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Kelley
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PostSubject: Discussion Questions   Thu Jul 05, 2007 6:54 am

1. “Fear no more the heat ’o the sun / Nor the furious winter’s rages” is a quote from Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline. The words are repeated or alluded to many times throughout Mrs. Dalloway, by both Clarissa and Septimus. What do the words mean, and why do Clarissa and Septimus repeat them?

2. Woolf created Septimus Warren Smith as a double for Clarissa. In what ways are Clarissa and Septimus different? In what ways are they the same?

3. Conversion is seen as a constant threat in the novel. Which characters wish to convert others, and what are they trying to convert others to? Are some characters more susceptible to conversion than others?

4. Mrs. Dalloway is constructed from many different points of view, and points of view are sometimes linked by an emotion, a sound, a visual image, or a memory. Describe three instances when the point of view changes and explain how Woolf accomplishes the transitions. How do the transitions correspond to the points of view being connected?

5. Flowers, gardens, and nature are important motifs in the novel. Choose three characters and describe their relationships to the natural world. What do these relationships reveal about the characters or their functions in the novel?

6. Characters in the novel come from a range of social classes. What does Peter mean when he feels the “pyramidal accumulation” that weighed on his generation is shifting? How did the old social order weigh particularly heavily on women?

7. What role does Sally Seton play in Clarissa’s life, and what is the significance of her surprise appearance at the party?

8. World War I affected all the characters in the book to some degree. How did the war influence at least three of the characters?

9. The multitude of minor characters in the novel can be compared to the chorus in a classical Greek drama. They are often observers in the street. Choose three or four minor characters and describe their roles. What is their importance to the novel as a whole?

10. When Clarissa reflects on Septimus’s death at the end of the novel, she experiences a moment of being, or an epiphany. What truth becomes clear to her, and why is it significant?
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Kelley
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PostSubject: Re: Discussion Questions   Wed Jul 18, 2007 5:24 pm

1. “Fear no more the heat ’o the sun / Nor the furious winter’s rages” is a quote from Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline. The words are repeated or alluded to many times throughout Mrs. Dalloway, by both Clarissa and Septimus. What do the words mean, and why do Clarissa and Septimus repeat them?

2. Woolf created Septimus Warren Smith as a double for Clarissa. In what ways are Clarissa and Septimus different? In what ways are they the same?

Clarissa and Septimus both view life and earth in an intraspective and deeper way than the other characters. They both seem to appreciate the beauty and analyze the meaning of many daily encounters. They are both very sensitive. Septimus desires freedom and Clarissa desires conformity.

3. Conversion is seen as a constant threat in the novel. Which characters wish to convert others, and what are they trying to convert others to? Are some characters more susceptible to conversion than others?

All the characters that are converting, are trying to change people to their personal views. These characters are usually in positions of power and respect (doctors, etc). None of these characters have much tolerance for individuality and none seem to be very kind.


4. Mrs. Dalloway is constructed from many different points of view, and points of view are sometimes linked by an emotion, a sound, a visual image, or a memory. Describe three instances when the point of view changes and explain how Woolf accomplishes the transitions. How do the transitions correspond to the points of view being connected?

The child at the fountain in the park
Septimus's death, and the sound of the ambulances
are the two that stand out the most to me...they seem to be key moments in the novel that are shared by many characters, but viewed very differently by each.


5. Flowers, gardens, and nature are important motifs in the novel. Choose three characters and describe their relationships to the natural world. What do these relationships reveal about the characters or their functions in the novel?

6. Characters in the novel come from a range of social classes. What does Peter mean when he feels the “pyramidal accumulation” that weighed on his generation is shifting? How did the old social order weigh particularly heavily on women?

7. What role does Sally Seton play in Clarissa’s life, and what is the significance of her surprise appearance at the party?

Sally (of the past) is a fantasy for Clarissa, the life she could have had. She often reminices of her friend, her outgoing behavior, her love for Sally. When Clarissa feels disatisfied, Sally is her what if...Sally (of the present) reminds Clarissa that life goes on, that we can't remain young, energetic and bold girls, but we grow and change.

8. World War I affected all the characters in the book to some degree. How did the war influence at least three of the characters?

9. The multitude of minor characters in the novel can be compared to the chorus in a classical Greek drama. They are often observers in the street. Choose three or four minor characters and describe their roles. What is their importance to the novel as a whole?

10. When Clarissa reflects on Septimus’s death at the end of the novel, she experiences a moment of being, or an epiphany. What truth becomes clear to her, and why is it significant?

I think it will only be important if Clarissa follows through with her epiphany. She realizes the frivilousness of her worry, her parties, in comparisson to people like Septimus. The key is if she changes her life, her behavior, or her interactions with others.
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