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Course Hero, "Mrs. Dalloway Study Guide," November 28, 2016, accessed October 23, 2019, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Mrs-Dalloway/.

Mrs. Dalloway | Discussion Questions 51 - 51

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How do Mrs. Dalloway's characters experience and express a Modernist sense of alienation from the world around them?

Though characters interact with others, most of them spend the greater part of the novel alone—alone in their homes, alone surrounded by crowds. Clarissa feels isolated when her home is full of companions. Rezia feels lonely in the large city of London. She and Septimus both speak aloud to no one; Rezia feels her words fade as "a rocket fades." The solitary traveler that Peter conjures in his dream also makes reply to an unknown figure, a void. Even content married couples, like Clarissa and Richard, feel that their solitude is part of their relationship. The limited dialogue reflects a Modernist focus on the language of the mind, in its honesty. Characters can't lie to themselves about how they feel, though they can be insincere with one another. Clarissa's joyful greetings at the party, for instance, belie her true mood.

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