Saturday, March 24, 2007

Later Mrs. Dalloway was the very central character in her own book.

But first she was a character in Virginia Woolf's first novel, "The Voyage Out."

Oh, what a different view.

In "Mrs. Dalloway," we the readers are with her in her own setting, the lovely house, the elegant party, buying flowers to save the maid the trouble and feeling righteous about that. The other main character is far below her in class, and not connected to her at all. She passes him in the park on the day he ends of committing suicide, the day of her party.

The maid who she spares by buying the flowers isn't a meaningful character.

In "The Voyage Out," Mrs. Dalloway, Clarissa, and her husband Richard, are characters for a while. They are relating to people related to a man who came up from not too much and is making much money running cargo ships which take some passengers.

In "The Voyage Out," the cargo ship owner is taking connected bits of his family and a family friends on a voyage on one of the ships. There are no other passengers until the Dalloways, who are touring the world because he is out of Parliament for the present, need to make a connection they can't make one regular liners.

They hear about the cargo man's ship and his family voyage and use the British ambassador of a country the ship of touching port at to invite themselves aboard.

They push themselves aboard and look down on everyone on board. I mean, they don't look down on the sailors. They don't need to bother with that. They look down on the family and friends they have wished themselves on.

The astute but very sheltered young daughter and niece of the two families notices that having the Dalloways come aboard is an inconvenience and that her father, the ship owner, likes that the are coming aboard.

Mrs. Dalloway is the daughter of a peer.

In "Mrs. Dalloway," Clarissa is very concerned with imagining as she plans her party how each person at the party might be made happy. On the ship she and her husband have invited themselves on for their own convenience, she does not wonder about other's happiness, or about how the Dalloway's prescence might impact their happiness.

Julie Christie, the actress, said that there were some parts in movies about the British Empire that she didn't accept because the movies as a whole used the people who weren't British as moral props. How the British people treated them showed something about the British people's moral worth, but they were presented as having complex lives of their own.

The families of the ship owner are props for Clarissa Dalloway and her husband in the story of them touring the world and learning things about the world while he, a career politician is out of office. Considered as moral props to rate the quality of the Dalloways, they don't make the Dalloways look to good.

Though in the book, Woolf herself is not using them as moral props only. We know a lot about them. The book is much more about them than the Dalloways. But they show the Dalloways in the light they are not shown in in "Mrs. Dalloway" because they basically don't care about the people they have chosen to sail with. I assume the Dalloways are paying, but the book doesn't say, and I'm not absolutely sure. I'm not sure exactly how much of a privilege the ship owner considers the presence of a peer's daughter and an out-of-office politician to be.

Virginia Stephen and her sister Vanessa Stephen came out in the social sense. They were failures. However one may feel about a process, failing at something you are actually doing is no fun.

Virginia Stephen and Vanessa Stephen moved to their own place after both their parents died and started an alternative gathering place. The Bloomsbury group. Virginia married Leonard Woolf. Vanessa married Clive Bell. Before they became alternative, they tried to be regular.