Social Oppression Virginia Woolf
The physical and social setting in "Mrs. Dalloway" sets the mood for the novel's principal theme: the theme of social oppression. Social oppression was shown in two ways: the oppression of women as English society returned to its traditional norms and customs after the war, and the oppression of the hard realities of life, "concealing" these realities with the elegance of English society. This paper discusses the purpose of the city in mirroring the theme of social oppression, focusing on issues of gender oppression, particularly against women, and the oppression of poverty and class discrimination between London's peasants and the elite class.
The theme of oppression against women in Clarissa Dalloway's society is very common among
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It is then in the city that Clarissa found the comfort that she needed in order to justify her decision to marry Richard and remain a member in the English society. In the process, Clarissa consciously allowed herself to be subjected to English society's conservative attitude and behavior, accepting its culture, while at the same time, continuously questioning the occurrences in her life (which later became one of the events that lead her to commit suicide).
Throughout "Mrs. Dalloway", London was embodied by the elite class of the English society. London was described with excitement and heroism despite all the occurring tragedies and hardships. Clarissa's life in the city is illustrated as a "normal" one, but another side shown in the novel is the persistence of poverty, which remained and intensified in the society during the post-war years. The wide margin between the privileged and the poor became obvious with this harmless, yet vivid passage from the novel, stressing the persistence of class divisions in English society: "A small crowd meanwhile had gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace. Listlessly, yet confidently, poor people all of them, they waited; looked at the Palace itself with the flag flying; at Victoria, billowing on her mound, admired her shelves of running water, her geraniums;