Loneliness vs. Attachment

Markgraf – 1
Stasic Markgraf
Dr. Dimovitz
EN210 – Introduction to Literature
May 3, 2010
Loneliness vs Attachment
    Virginia Woolf's modernist novel Mrs. Dalloway first appeared on bookshelves some eighty-five years ago.   The deceptively simple story of a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway is full of interconnected characters and storylines, revealing the complexities of human nature.   A sense of regret permeates this story, even as the characters struggle to accept their choices and put on the happy face expected of them.   At the same time, the connection between the characters is in stark contrast to the sense of loneliness and disconnectedness the characters feel.
    Clarissa Dalloway is a fifty-two year old woman married to a British politician.   It is a fine day in the middle of June, and London is bustling with energy just after the end of World War I, as Clarissa sets out to buy flowers for a party she is hosting that night.   We quickly are swallowed into Clarissa’s stream of consciousness, and that of the characters she meets this day.   (“Stream of consciousness” is a hallmark of Woolf’s style.)   Immediately we are caught up in ease with which Clarissa bemuses her choice not to marry her old love, Peter Walsh. “If he were with me now what would he say?” (7)   She justifies her decision with the thought that partners in a marriage need “a little independence.” (7)   Her illusion is that she has this trusting independence with her husband Richard.   “(Where was he this morning for instance?   Some committee, she never asked what.)” (8)   In reality, Richard is off to a luncheon; invited by a woman of society who neglects to include Clarissa.   In her attempt to play the role of a top British politician’s wife and a grand hostess, Clarissa is a sad character, admittedly attacking life like a knife, but at the same time not committing to any involvement or joy.   “She had a perpetual sense, as she watched the taxi cabs, of being out, out, far out to sea...