Present within Virginia Woolf’s work of “Ms. Dalloway” is the apparent demonstration of stream of consciousness writing. This narrative strategy yields a certain amount of psychological realism within the work versus if it did not have this present. Whenever a work is presented with more psychological realism, it is easier to grasp and understand because the characters and situations seem more relatable.
So, whenever I started contemplating the concept of this stream of consciousness writing, I realized that there was another element present that I had previously not remembered: that of the character Septimus. Septimus could be said to be Clarissa’s doppelganger, or her darker, inner self that she is at war with constantly.
If one contemplates the inclusion of Septimus in the proceedings, you would realize that there are three facets to Clarissa to consider. There is her external, social butterfly. Her internal stream of consciousness and the facet of her personality known as Septimus. Realizing that Septimus, insanity slowly bubbling under the surface, and Clarissa’s normalcy exist side-by-side is a terrifying reminder how close we all are to losing our minds.
Woolf provides a tragic insight into the human condition using the concepts of stream of consciousness and double consciousness in regard to narrative strategy and style. Partially why we still fascinated with this work is the idea that we are constantly at war with what bubbles under the surface, threatening to take us over.