In Virginia Woolf's 1925 novel, "Mrs. Dalloway",taking place in a single day in London after WWI, the heroine, Clarissa, prepares for a party she is giving that June night by going into the city to buy flowers.
As the day wears on, Clarissa meets all those who are significant in her life: her dauther, Elisabeth, Elisabeth's workingclass woman friend Doris Kilman, her former lover, Peter Walsh, terurning from India with a broken marriage and an unsuitable fiancee, and Hugh Whitbread, an upperclass sycophand who preys on the private lives of his friends.
Also abroad in the city are Septimus Warren Smith, suffering from WWI shellshock, and his wife Rezia. As Clarissa wanders through Hyde Park, heeding the peals of Big Ben,(whose echoes spread leaden circles in the air),Septimus is trying to drown out accusing voices from his dead friend Evans telling him to kill himself.
In the evening, Clarissa's party becomes a delirious success, surrounded by past and present acquaintances summing up her life.She is only upset with the social-climbing D. Bradshaw and his wife, who inform her of the suicide of one of the doctor's patients: Septimus Smith. To
Clarissa's dismay, who only wants to hear of happiness, ceath cuts through all this. "Death was defiance...Death drew people apart, rapture faded..one was alone."
This report prepared by Betty-Jeanne Korson