Woolf’s Use of Narrative
Woolf achieves the suitable flow of the storyline in these ways:
The clock serves as an example of the experiential sense of time, in which "the moment" expands- as it is filled with meaning. The "Narrative Consciousness" shows this distance as essential to a satisfying marriage- Richard gives Clarissa room to be herself. Clarissa can put some distance between herself and her feelings. The party at the end brings together the people who complete her.
Septimus, on the other hand, suffers from an inner, distorted reality, even though he is Clarissa’s double. In the end, Septimus surrenders to his tortured soul by taking his life, thus allowing his "truth" to remain intact. Clarissa’s inescapable past-ness makes it nostalgic.
Since the narrator’s mind is dependent on the character’s mind, this allows the reader to follow the minds of the characters. Most often in MD, external objects are introduced as a means of transition from the mind of one character to another.
The omniscient narrator is often illustrated with a schismatic, sudden cross-section of individual perspectives.
"First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air." (MD 4)
"The clock was striking. The leaden circles dissolved in the air." (MD 186)
Thus, there are three identifiable times Woolf wants us to recognize as integral to the structure of the novel: The past of the narrator, the time of Clarissa’s youth, and the time of this single day in June.
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