Why is it significant that Mrs. Dalloway buys the flowers herself?

Clarissa’s decision to go out and buy flowers for the evening’s party herself is significant because it offers her an opportunity to assert her personal agency in a way that women of her social status rarely can. The novel’s opening paragraphs clearly establish that she has servants who do a majority of the upkeep at her home, but she gladly takes the opportunity to act on her own. The fact that Woolf uses the name “Mrs. Dalloway” to introduce her protagonist instead of Clarissa emphasizes that the world of the novel views her as property of her husband, Richard Dalloway, rather than as a unique individual. This seemingly trivial act therefore illuminates the internal desire she feels to claim her independence.

Why does Septimus commit suicide?

The most immediate cause of Septimus’s suicide is the arrival of Dr. Holmes, a man he deeply fears and detests, at his home. Both Dr. Holmes and Sir William Bradshaw treat him very poorly in attempts to help him recover from the trauma of war, and the thought of having to suffer under a doctor’s care drives him to toss himself out the window. Underlying this resentment, however, are the psychological impacts of facing violence and death in combat. Septimus had previously spoken of wanting to kill himself after coming to the realization that he is incapable of feeling any kind of human emotion. He is also distraught by the fact that no one can, and likely no one ever will, understand his new perspective on the world.

What is the relationship between Clarissa and Septimus?

Clarissa and Septimus never meet during the course of the novel, although a number of different events and feelings work to establish connections between the two. Both of them hear the car backfire, for example, and this unites them in the same time and space. Literal connections such as this one invite the reader to see more internal parallels between the two as well, such as their emotional connections to Shakespeare, musings on death, and growing dissatisfaction with the expectations London society has for them. Clarissa even admits to herself that she feels “somehow very like him” when she reflects on Septimus’s suicide. Despite their differences in age, gender, and social class, Clarissa and Septimus face parallel struggles, a relationship which suggests that questions of purpose, meaning, and mortality can pervade all identities.

What is the significance of Clarissa’s parties?

For an upper class woman of Clarissa’s age in 1920s London, throwing parties or hosting social gatherings is almost a given. She no longer has the responsibility of raising children and has servants to maintain her home, so she occupies her time by crafting opportunities to socialize with others. Although Clarissa feels embarrassed when her husband and Peter Walsh criticize her love of parties, she decides that they are her way of offering something to the world. In this sense, throwing parties represent Clarissa’s primary opportunity to assert her agency as an individual. The gatherings she hosts at her home also work to blur the distinction between public and private life, suggesting that social expectations can dominate even the most personal of spaces.

What makes Mrs. Dalloway a Modernist novel?

Both the narrative structure and content of Mrs. Dalloway make it a Modernist novel. Woolf’s use of a traveling consciousness, or narration that moves between characters, times, and places, reflects the fragmentary nature of Modernist writing and reveals a preoccupation with subjectivity and how the mind works. As a result of this structure, the text lacks a narrative voice that can definitively explain how the world of the novel works and instead depicts numerous realities built by the perceptions of each individual character. The disorienting nature of Woolf’s approach to storytelling ultimately reflects key Modernist themes including the shattering effects of World War I and the 1918 influenza pandemic, questions of authority, and ideas of alienation.