In Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, there is a suggested correlation between ideology and social structure. Running parallel is a connection made between Mrs. Dalloway and the historical study of the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. Originally suggested in 1913, Wembley was postponed due to the outbreak of WWI, and finally opened in April of 1924. Its intention was to entertain guests while simultaneously providing them with the knowledge of Britain’s global experience, for example, a Palace of Arts. It also provided a neatly packaged showcase of Britain’s industrial and ideological power. Similar to this is Clarissa’s party at the end of Mrs. Dalloway, which examines London’s governing class at a social function. These characters embody and enforce a ruling ideology outdated by recent events, such as WWI, the rise of the Labor party, and beginning agitations for independence in Britain’s colonies. There are parallels between the ideologies embodied in Clarissa’s guests with the spectacles present at Wembley. Furthermore, Mrs. Dalloway critiques a ruling ideology which permits colonial exploitation.
Ian Thomas, ’12
Major: English and Creative Writing
Sponsor: Leslie Hankins