101 Science & Nursing Building

Start Date

27-4-2018 1:45 PM

End Date

27-4-2018 2:15 PM


In this presentation, I discuss connections between gender nonconforming characters and suicide within the novel “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf. My focus is on Septimus Warren Smith and, to a lesser extent, Clarissa Dalloway, and how they are both portrayed as not conforming to their (patriarchal) society's expectations of gender. I argue that this inability to fully live within their gender expression ultimately contributes to their eventual feelings and actions concerning suicide. I look at Septimus Warren Smith's inability to process emotion to "feel" – which seems to have been broken by World War I and reinforced by the actions of medical professionals, specifically Dr. Holmes, which I argue represent the patriarchy in the novel. For Clarissa, it means looking at how her own same-gender attraction is stifled in her marriage to Richard. Finally, I provide an analysis of the connectedness between the two characters and argue that Clarissa's understanding of Septimus's death provides more insight into his motivations.


Apr 27th, 1:45 PM Apr 27th, 2:15 PM

Once You Stumble ‚ Human Nature is on You: Septimus Warren Smith‚ Gender Nonconformity & Suicide in Mrs. Dalloway

101 Science & Nursing Building