Inside Virginia Woolf



Literature 11/18/2003


Virginia Woolf was one of the most influential writers of her time. In Mrs. Dalloway, the character of Septimus W. Smith seems to be one of the key element’s who mirrors most of Virginia Woolf’s views. In her style of writing she introduces the thoughts , feelings , and past memories that go through the minds of her characters. The way in which she writes, lets us know the way the characters think not just the way they act. Her writing in Mrs. Dalloway shows her anti‑war views and how the characters are tragically affected by World War I.


In my opinion Septimus displays the key components to state her political views. He was an idealistic young man before the war. He seemed to have a strong moral code within himself. He wanted to be a poet and write of love and the beauty in the world. When the war is over and after his suffering shell shock, Woolf shows how the war has changed his way of thinking. He no longer can find the beauty of his inner spirit, instead he feels there is no humanity left in the world. In some way I feel Ms. Woolf is portraying herself in Septimus. They shared some of the same views and both committed suicide. When someone loses hope in all mankind, there is no meaning of life. When a man is filled with such ideals as he was, it comes as a great blow to your mind to feel and think that mankind is inhuman. Ultimately this affects his marriage to Lucrezia. A young women who is faced with the thought that the man she once knew is only there in body but not in mind. She has no one to really talk to. She has to handle such a tragic thing as this man losing his mind alone.


I think Ms. Woolf has a connection with Septimus because of his mental illness. Ms Woolf was also troubled in her life, with mixed emotions and uncertainties. Noone knew that when she wrote the book in 1925 that she would drown herself in 1941. Ms. Woolf suffered from attacks of mental illnesses her whole life. She had a terrible childhood and lost most of the people she loved at an early age. In the same way Septimus was touched by the tragedy of war and losing his friends, he lost his mind. Septimus was so greatly affected by the war that it changed who he was as a person. That affected everyone that knew and loved Septimus like his wife Lucrezia. Ms. Woolf was such a great writer that she can make her readers feel as she does about the war. How it can change a normal young man as Septimus. Who was filled with original thoughts before he served in World War I. He is consumed by his thoughts and in the end he can no longer deal with life as he knew it. He felt the only way to meet peace was to kill himself.


As she writes, Ms. Woolf seems to have an insight to the human mind. She has a kind of writing talent that most writers cant copy. She is almost like a psychiatrist, the way she can get into the readers mind and make them see what she sees. It is as if she is not telling you a story, she is making you think the story and feel the story as you become the character. She wants us to think freely and express our thoughts without feeling judged. Lucrezia was so afraid of discussing her husbands condition that she suffered alone. Ms. Woolf was showing her audience how society at that time frowned on mental illness. That kind of thing was sort of unheard of back in those times. In a way society helped kill Septimus, because unlike today he didn’t get any help.


Virginia Woolf wrote Ms. Dalloway to show people how greatly people can be affected by war. Septimus was so scarred after losing his friends and his mind, he didn’t have the will to live. He was there and experienced the war first hand, his mind was filled with the horror of war.