Concern of Inner World in the Novel Mrs. Dalloway

Also Read

The Theme of the Stream-of-consciousness Technique

      The technique of stream-of-consciousness adopted by Mrs. Virginia Woolf regards life as a fluid reality, it is not permanent or fixed. The novelists who have tried their hands into this particular kind of novel, that is the stream of consciousness novels, they are not expected to describe the external events or happenings in an individual’s life but to render the impressions of the mind, in other words, the inner reality of the character. Mrs. Dalloway is an exceptional work of a new technique and we see how amazingly the novelist has confined all the plot within the narrow framework of the novel.

The Inner World of Mrs. Dalloway

      In Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf has taken up the incidents of single day in the life of Mrs. Dalloway, accompanied with mental impressions which are set down at short intervals. Mrs. Dalloway feels much disturbed because she cares a lot for her daughter Elizabeth and her tutoress Doris Kilman, the broken-down spinster who is trying to convert Elizabeth and carry her close to religion. “An ex-soldier, suffering from the delayed effects of shell shock, commits suicide, and Mrs. Dalloway, hearing of this causality from the doctor who is a guest at her party, experiences a moment of luminous insight into life and death and time. External actions, conclusions and climax are discarded and only the sense of movement within the mind is retained.”

      The characters are not devoid of “reality”, sometimes they appear real and it is the novelist’s task to discern. It can not be made from sheer imagination or by recording everything that goes into the mind. A novelist has to render the stream of thoughts through his own imaginative insight. Mrs. Dalloway, then goes to the florist in order to buy flowers for her party she meets several people, insignificant also. As she moves through the London streets the memories from past are recalled by her, she revives old forgotten regrets and quarrels with especially Peter Walsh.

The Disadvantages of the Technique of Stream-of-Consciousness

      The technique of stream-of-consciousness enables us to understand a character more closely than is possible by other techniques. We clearly observe the inner goings of the character’s mind because this technique of stream-of-consciousness amazingly analyzes the mental states of a character with superb fidelity to psychological perfection. The major flaw of this method is that it requires the subtlety of mind and lots of concentration to grasp the whole story because the novelist does not go into the very minute details and foremost does not follow the chronological order of events, in other words, the logical time-sequence. Thus this kind of novel often becomes the victim of incoherence and ambiguities. The other shortcoming of the method of stream-of-consciousness is that it does not portray the characters as the creatures of flesh and blood.


      Though Mrs. Woolf’s characters of novels are drawn with surprising subtlety yet they lack human immediacy, they does not come alive for the readers. The examination of mood and impulse have been depicted with scientific precision and detachment yet they appear lyrical and close to poetry.

University Questions

The life of the mind is more important than the movement of the body and that is reflected in the very texture of the novel, Mrs. Dalloway.” Elaborate it with pros and cons of Mrs. Woolf’s method.

Previous Post Next Post