Mrs. Dalloway

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's October 2001

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Throughout the novel, Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, the protagonist, Clarissa Dalloway is constantly struggling with her relationships, both past and present. Never satisfied and invariably in peril as to her decisions, her relationships, especially with Peter Walsh, are picked apart and exposed throughout her daydreams and flashbacks of her younger days. As Clarissa prepares for her party, deemed her pride and joy, we are brought into her world and her internal struggles are unveiled as we learn of her still present emotions toward Peter.

Growing up and alongside Peter created a bond that scared Clarissa and rather than facing the fear and marrying Peter, Clarissa ran to the safety of a distant friend, "admirable Richard" (41). However, her actions seem to be unsettled and irritating to Clarissa who constantly questions her final decision to marry Richard rather than Peter. As Clarissa runs errands and begins to prepare for her party, not only is her day interrupted by daydreams of her days at Bourton, but also is interrupted by an unexpected visit by Peter.

Peter, looking "awfully well and just the same," brings back to the present all the welling feelings Clarissa has tried so hard to suppress (40). After not seeing Peter for years, Clarissa is confused by the waves of feelings washing over her, "passing through all that time" and still overwhelming her (43). This unexpected visit awakens in Clarissa feelings she has for so long silenced and again is confronted with the decision she made to marry Richard rather than Peter.

Awash with revived emotions, Clarissa still has her guard up, allowing Peter to see no weakness or unhappiness in her life and marriage. Creating the facade that she is content in her decision, rather than admitting that Richard is at a luncheon to which...

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