On Internal War in “Mrs. Dalloway”

“Since she was lying on the sofa, cloistered, exempt, the presence of this thing which she felt to be so obvious became physically existent; with robes of sound from the street, sunny, with hot breath, whispering, blowing out the winds” (Woolf 118).

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, Inc., 1925, pg. 118.

Woolf’s stream of consciousness writing style highlights the thought processes of a woman living in a time where one is expected to live solely for others. In this sense, women were, and still often are, at war with society. With this quote, Clarissa Dalloway defies the typical ways that women were expected to view life. An exceptionally personal and remarkably hopeful account is given as this thoughtful protagonist places herself on the front lines against societal forces.