Sense Of Time In Mrs. Dalloway By Virginia Woolf

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Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf depicts a day of a high-society women running errands in preparation for an evening party, in companion with Septimus Warren Smith, a veteran of the First World War, who is suffering from shell shock. The novella embraces a Bergsonian sense of time through the distinction Woolf makes between time on the clock and time in the mind, which directly correlates to Bergson 's notion of temps and duree. Woolf’s predominant concern with time is firstly delineated through the time on the clock, or temps. In the novella, temps not only act as a source of disturbance to Clarissa, but also account for Septimus’ death. By using the clock symbol, Woolf draws a discrepancy between the clock-time, temps and the mind-time, or duree. “The recurrent strokes of Big Ben, representing fictional time, and by the stream-of-consciousness techniques and images of fluidity, representing the character 's psychological time" (Vieira 9). Temps constantly disturbs Clarissa from undergoing her duree with the sounds of Big Ben, leaving her with great agitation. “The sound of Big Ben flooded Clarissa’s drawing room, where she sat, ever so annoyed, at her writing-table; worried; annoyed.” (p.96). As for the ill-fated veteran Septimus Warren Smith, temps “offers little hope” (Sparknotes). Septimus ostensibly cannot overcome the death of his fellow comrade – Evan in the past, which makes him “plagued by feelings of numbness, hallucinations of his friend’s death” (Sparknotes).
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