Male Characters in Mrs. Dalloway

A close look into the male characters of Virginia Woolf’s novel, which reveals that they are not men at all.

This paper contains multiple examples of how such characters as Peter Walsh and Septimus Smith have been stripped of all manhood by Woolf’s belief in androgyny, or the unsexing of the two sexes. It explains how, by removing all the masculine traits of her male characters, these men become unrealistic to a modern, heterosexual, male reader.
“For years the works of Virginia Woolf have inspired and motivated her readers. Many women, especially writers, find a strong voice in that of Woolf as they find themselves truly connecting with her characters. By getting inside the female mind Woolf is able to extract internal monologues that women can identify with and feel compassion for, making them seem very real and believable. But the same cannot be said, however, about Woolf’s male characters. Though Woolf may accurately and effectively be able to get inside the minds of a woman and inspire women readers, she seems unable to create such accurate and believable male characters in her novel Mrs. Dalloway; specifically the characters of Peter Walsh and Septimus Smith. These male characters are two very crucial pieces of the novel, but on the page they do not seem to a modern, heterosexual, male reader, to be men at all. Instead, Woolf’s belief in androgyny, or unsexing of gender, leads her to create men who have overly feminine characteristics, while some of her female characters, such as Sally Seton, become more masculine than their male counterparts.”

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