Clarissa Dalloway is the protagonist of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Clarissa is a 50 year old woman who invests such a large portion of her time and energy into being high society hostess, throwing parties, keeping in step with fashion, and the like, that she has come to be known as “Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa anymore; but as Mrs. Richard Dalloway” (Woolf 10). Throughout the novel she struggles to find the balance between the life that she leads and the façade that she presents to society and the life that she wishes that she had. Much of her interaction with others takes place at her shindigs and consists of convivial chatter, and as such few people, if any, know much about the true thoughts and aspirations of Clarissa Dalloway. In her younger days, Clarissa was romantically involved with Peter Walsh, another prominent character in the novel. Although she cared very much for Peter, she felt that they were very different and was not confident in her ability to keep up with him; She was afraid to rebel against social standards and follow her heart, and instead left Peter and married Richard Dalloway, a man who was both financially and socially well to do. Clarissa spends much of her time pondering about what her life could have been like if she had chosen to follow a life of freedom and adventure rather and a life of security. Clarissa is disappointed when her old friend, Sally, now Lady Rosseter, unexpectedly attends her party. When the two were younger Clarissa admired Sally quite a bit, both physically and in character. Sally possessed “a sort of abandonment, as if she could say anything, do anything” (Woolf, 32). Flashbacks to earlier times with Sally also suggest that Clarissa may have had interest in exploring a romantic relationship with her, as suggested by Clarissa’s statement that “the whole world might have turned upside down” when she was kissed by Sally (Woolf, 32). Her disappointment at the appearance of such a former free spirit who now led a life very much like her own exemplifies Clarissa’s hidden desires to be free of her actual life and pursue a life of rebellion.
LCC 3843: Digital HumanitiesThis course begins with the basic premise that theoretical concepts can be engaged through method. To this end, we will explore the theories that underlie digital humanities scholarship—in particular, as they relate to literary studies—through the practice of three major sets of methods associated with this emerging field. (Read more...)