Sally Seton: Character Analysis - in Mrs. Dalloway

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Sally Seton’s Magnetic Personality and Clarissa’s Love for her

      Although Sally Seton, the girlhood friend of Clarissa Dalloway appears towards the end of the novel, yet she has been introduced to the readers very much before through the consciousness of Clarissa and Peter Walsh. She was exceptionally beautiful and attractive. People could not resist to see her. Even Mrs. Dalloway has some incestuous infatuation for her: “Mrs. Dalloway asks herself what love is, and remembers how she was in love at eighteen with Sally Seton, that astonishingly original girl who discussed everything and ran naked about the corridors. Then came the most exquisite moment of her life, passing a stone urn with flowers in it. Sally stopped, picked a flower, and kissed her on the lips. The world might have turned upside down.” She has, “an extraordinary beauty of the kind she (Clarissa) most admired, dark, large-eyed, with that quality which since she hadn’t got is herself, she always envied, a sort of abandonment, as if she could say anything, do anything, a quality much commoner in foreigners than in English women.

Sally Seton: A Bold and Unconventional Lady

      Sally Seton, as a girl, was bold, frivolous, playful, unconventional and impulsive. She seemed to drink life to the drains. She was so careless girl that she liked to go about cycling on the terrace. She frequently quarreled with her parents and one day she run away from home and came to Clarissa’s home at Bourton without a penny in her pocket. She went to the extent of selling her broach to pay for the journey. She often reacted impulsively, she smoked cigars and once ran naked along the corridors to get sponge. Her views were very bold and unconventional. She had once said that it did not matter if a woman gave birth to a child before marriage.

Sally Seton: An Idealist

      Sally Seton was an idealist also who had a great zeal to reform. She took much delight in Shelley, Plato and William Morris. She and Clarissa discussed for hours together how to reform the world, her vast knowledge of this world impressed Clarissa a lot. She wanted “to form a society to abolish private property and actually wrote a letter in this connection. Her views were very much progressive and she disliked narrow and conventional people like Hugh Whitbread and Richard Dalloway. She told him that, ‘‘he represented all that was not detestable in British middle-class life.” She expressed her opinion that Hugh Whitbread had read nothing, thought nothing, felt nothing.”

A Round Character

      Sally Seton was a round character because she changed and grew with the time. Her married life was full of happiness and satisfaction. She regarded life a bed of thorns without money and social status. Peter Walsh found a change in her when he met her in Clarissa’s party, “Lord, lord, what a change has come over her, the softness of motherhood, its egotism too.” She was a mother of ‘five big boys at Eton.

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