When thinking about Elizabeth, I automatically think about the people who influence her. As a seventeen year old on the verge of womanhood, Elizabeth spends a lot of time with Miss Kilman, her history teacher who has an unfounded hatred towards her mother Clarissa. On the other hand , Mrs. Dalloway is dumfounded by her daughter spending so much time with Miss Kilman.
Elizabeth seems torn between her mother and Miss Kilman, this struggle represents something much deeper to me. It seems as if Wolf intended for this to also represent Elizabeth’s own struggle to choose between being a woman of the past like her mother or becoming a modern woman like Miss Killman hopes to see her become. I say this because Miss Kilman is the complete opposite of Mrs. Dalloway. It seems as if Wolf has inserted Elizabeth’s storyline into the novel to illustrate the anticipated freedom and work opportunities for women during this time. Given that Elizabeth starts to consider her different career options and her actions suggest that there is promising future for women of the time to have the freedom to choose their own path. Kilman believes that the young ladies of Elizabeth’s generation will attain the means to several different types of professions. While Elizabeth’s career aspirations exceeds that of her mother, she doesn’t seem very motivated and her attitude towards life is actually much like her mother’s when she was Elizabeth’s age.
Elizabeth Dalloway looks very different. She is said to be an exotic beauty ( more specifically an oriental beauty) she looks different than her mother. Elizabeth being different in the sense of her looks coupled with the uncertainty that she possesses when it come to her future embodies what the future held for woman at the time. I feel like Wolf uses Elizabeth’s character to suggest that the future for women was going to be positive although it was still uncertain. Elizabeth illustrates how women will have the choice of pursing a career, however does this mean that they will end up like Miss Kilman alone and bitter; will they end up like Clarissa if they don’t pursue anything; or can they have both? Wolf leaves us pondering what the future will hold for Elizabeth as she makes an entrance at the end. The book details her youthful beautiful innocents slowly being corrupted by her becoming an adult. It becomes apparent that Elizabeth’s career aspirations stem from Miss Kilman and it appears that she will follow into her mother’s footsteps more and more.
We are left to only think about our struggle to be free spiritually and physically within the restraints of society. For the time period this seems like something a lot of young women struggled with. I think the ending further represents the transition of us leaving the life of a child that has yet to feel the weight of society and is still free of responsibility; entering into adulthood where we start to take on our own personal identites.We also see that while we might want to to break away from our parents and while we outwardly appear to very different, we can’t help but to follow their footsteps.