athis novel was called The Hours
during a major part of its composition. Now that change of title opens up a lot of possibilities in this text. By assgning the title of Mrs Dalloway the immediate consequence is that it is supposed that Mrs Dalloway is the heroine of this novel. True--but what virginia Woolf tries to write is not a story about the central character nor a day in the life of Mrs Dalloway. This is a stream of conciuosness novel and a steam of thoughts flows in and out of various minds .
The basic outline of the story is the description of a typical post world war day in london, explored through a upper class family where everything seems perfect but beneath it all is a sea of turbulence. woolf explores all major themes associated with the modern day world, ranging from homosexuality ,pshycotic neurosis, insanity and the possibilities of a suicide,
woolf is a modernist writer, essentially so, therefore it naturally follows that her work voices the concerns of the modern day world, precisely post world war world. i would not say that the effects of the world war are substantially visible in charactersiation, except for the character of septimus warren smith, who acts as a parallel to the protagonist. septimus is a neurotic, a victim of the severe trauma a soldies goes through during war, we know he is visited by the ghost of his colleague who dies in the war. one of the mpost poignant expression septimus makes is when he is scared by real things. Septimus' moment of sanity come just before his suicide probably, an action which saves Clarissa from a similar fate.
Time plays an impotant part in the novel, the big ben becomin a symbol of mortality in a suffused kind of a way. Infact the time patternt has to be worked efficiently, in meticulous detail for the structure of the story to come through.
Woolf achieves a balnce of substance, complicated style and psychological exploration which makes this piece a little strenuos but very enjoyable.