Mrs. Dalloway

Virginia Woolf

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Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe explains the symbols in Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs. Dalloway.

Mrs. Dalloway | Symbols



An airplane flies over London in the book's second section, becoming a catalyst for the fears and anxieties of various characters. The airplane, a new technology, symbolizes the swift changes in London's urban society after World War I—changes that inspired the Modernists to reflect on human feelings of confusion and helplessness. Since everyone outside Buckingham Palace is watching the airplane, the symbol brings together Londoners from different walks of life, emphasizing London as a character of its own. The airplane also represents the war, and the shadow of the war that still lingers in the lives of characters like Septimus.


Septimus asserts, "Men must not cut down trees." For him and others, trees symbolize an everlasting life force that gives meaning to existence in the postwar chaos. Characters like Clarissa and Septimus, aware of the temporary nature of their existence, know and are comforted by the fact that nature (including trees) will outlive them. Peter dreams about a solitary traveler mesmerized by the "spectral presence" of a tree. To Peter, trees represent a mysterious femininity, a force he sees in Clarissa as well.

Questions for Symbols

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Read the following passage and identify at least 3 elements of figurative language; explain how each element brings out the theme of the passage. "The Wrong Place" by Susan Michalski Lana woke up, cur
Read the following story from the Modernist period, written between the world wars. In one or two paragraphs, analyze the themes, values, and ideas that are reflected in the text. A Day's Wait By Erne
Hii there.. I want to write a rough draft on the topic " Hills Like White Elephants" please help me.. thanks, Lyla Ch.
doing a paper for angle of vision (college) need help on my grammar and word choice description. Need someone to read it and make edit and revise so it can make sense. At the end give me advice if my
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