Woolf / Women in Violence Thesis

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His thoughts' wave-like connections with one another are broken by break-waters or dikes of wartime trauma. He cannot create an ocean of thought. He cannot sustain waves.

Next, Septimus has a quite different view of "time" than the other characters do because of his inability to be mentally present in the moment.

In stead, most times Septimus imagines himself being involved in the War:

"The word "time" split its husk; poured its riches over him; and from his lips fell like shells, like shavings from a plane, without his making them, hard, white, imperishable words, and flew to attach themselves to their places in an ode to Time; an immortal ode to Time. He sang. Evans answered from behind the tree. (69-70).

Figure 1-Big Ben

Woolf portrays Clarissa's identity as constantly evolving, indeed shaped primarily, as Bakhtin proposes, as her consciousness emerges through dialogic communication with others and with herself. In Baktinian conceptualization, a continuous dialogue with the other', with oneself (inner speech), and with the external world, involves the active construction of relations between I for myself, I for the other, and other for me. To reiterate, I for myself cannot be the complete source of identity and Bakhtin argues that it is the I for the other through which human beings fully develop consciousness because it incorporates the way in which others view me.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Dissertation or Thesis complete on Woolf / Women in Violence Assignment

Because we experience Clarissa's stream of consciousness, we constantly see her inner speech which variously agrees with, subsumes, or battles prior speech in her life, and especially the words of those close to her. There is certainly the Bakhtinian sense of heteroglossia, the many voiced-ness of words that take meaning in specific context, in the pages of the novel where we share Clarissa's thoughts; and it is often the communication, not the words, that are important. Bakhtin emphasizes that ?not words but the utterance of words have meaning (Holquist Answering 313). Beginning on page one of the novel forward, Clarissa reviews the ideas, not only the words, in her communications with people of her past and present, to create sense and meaning in her life. She contemplates the words of her old friend, her love interest, Peter Walsh, during a summer when she was eighteen years old. She tries to recall what he said to her as he came upon her alone in the garden then. Musing among the vegetables'-- was that it? Or I prefer men to cauliflowers' (3). Clearly, it isn't the exact words, it is his intent and the reception of her communication with Peter that remains part of her consciousness.

Continually, Woolf's writing also immerses the reader in Clarissa's development and maintenance of identity that is tied to I for the other/I as others see me. Much of Clarissa's expressed sense of self- worth and self-doubt is connected to what she thinks Peter, Miss Kilman, Richard and others think of her. 'A cold heartless prude' Peter called her years ago (8). Miss Kilman makes her ?feel inferior (12). Miss Pym's ?liking her, trusting her solaces Clarissa (13). She is aware of this reality and chastises herself for its importance to her, ?. . . half the time she did things not simply, mot for themselves; but to make others think this or that; perfect idiocy she knew (10).

A question several of the characters in the novel ponder and critics pose is whether Clarissa's life has been a self- fulfilling prophesy, borne on the wings of what others think she should be, a victim of social construction, or whether it has indeed evolved from choices she was free to make. She alludes to this obliquely; years ago Peter predicted some aspect of who she would become: She would marry a Prime minister and stand at the top of a staircase; the perfect hostess he called her (she had cried over it in her bedroom), she had the makings of the perfect hostess, he said (7). And, though a reader might question if her day-to-day existence is meant to be portrayed as a sham, the text makes it soon apparent that, at least in large part, the interactions she has with others that has, and continues, to define Clarissa's identity and that she is a free-willed participant in the process: she chose Richard over Peter (7), she chooses to invite people to the parties she hosts, she decides to buy the flowers herself where her experience with the people she meets on this errand contribute to her consciousness becoming. It is clear that Clarissa's identity is never static, and is always fluidly in the process of becoming as she speaks with others. She too seems to acknowledge this: She would not say of any one in the world now that they were this or were that. . . And she would not say of Peter, she would not say of herself, I am this, I am that (9). Clarissa seems to be paraphrasing Bakhtin, who is absolutely convinced that self is always in flux, related to specific circumstances and always experienced from a particular point in time and space ( Holquist ?Existence as Dialogue, Dialogism). This underlining of the situations or conceptuality of identity formation contributes to a broadened view of how every person is so uniquely individual and to an awareness of the agency attendant to this fact.

It was Woolf's aim in Mrs. Dalloway and To the Lighthouse to bring the thoughts of her characters to the "surface," and, only after she completed her novels was she able to come to the surface again herself.

No doubt Woolf was deeply concerned with women's rights and opportunities; Clarissa is keenly aware of her weaponless state (she could not earn a penny) as an unskilled, fifty-year-old woman in 1920s England (169). Woolf recognized that English women in her time often played roles within their societies, performing, as on stage, scripts written and directed by a patriarchal society

Certainly an important theme and one that infuses many of Woolf's works and discussion of the concept of self within her works is war. Mary Mathis in her doctoral dissertation, "War/Narrative / Identity -- Uses of Virginia Woolf's Modernism," explores these concepts. She begins by reminding us that Woolf was born into a society whose foundations were built on and shaken by violence; she was affected by structural, institutional, and personal violence; she lived through one world war and struggled through part of another (28). Mathis goes on to suggest that ?Woolf is bound to us in many ways; one of the strongest bonds is our shared birthright of violence; the seeming inevitability of force and coercion as a primary means of establishing and maintaining relations of power, the seeming inevitability of war (29). A response to this statement might be an acknowledgement of how true this continues to be for citizens of the world today. Mathis explains that she has titled her extensive study War/Narrative/Identity: Uses of Virginia Woolf's Modernism, because these three subject categories are so closely interrelated.

Many scholars focus on war and its fall-out in their studies of Mrs. Dalloway viewing Woolf's post-war London and the characters in the text as disjointed and confused. Christopher Herbert in Mrs. Dalloway, the Dictator, and the Relativity Paradox, suggests that Woolf's main goal, via the whole of her text, is to present an antipode to empirical and militaristic thinking through her commitment to the principle of relativity, the principle, that "nothing is one thing. Clarissa reflects this thinking expressing frequently that she will not say that anyone is this or that. Herbert believes that Mrs. Dalloway conveys no central or authoritative truth, and that the novel chiefly envisions two opposed zones of experience: on the one hand, that of coercion and violence; on the other, that of relativity" (107). He posits:

"Those in sympathy with Woolf's mode of thinking will conclude with her that it is precisely the overshadowing problem of violence in human life that requires us to free ourselves from making a supreme idol of logical coherence . . . The dream of a philosophical outlook cleansed of paradox is finally a sinister one fundamentally incompatible with the creation of a humane social world" (118).

3. Conclusion

The current paper was a discussion of Woolf's consciousness technique particularly how she reveals her own feelings. I in particular focused on her novel MRS. DALLOWAY

Woolf connects wave imagery with a character's transitive and substantive thoughts. The motion of the waves is equated with whether the thought being experienced by a character is substantive or transitive. The terms "transitive" and "substantive" are taken from James's chapter titled "The Stream of Thought." James discusses how transitive or passing thoughts resemble those of a bird in flight because they are… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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