Time, Memory, and Consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts
Date of Award
Martha Carpentier, Ph.D.
Jonathan Farina, Ph.D.
virgnia woolf mrs dalloway between the acts
In Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa Dalloway emerges as a character gripped by the notion and passage of time. Woolf represents the chronological aspect of time through images such as Big Ben and its relentless chimes as well as the various references to clocks or bells throughout the novel. To the Lighthouse also thematically and narratively explores constructions of time, particularly by focusing on elements such as inaction and delay. The journey to the Lighthouse, for example, does not occur until the end of the novel. Both texts underscore the tension between the linear timeframe of the novel and the narrative elements that delay the action of the story. A similar pattern appears in Woolf’s last novel, Between the Acts—and although antithetical to Mrs. Dalloway—also depicts various modes of time through the juxtaposition of the historical pageant play and the consciousness of the characters and audience. The notion of time—and indeed, the temporal experiences of the characters—is woven into the consciousness of the characters in each of the novels. In various instances, representations of time summon memories or associations with the past, present, or future. Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts, intersect at moments where modes of time or memory expose the character’s consciousness and it is through this intersection that Woolf underscores the manner in which the narratives take on meaning.
Olivotti, Nicole, "Time, Memory, and Consciousness in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Between the Acts" (2018). Seton Hall University Dissertations and Theses (ETDs). 2546.