Comparison Within Clarissa Dalloway Essay, Research Paper
Virginia Woolf creates interesting contrast within the character of Clarissa Dalloway using
stream of consciousness narration in her novel Mrs. Dalloway. Clarissa?s inner thoughts
reveal a contrast between her lack of attraction to her husband due to her lesbian feelings
and her fear of loosing him as a social stepping stone. These contrasts and many others
can be seen throughout the novel using the literary device of stream of consciousness
Clarissa?s character reveals to us early in the book her lack of attraction to her
husband. This revelation can be seen in the passage that states: ?…through some
contraction of this cold spirit, she had failed him…she could see what she lacked…it was
something central which permeated….? The ?cold spirit? that she talks of is her sexuality,
in being attracted to women, and her lack of understanding why she is this way. This is
the main reason for her lack of attraction. She feels that she has let him down because she
cannot complete her duties as his wife. Clarissa had lost both a sexual relationship and
sexual attraction with her husband since the birth of her teenage daughter Elizabeth:
?…she could not dispel a virginity preserved through childbirth which clung to her like a
Clarissa tells us of her true sexuality as she remembers her girlhood friend Sally
Seton. Sally is the only person that Clarissa has ever had any real passionate feelings for.
?But this question of love, this falling in love with women. Take Sally Seton; her relation
in the old days with Sally Seton. Had not that, after all, been love?? Although Sally held
her heart, her homosexual feelings were not socially acceptable. Clarissa is therefore
obliged to enter into a marriage to Richard Dalloway for social purposes.
A contrast to Clarissa?s lack of attraction to her husband is seen in her fear of
loosing him. Richard provides for her a stepping stone for her to be the socialite that she
strives to be. When Richard is invited to a lunch with Lady Bruton, a twinge of fear is
evident in Clarissa that she is loosing her husband: ?Fear no more the heat o? the sun; for
the shock of Lady Bruton asking Richard to lunch without her made the moment which
she had stood shiver….? Without him, she would be nothing in society, so Clarissa is
scared of loosing him even though she has no attraction towards him.
A contrast in the ?deeper? self of Clarissa Dalloway can be seen in the stream of
consciousness narration in Mrs. Dalloway. She reveals her lack of attraction for her
husband and her fear of loosing him through her inner thoughts. This provides for us the
ability to see the weaknesses of Clarissa and many of the other characters.