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BEGC-112: British Literature: The Early 20th Century

BEGC-112: British Literature: The Early 20th Century

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022

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Assignment Code: BEGC-112/2022

Course Code: BEGC-112

Assignment Name: British Literature: Early Twentieth Century

Year: 2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Max. Marks: 100

Answer all questions in this assignment.




Q1. Explain the following passages with reference to the context. (10x4=40)


1. “But when Evans (Rezia who had only seen him once called him “a quiet man,” a sturdy, red-haired man, undemonstrative in the company of women), when Evans was killed just before the Armistice in Italy, Septimus, far from showing any emotion or recognising that here was the end of a friendship, congratulated himself upon feeling very little and very reaso nably. The War had taught him. It was sublime.”

Ans) Septimus' theory of the beauty in the world does not differ greatly, and it is through their similar approaches to the world about them that one begins to see the real similarities between Septimus and Clarissa. He too notices the ever-present beauty of the moment. In fact, Septimus can be said to fill the void of feelings that Clarissa lacks. Septimus first applauds himself for not feeling sadness when his friend, Evans, is killed and then punishes himself for not feeling it afterward. However, as critic, Isabel Gamble, asserts, "The real truth is, of course, that Septimus has felt too deeply, has been shaken and numbed by shell shock and the war, specifically by the death of his friend, Evans; his feelings have flowed through channels deeper than any so far sounded by Clarissa. But he has never gone by the first paralyzing numbness to see, consciously, the reality of his emotion." Septimus believes that his initial emotionless reaction to Evans' death is real and progressively bases his construction of reality on this miscalculation. Instead of facing his grief, he represses it until the remainder of his reality is shattered. He pictures dogs turning into men (an inversion of the image he created to represent himself and Evans, as dogs, playing in front of a fire) because the truth has become demented in his mind to the point of delusion. One must applaud Woolf's coupling of the sane and insane as an advanced social commentary. She illustrates the humanity lacking in a sane person and the depth of feeling possessed by an insane character, reversing the stereotypes that plagued them both.


Septimus represents a Œlost generation' of men following the end of World War I. As the pomp and circumstance of British upper class society continues, a group of men return from war unutterably changed but without a resource to ease their frustration. The politics of a Britain still trying to dominate world politics cannot peacefully absorb a collection of men so altered from the British civilization that had sent them to the war. The reflection of war, its effect on postwar society, and the British infatuation with the memory of it are inseparable from the main plot of the novel, though many readers try to diminish the postwar circumstances within the book. However, as Lee R. Edwards, critic, mentions, nothing necessitated Woolf's inclusion of characters' comments on the War, characters involved with the military such as Lady Bruton and Miss Parry, Peter's thoughts concerning Empire and the marching boys, or Septimus' mental anguish. The novel takes place five years after the war but exists within its shadow. Simple contemplation transforms into social commentary when one realizes the import of the many references to the post-war environment. For instance, Peter's simple musing of the marching boys has a malicious subtext because of the mechanical manner in which the boys are described. Young and eager, the boys lose their individuality as we watch. As Edwards describes, "...[They are] human beings who have shifted their allegiance to some set of monumental abstractions."


Septimus, we learn, shifted his allegiance from Shakespeare and Isabel Pole to the British cause. However, his goal in signing up for the army was to protect those very things. He is persuaded to join the army by his boss because he lacked the manliness that only athletics or war could provide. Yet, turning into a man allows Septimus to keep neither Shakespeare nor Isabel Pole. He loses the ability to appreciate either. He is stripped of his passions. His mentality is replaced by a hardened vision that teaches one not to love and not to care. He tries so hard not to feel that the guilt he does feel incapacitates him. As Edwards deftly theorizes, "Surviving, unfortunately, killed him; for Septimus was finally unable to turn himself into a statue by a simple exercise of will...He feels anguish because of the discrepancy between his feeling that the natural world is beautiful, the human world corrupt, and guilt because, despite the discrepancy, the feeling for goodness and the beauty of life persist."


2. “But no, he would not give in. Turning sharply, he walked towards the city’s gold phosphorescence. His fists were shut, his mouth set fast. He would not take that direction, to the darkness, to follow her. He walked towards the faintly humming, glowing town, quickly.”



The brief concluding chapter is despairing until the very end, when Paul finally releases himself from the hold of his mother and chooses to return to life.


A hold, indeed, for much of Sons and Lovers is about bondage to someone else. Here, Paul refuses to be bound, to belong, to Miriam, but not because he fears bondage. Miriam is too sacrificial and passive; he wants a woman who will claim him as strongly for herself as his mother did. For him, this is the only kind of relationship that can duplicate the intense love he had with his mother. Paul does not seem to understand until the final moments of the novel, however, that his mother's love was smothering, jealous, and ultimately destructive. His release from her feels like a victory; he may now be able to love someone else.


Flowers reappear here, but now they symbolize Paul's parting from Miriam, and not a bond. The other imagery that is important is the city's "gold phosphorescence" in the final paragraph. Frequently in the novel, Lawrence paints scenes of happiness and love with light colors of the sky. The return of these light colors here signifies Paul's choice of life over the "darkness" of death.


3. “….. but now I know

That twenty centuries of stony sleep

Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”


These "twenty centuries of stony sleep" likely refer to the twenty centuries, or nearly 2,000 years, since Christ's birth and the beginning of Christianity. By referring to the reign of Christianity as "stony sleep," Yeats implies that Christianity was glossing over or covering up some primal energy that reigned before its emergence and that this primal energy is soon going to return.


These "twenty centuries of sleep" were "vexed to nightmare," or brought to the destructive, surreal scene that Yeats describes at the end of the poem, by a "rocking cradle." This "cradle" is most likely human civilization itself, which, like the poem's "falcon," is helplessly at the mercy of greater forces, and which is losing contact with its falconer, its God, or its sense of order. The "rocking" is likely the violence that has shattered humanity, disturbing its calm sleep in the arms of faith and tradition and creating a nightmare—or a delirious kind of freedom—that emerges in the form of the "beast" of the future.


This line asks the question we've probably all been asking: what will this apocalyptic Second Coming actually look like? By asking "what rough beast," Yeats is saying that he knows that the Second Coming can be represented by the shadow of a beastly creature, but he does not know exactly what the creature will be. He does know that it has been biding its time, waiting to emerge. It is in no rush to arrive.


The last phrase, which provided the title for Joan Didion's book of essays Slouching Towards Bethlehem and which, along with the rest of the poem, inspired Joni Mitchell's song "Slouching Towards Bethlehem," is noteworthy for a few reasons. First, it uses the word slouches. Yeats could have picked any number of words to describe the beast's coming, but he picked slouches—a word that implies, if not a kind of laziness, then a kind of languorousness, a slow, ominous plod. The beast is not charging, for it knows it does not have to put up a fight—humans have already paved the way for its emergence, having created the perfect alchemy of chaos for its birth.


The last word, Bethlehem, sews the poem neatly into a cradle of Biblical references gone wrong. Yeats's title, "The Second Coming," refers to the Book of Revelations, and Bethlehem is the city in which Jesus was born to Mary. This new beast will be a sort of Christ, emerging from Bethlehem—but it will not be Jesus. It will be something very unorthodox. It will be something else entirely.


4. “We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,

But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,

With an alien people clutching their gods.

I should be glad of another death.”


The title of the poem refers to a “journey.” This word means an act of traveling from one place to another, but also, in a metaphorical sense, the long and often difficult process of personal change and development.


The Magus returns to his story, to tell a coda of the return to their kingdoms. Remember, these were the sensual palaces they left behind to make the journey. But he has changed, and is “no longer at ease.” In Christian theology, “dispensation” means a divinely ordained system prevailing at a particular period of history. The phrase “the old dispensation” means that the divine system, the meaning of life, has changed. He then finds his own people to be “alien” as they “clutch” false idols.


The Magus is existentially exhausted and ultimately suicidal, as he ends with “I should be glad of another death”—meaning his own. In this deeply anticlimactic ending, the poem imagines the advent of Christianity as a calamity for the old world. He may also wish for death because he no longer has use for earthly pleasures, and looks forward to the kingdom of heaven. Another possible interpretation of the last line is that the Magus is speaking during the time period when Christ has been born, but has not yet died. The Magus would then be wishing for Christ’s death, and thus for his resurrection and the salvation of mankind. It's important to notice that these two possible meanings of the last line of “Journey of the Magi” are not mutually exclusive: the context of the poem is the point of view of someone with a new faith that makes his old position and world obsolete. He is waiting for his own death, along with the death and of Christ, who will be born again to redeem the world and usher in a new dispensation, a world in which the Magi themselves have no place.



Section B


Q2. Write short notes on the following: (5x4=20)


A. British War Poetry of the early twentieth century.

Ans) The “war to end wars,” as H.G. Wells described it in a series of newspaper articles,[1] began in 1914. The main belligerents were the allied forces of France, Britain, and the dominions, including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; Russia (until 1917) and, after April 1917, the United States—versus the central powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Few believed that the war would last very long, but gradually both sides became mired in a stalemate, and it dragged on until November 1918, with unparalleled loss of life—nearly nine million combatants and millions of civilians died as a result of the war.


One striking difference between the war poetry of the Victorian Age as seen in Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” and the poetry of World War I is the shift from a more or less unquestioning acceptance of war to a growing disillusionment. Although Tennyson makes clear that the military command had blundered in this instance, he refuses to dwell on the incompetence of the generals and instead emphasizes the bravery of the British soldier. Similarly, Rupert Brooke, perhaps the public face of the British war effort before his death prior to seeing action, carries forward a romanticized, chivalric view of war, particularly in his poem, “The Soldier,” a poem that Dean Inge, one of the most important clergymen in Britain, read as part of his Easter Sunday sermon at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1914, and to which Winston Churchill referred in an obituary published in the Times three days after Brooke’s death. Even Siegfried Sassoon, the poet who, along with Wilfred Owen, was considered one of the poets most critical of the war, seems to echo Brooke’s romanticizing attitude in an early poem, “Absolution”:


…War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise,

And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.


Horror of wounds and anger at the foe,

And loss of things desired; all these must pass.

We are the happy legion….


In “Glory of Women,” Sassoon asserts that women believe that “chivalry redeems” the disgrace of war, but after reading Churchill’s florid obituary of Brooke and the majority of pre-1914 war poems written by men, it becomes clear that such an attitude was pervasive before chivalry collided with the ugly reality of trench warfare—and would have been shared by poets and poetry readers of both genders. Indeed, rather than focus on the apparent misogyny of this poem, it should be possible to see that “women” function thematically in this poem as do other generalized, uninitiated non-combatants, such as the clergyman in “They” or the aforementioned General. Indeed, women played an important role in World War I, the world’s first total war, which involved all sectors of the populace: men and women at home as well as those on the battlefield. England’s industry was mobilized in the service of the war; the war was brought home to everyone.


B. The central theme of the poem “Journey of the Magi”.

Ans) In summary, 'Journey of the Magi' is a poem that explores the journey the wise men took when following the star to Bethlehem where the Christ child was born. It is a metaphorical poem, representing both birth and death, renewal, and spiritual rebirth. The speaker is a magi whose narrative is split into three stanzas, distinct parts:

  1. the journey to the birthplace and the doubt.

  2. the arrival, the prefiguring and satisfaction.

  3. the reflection and acknowledgement of a new faith.


Interestingly, there is no mention of gold, frankincense and myrrh, a star, or the name Jesus; there is no indication that these magi are Persian astrologers, Zoroastrian priests come to welcome the messiah. The focus is more on the process, the inner and outer journeys that a human (and humanity) has to undertake in order to experience spiritual rebirth. Here, the event, the actual birth, which was witnessed by the magi, takes second place to the main theme of change—death of the old dispensation, birth of the new. The year this poem was written, 1927, was an important year for Eliot. Not only did he gain British citizenship but he converted to Anglo-Catholicism which he committed to for life.


What makes Eliot's poem so powerful is the fact that he makes one of the magi, a magus, the speaker and turns the narrative into a psycho-spiritual journey, typical of the pilgrim yet interwoven with that of the esoteric, religious teacher. The theme of the poem is the effect of spiritual/cultural events on individual identity and society; the process of renewal, the journey of the human psyche through history. 'Journey of the Magi' specifically focuses on the epiphany (Matthew 2. 1-12), despite the lack of named references to this event. The speaker is deeply affected by the birth, the shock waves changing lives for ever, alienating those around him, inviting his own demise.


C. The “Stream of Consciousness Technique”.

Ans) Stream of consciousness writing allows readers to “listen in” on a character's thoughts. The technique often involves the use of language in unconventional ways in an attempt to replicate the complicated pathways that thoughts take as they unfold and move through the mind. In short, it's the use of language to mimic the "streaming" nature of "conscious" thought (thus "stream of consciousness"). Stream of consciousness can be written in the first person as well as the third person. The term “stream of consciousness” originated in the 19th century, when psychologists coined the term to describe the constant flow of subjective thoughts, feelings, memories, and observations that all people experience. Beginning in the early 20th century, however, literary critics began to use “stream of consciousness” to describe a narrative technique pioneered by writers like Dorothy Richardson, Marcel Proust, James Joyce, and Virginia Woolf. Many of these writers were interested in psychology and the "psychological novel," in which writers spend at least as much time describing the characters’ thoughts, ideas, and internal development as they do describing the action of the plot.


D. The major characteristics of modernism.

Ans) The major characteristics of modernism are:



In Modernist literature, the individual is more interesting than society. Specifically, modernist writers were fascinated with how the individual adapted to the changing world. In some cases, the individual triumphed over obstacles. For the most part, Modernist literature featured characters who just kept their heads above water. Writers presented the world or society as a challenge to the integrity of their characters. Ernest Hemingway is especially remembered for vivid characters who accepted their circumstances at face value and persevered.



Modernist writers broke free of old forms and techniques. Poets abandoned traditional rhyme schemes and wrote in free verse. Novelists defied all expectations. Writers mixed images from the past with modern languages and themes, creating a collage of styles. The inner workings of consciousness were a common subject for modernists. This preoccupation led to a form of narration called stream of consciousness, where the point of view of the novel meanders in a pattern resembling human thought. Authors James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, along with poets T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, are well known for their experimental Modernist works.



The carnage of two World Wars profoundly affected writers of the period. Several great English poets died or were wounded in WWI. At the same time, global capitalism was reorganizing society at every level. For many writers, the world was becoming a more absurd place every day. The mysteriousness of life was being lost in the rush of daily life. The senseless violence of WWII was yet more evidence that humanity had lost its way. Modernist authors depicted this absurdity in their works. Franz Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," in which a traveling salesman is transformed into an insect-like creature, is an example of modern absurdism.



The Modernist writers infused objects, people, places, and events with significant meanings. They imagined a reality with multiple layers, many of them hidden or in a sort of code. The idea of a poem as a riddle to be cracked had its beginnings in the Modernist period. Symbolism was not a new concept in literature, but the Modernists' particular use of symbols was an innovation. They left much more to the reader's imagination than earlier writers, leading to open-ended narratives with multiple interpretations. For example, James Joyce's "Ulysses" incorporates distinctive, open-ended symbols in each chapter.



Writers of the Modernist period saw literature more as a craft than a flowering of creativity. They believed that poems and novels were constructed from smaller parts instead of the organic, internal process that earlier generations had described. The idea of literature as craft fed the Modernists' desire for creativity and originality. Modernist poetry often includes foreign languages, dense vocabulary, and invented words. The poet e.e. cummings abandoned all structure and spread his words all across the page.


Q3. Write short essays on the following: (10x2=20)


a. Discuss the psychoanalytic readings of D. H. Lawrence’s novel Sons and Lovers.

Ans) David Herbert Lawrence was an English author, essayist, poet, painter, and literary critic who lived from 1885 to 1930. Lawrence's early childhood experiences, professional experiences, and parental turmoil supplied the foundation for his creative creations. Most of his books are now used as a foundation for psychoanalytic reading by many academics and scholars, providing them with a thorough understanding of the unconscious mind and character development throughout life. D.H. Lawrence was born on September 11, 1885, in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, England. He was born to John Lawrence, a habitual drinker who worked as a miner at Brinsley Colliers, and Lydia, a literate former student teacher who worked in a lace factory to help support her family through their financial difficulties.


Lawrence grew up in a poor family with a strained relationship between his parents. He attended Nottingham High School and was awarded a county council scholarship. He then worked for three months as a junior clerk at Haywood's surgical instruments manufacture in 1901. He eventually left his job because he was suffering from acute attacks of pneumonia. He frequently visited Hagg's farm, where he encountered Jessie Chambers and developed intimacy with her, but it was pure and spiritual, and they shared common interests in reading. Lawrence was a teacher at the British School in Eastwood from 1902 until 1906. He left his teaching position after recovering from Pneumonia to pursue a career as a full-fledged writer. Lawrence's mother died of cancer shortly after the release of White Peacock.


For the time being, he was devastated because he was quite close to his mother. After the death of Mrs. Morel in Sons and Lovers, this occurrence constituted a turning point in Lawrence's life, just as it did in Paul Morel's. Lawrence fell in love with Frieda Weekley, Earnest Weekley's previous mistress, in 1912. She was six years older than he was, and she was German by birth. When Lawrence married Frieda, it was during the First World War. They were pursued by officials and accused of spying, and Cornwell brutally punished them in 1917. Lawrence's paintings were barred from exhibition, and The Rainbow was suppressed due to its objectionable content. His passport was confiscated, but he was able to flee in 1919. Lawrence's wanderlust carried him to countries that suited his beliefs, such as Ceylon, Australia, Italy, and Mexico, on a violent pilgrimage. He authored Aron's Rod, Kangaroo, and The Boy in the Bush at that time.


Lady Chatterley's Lover was covertly published in Florence and France in 1928 by Lawrence. This text was declared obscene and pornographic in the United Kingdom and the United States. Lawrence died of tuberculosis in Vence, France, in 1930. D. H. Lawrence's works Lawrence was the most recognisable figure in modern literature. He published almost forty volumes of fiction, including novels and short stories, essays, poetry, and plays, over his nineteen-year literary career. D.H. Lawrence's debut novel, White Peacock (1911), was the catalyst for his writing career. On the basis of the vivid picture of nature and industrialism, The White Peacock can also be likened to Thomas Hardy's and George Eliot's novels. D.H. Lawrence's second work, The Trespasser (1912), was followed by Sons and Lovers (1913), an autobiographical novel.


It is widely regarded as one of Lawrence's best works. Lawrence's mother was quite unwell at the time when the storey was written. This piece is dedicated to his mother and demonstrates a strong maternal bond. The protagonist, Paul Morel, and his psychological development are the focus of the narrative. It also depicts the tension between his parents, Mrs. Gertitude Morel, a literate woman who married a lower-class man, and Mr. Morel, a coal miner, and a hard drinker. Paul has watched the tension and conflict between his parents and sympathises with his mother's plight. Paul and William, Paul's older brother, are more devoted to their mother and develop a dislike for their father.


Following these masterpieces, he published The Rainbow (1915), its sequel Women in Love (1920), and his next novel The Lost Girl in 1920. In 1922, Aron's Rod was published. It's a satirical novel. Kangaroo (1923), The Boy and the Bush (1924), The Plumed Serpent (1926), John Thomas and Lady Jane are some of Lawrence's other works (1927). Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) is one of his most well-known works. This novel's initial edition was released in secret in Florence, Italy. Because of its sensual content, this work by Lawrence was banned in the United Kingdom. Lady Constance Chatterley and her husband, Sir Clifford, a baronet, were physically disabled during the Great War, and the novel relates their storey. Lady Chatterley's adulterous connection with a low-class servant to fulfil her suppressed sexual cravings and her wish to have a child is the subject of the novel, and she eventually finds love in him.


Mr. Noon is his last unfinished novel, and it is followed by The Escaped Cock (1929). D.H. Lawrence's short stories include Odour of Chrysanthemums (1909), The Virgin and the Gypsy (1930), and The Rocking Horse Winner (1931). (1926). Lawrence composed roughly 800 poems, largely in free verse, and was influenced by poet Walter Whitman. He is a member of the Georgian poets' school. Lawrence's poem Birds, Beasts, and Flowers (1923) is based on his personal experience with nature. Understanding the development of the novel requires knowledge of Lawrence's early life, professional experience, and philosophy of life.


b. Explain the title of the poem “I think continually of those who are truly great.”

Ans) The poet's first line, "I think continually of those who were Truly Great," hints that he's talking about truly great people from the past, and how constantly thinking about them implies that the past is always connected to the present, and thus all those truly great people are connected to us across time. As the poem unfolds, we see how they have a tight relationship with perennial Nature, which grants them eternal life. Time will not be able to erase their memories. These truly great heroes are ubiquitous, just like Nature, which is eternally present in sunshine, spring blossoms, snowy mountains, and lush green meadows. They make us recognise the connection between Nature and Man's grandeur, as well as their perennity. are those exceptional people who are always there at all times and in all locations.


Rinanubandhan () is a Hindi phrase that refers to an invisible cord that connects you to your prior existence. It is about human linking with the past through historical, ecological, and spiritual links, without diving into the religious and astrological verse. The true greats of the past are not named or identified by Spender. They are simply heroes, without a name or a face, who are remembered in the present for their heroic exploits that have left indelible imprints on the sands of time and place all across the world. Some detractors point out that there is no current heroic deed. Spender, on the other hand, pays respect to former heroes who have contributed to and moulded the world we live in today. He has no desire to criticise the present for its lack of heroism. The poem is an expression of gratitude for their significant contributions to the world, which have improved our heritage over what they had inherited.


This poem, written during the Great Depression in the 1930s, no doubt affected the poet. Soldiers aren't the only ones he's talking about, though. He's essentially referring to everyone who fights for what they believe in without regard for personal gain. 4/ Poets, fighters, unselfish and passionate artists are examples of the Truly Great. Their activities, deeds, words, artistic and aesthetic creations that inspire future generations are what define them. They've made a difference in the world, and we'd like to express our gratitude for what they've left behind for the next generation. From the womb to the grave - from birth to death - the genuinely great are recognised for their never-ending toil. These great celebrity heroes blazed throughout their lives, much like the sun, which shines all day and night as it revolves from East to West and back again.


Spender compares hours to suns because all of their hours are radiant like the sun, and these magnificent people, like the sun, lived active hours. The poet tells the reader that these truly magnificent people lived in a continual brightness, with the hours resembling suns. "On Earth, the sun is the primary source of energy. Spender could be implying that their daily hour was a source of great inspiration and achievement because it is wonderful and a source of great inspiration. These great people had aspirations, according to Spender, and these aspirations could be seen in the words they uttered to the people." Their bold plans to change the world have been compared to blooming blossoms that add colour and beauty to the landscape.


Sun, light, fire, and blossoms have a lot of meaning and are associated with eternity, vitality, inspiration, and success. As we proceed into the second stanza, the poem is full of symbols. However, the symbols cannot be viewed as having an easy-to-understand one-to-one correspondence. Spender's long-drawn similies can seem a little laboured and stretched at times! It's worth noting that they once again reflect the link between Nature's labour and that of the truly great heroes of the past. The goal is to demonstrate that no matter how difficult a task is, there is always an element of joy in working hard and reaping the benefits of one's labour. Drawing blood from springs brings satisfaction and delight, and these people carried out all of their great acts and hard labour with genuine enthusiasm.



Section C


Q4. Discuss Virginia Woolf’s achievement as a modernist writer, with special reference to Mrs. Dalloway. 20

Ans) Along with James Joyce and William Faulkner, Virginia Woolf is considered one of the undisputed masters of “stream of consciousness” writing. Born in England in 1882, Woolf’s legacy far outlasted her short life, and her immense oeuvre continues to inspire artists, especially female writers, around the world.


All of the greatest Virginia Woolf novels challenge how we think about the nature of human perception with their experimental prose and non-linear plots. Her work has also exerted and immense influence on feminist critics and historians who’ve worked hard to uncover an unbiased history of women in the Western world. Although her major works were written in the 1920s, Woolf’s fiction is as fresh today as it was back then.


Literary critics agree that Woolf’s mature career began in 1925 with the publication of Mrs. Dalloway. Taking place on one day in post-WWI London, Mrs. Dalloway reads like an Impressionist painting. Woolf effortlessly blurs the boundaries between the internal and the external world as the socialite Clarissa Dalloway prepares an evening party. The other major character in this novel is WWI veteran Septimus Smith who suffers from shell shock.


Modernism is a very interesting and important movement in literature, characterized by a very self-conscious break with traditional ways of writing, in both poetry and prose fiction. However, the most important literary genre of modernism is the novel. Although prewar works by Henry James, Joseph Conrad, and other writers are considered Modernist, Modernism as a literary movement is typically associated with the period after World War I. Other European and American Modernist authors whose works rejected chronological and narrative continuity include Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, Gertrude Stein, and William Faulkner. After First World War a lot of developments took place, new inventions opened up the mind of artists in the 1920s, one of them was Virginia Woolf, a very specific novelist. So, this paper deals with Virginia Woolf’s novel, Mrs. Dalloway, and the main focus is on the elements of modernism in this masterpiece. It is a modern novel which has also most of the features of modernism, or we can say that there are several ways in which one can see Mrs. Dalloway as a Modernist novel.


The most dominant characteristic is the content and the narrative style. Virginia Woolf overstepped the traditional writing by describing characters not only superficially but also their inner thoughts. Rather than having a straightforward narrative with a beginning and end and a narrator who knows it all, with Mrs Dalloway we have several narrators, flashbacks, stream-of-consciousness style, and a totally fragmented story. Also there is a connection of the author and her characters; she putted a piece of herself in each one of them. This is how you can find about the author’s life path and how her sufferings, mental illness affected into her writing. Thus, Virginia Woolf is considered an iconic modernist writer and pioneer not only of the stream of consciousness narrative technique, but of the use of free indirect speech, psychological as well as emotional motives of characters. Nevertheless, the unconventional use of figures of speech also makes a great characteristic and a symbol of her novels. Stream of consciousness writing allows readers to “listen in” on a character's thoughts. This will make you explore yourself in ways you have never thought before. Specifically, in Clarissa Dalloway’s preparations to host a party that evening Virginia Woolf records all her thoughts, remembrances and impressions, as well as the thoughts of other characters. There is no actual story, no plots or sub-plots, in fact, there is no action in the traditional sense in this novel, except from the “myriad of impressions” created by Virginia Woolf’s new style of writing.

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