods, thoughts, perceptions and memories of the characters. The contrast between past memory and present experience infuses the novel with a sense of contingency. For example, by thinking about the decision to marry the traditionally-minded Richard instead of the restless Peter, Clarissa becomes conscious at various moments throughout her day that the life she is leading is only one of many possible lives that she could be leading.

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