1 Formalization of Sensum Narrative in Mrs. Dalloway
1.1 Narrating the Diversified in Form of Dots
In Mrs. Dalloway, the diversified of individuals in life is presented in the form ofundefined dots. A dot has no size unit, but an abstract concept, only its position, but no size,which is a formal representation of diversified individuals. Diversified individuals arecountless dots in reality, the “moments of being” of individuals are dots in time dimension,and the action trajectories of individuals in reality are dots in space. Diversified individualshave different action trajectories in time and space, and they are incoherent and interlaced.
The diversity of individuals in life in Mrs. Dalloway is mainly manifested in individualdifferences. The confrontation between individuals that comes from differences and therespect for differences are two manifestations of diversity. The form of confrontation ismanifested in the confrontation against the propotion and the confrontation against conversion.The form of confrontation is formed by the suppression of diversity and resistance from theinside out. The confrontation against the propotion is the confrontation between the patientand the doctor, and also the confrontation between the minority and the mainstream. Theconfrontation against the conversion is the confrontation between the daughter and thegoverness, as well as the confrontation between human nature and religion. The form ofrespect is expressed as a multi-person party and a private space for two people. The form ofrespect is that diversity is achieved in reality and presented in external harmony. The party isthe gathering of diversified individuals in the same space to achieve communication andachieve external harmony. The private space is where the husband and wife are not disturbedby external factors, allowing a individual and a individual to communicate in need and beingneeded, and achieve spiritual harmony.
1.2 Narrating the United in Form of Lines
In Mrs. Dalloway, the unitied of individuals in life is presented in the form of lines. BigBen marks the continuous passage of time. Although individuals are diversified, they allmove forward with the passage of real time. Big Ben’s time is the realistic coordinate fordiversified individuals to communicate. Diversified individuals can meet in the same spaceand communicate with each other at the same time. Individuals who can communicate witheach other in reality, on the premise of respecting each other’s differences, move forwardtogether in the consistency of time, and finally reach mutual understanding.
In Mrs. Dalloway, to achieve unity, we must first respect diversity. However, respect fordiversity can only achieve external harmony, but not internal unity. In the external harmony,diversity becomes the resistance of internal unity. Only by overcoming the differencesbrought by diversity can real unity be realized. The gathering of body and soul brought aboutby respect for diversity is a necessary condition for achieving unity. When gathering, thebodies converge, but the souls interlaced, so this unity is only a superficial gathering, which isa failure. In the failure of unity, it is the ultimate realization of unity to respect individualdifferences and realize the understanding of diversified individuals. Understanding needs theconsistency of distance in space and time.
In Mrs. Dalloway, the convergence of bodies in spaces such as parks and streets is theunitied of diverse individuals in the form of lines. Park, as a public place, is a space wherediversified individuals gather together, providing a realistic space for the communication ofdiversified individuals. In the fiction, streets and parks are two obvious spaces whereindividuals gather. In Regent’s park, Septimus, lucrezia Warren Smith, Peter, Mrs. Dempster,and other individuals get together. Although individuals don’t know each other and can’tunderstand each other, they can recognize their position in reality through other individuals inthe same space. In the park, the consciousness is flowing at will, but it can always be pulledback to reality by human being around.
2 Formalization of Sensum Narrative in To the Lighthouse
2.1 Narrating the Dichotomized in Form of “H”
In To the Lighthouse, the dichotomized between sensibility and rationality is presented inthe form of “H”. Woolf believes that this fiction is “two blocks joined by a corridor”(Woolf,1976: 48). In the fiction structure, To the Lighthouse focuses on the first part and the thirdpart, while the long passage of time in the second part is briefly mentioned. In terms of spatiallayout, Ramsay’s family and the distant lighthouse are the parts on both sides of the “H”,while when the boat goes to the lighthouse, it connects the two sides. The last line of Lily’spainting connects the dichotomized sensibility with the rationality, which makes the paintingshow an H-shaped structure.
“H” intuitively shows a kind of division. Sensibility and rationality are just like “H”,which are difficult to integrate with each other. A horizontal line in the middle can onlyconnect the two ends of the dichotomized, but it cannot unify the two. The dichotomizedsensibility and rationality are scattered parts, just like the loose parts in Lily’s initial paintings.It is Mrs. Ramsay who makes the connection between the parts. Mrs. Ramsay, like thehorizontal line in the middle of “H”, connects the divided poles together, but this externalconnection can’t resist the dichotomized between sensibility and rationality, and can only putsensibility and rationality at opposite ends.
In space, To the Lighthouse narrates the dichotomized between sensibility and rationalityin the form of “H”. In space, the house where Ramsay lived is one pole of “H”, and the distantlamp tower is the other pole of “H”. Going to the lighthouse is a form of connecting the living place with the distant lighthouse. The fiction is divided into three parts. In the first two parts,when Mrs. Ramsay was still alive, the action of going to the lighthouse was not completed,and sensibility and rationality were in an extreme dichotomized state. In the third part, Mrs.Ramsay died, and the action of going to the lighthouse happened. Sensibility and rationalityare connected, and at the same time, the conflict between sensibility and rationality ismagnified in the connection.
2.2 Narrating the Unified in Form of Circle
The unified of sensibility and rationality in To the Lighthouse is presented in the form ofcircle. In the first part of the fiction, human being sit around the table to have dinner, and thecandles show circles, connecting human being together. At the end of the fiction, the Ramsayfamily went to the lighthouse after Mrs. Ramsay died, and Mrs. Ramsay, as the third steadyflash of the lighthouse, brought human being together again. Mrs. Ramsay is the light sourceto resist sea engulfment, which connects human being closely through emotion.
Emotion is the bond that unifies sensibility and rationality, and human being are closelyunited through emotional bonds to resist the power of destruction. Like time, the seasymbolizes irresistible extinction in the fiction. In the face of extinction, individual strength isweak, and human being must unite to survive in extinction. In the confrontation betweensurvival and destruction, the unified of sensibility and rationality becomes the strength ofsurvival. Although natural extinction is inevitable, the consensus reached to fight againstextinction enables human being’s spirit to live forever, and at the same time endows the seasymbolizing extinction with the meaning of time to survive.
Inside the window, the unified of sensibility and rationality unites human being in theform of a circle to fight against the engulfment of the sea outside the window. In To theLighthouse, the sound of sea has two opposite meanings, one symbolizes conversion, orderand silent guarding, and the other ruthlessly interrupts human being’s imagination ofconversion, reminding human being that everything is fleeting. Individuals are like islandsthat are about to be swallowed up by the sea, unable to resist the power of extinction. It iswritten in the fiction, “but like a ghostly roll of drums remorselessly beat the measure of life,made one think of the destruction of the island and its engulfment in the sea, and warned herwhose day had slipped past in one quick doing after another that it was all ephemeral as arainbow—”（Woolf, 1981: 16） The sound of sea waves is monotonous and repetitive. It isthis characteristic of the sound of sea waves that makes human being feel the commonalitybetween it and the life that is disappearing constantly in repetition. As a result, the wavesbecome a relentless force that engulfs everything.
3 Formalization of Sensum Narrative in Orlando: A Biography...................30
3.1 Narrating the Finite in Form of Body................................. 30
3.2 Narrating the Infinite in Form of Art..................................... 32
4 Formalization of Sensum Narrative in Between the Acts...........................35
4.1 Narrating the Formalized in Form of Play........................35
4.2 Narrating the Chaotic in Form of Sound........................38
4 Formalization of Sensum Narrative in Between the Acts
4.1 Narrating the Formalized in Form of Play
The formalized in Between the Acts is presented in the form of play. Formalization is thecharacteristic of civilization, that is, harmony, rationality, literature and unity, which isexpressed in the order of play. The play in Between the Acts can be regarded as an attempt offormal construction. The fiction expresses civilization with the order of play, and uncivilizedwith the chaotic between the acts. The fiction constructs order with drama, destroys orderwith the chaotic, and shows the reality that civilization and uncivilized coexist in theconfrontation between order and the chaotic. As a form of play, pageant shows thecharacteristics of harmony, rationality, literature and unity of civilization.
The harmony of civilization is expressed as the center and meaning of the group, therationality of civilization is expressed as the rational thinking of oneself, the literary nature ofcivilization is expressed as the inheritance of traditional culture, and the unity of civilizationis expressed as the cohesion of individuals. As the writer and director of the pageant, Miss LaTrobe in the fiction is the constructor of the play order, and her control is arbitrary to humanbeing. But at the same time, she is also subject to the order of the play, and her authority isdissolved by the play and becomes the authority of the play. As viewers and interpreters, theaudience is also controlled by the order of the play. In the process of performing historicaldramas in the open air, the order of play plays a dominant role, and the concrete self returnedafter experiencing abstraction and aesthetics presents the characteristics of civilization.
This thesis focuses on the formalization of sensum narrative in Woolf’s fiction. Thisthesis describes, analyzes and evaluates the four fictions Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse,Orlando: A Biography, and Between the Acts on the two levels of sensum cognition and form,trying to reveal how Woolf uses forms to present her sensum cognition of modern life andmodern people. In Mrs. Dalloway, Woolf uses the two forms of dots and line to point to thetwo sensum of the diversified and the united, as well as the relationship between the two. InTo the Lighthouse, Woolf uses the two forms of “H” and circle to point to the two sensum ofthe dichotomized of sensibility and rationality and the unified of sensibility and rationality, aswell as the relationship between the two. In Orlando: A Biography, Woolf uses the two formsof body and art to point to the two sensum of the finite and the infinite, and the relationshipbetween the two. In Between the Acts, Woolf uses the two forms of play and sound to point tothe two sensum of the formalized and the chaotic, as well as the relationship between the two.
On the whole, the sensum narrative in Woolf’s fiction have a structure of binaryopposition in form. Mrs. Dalloway presents a binary opposition between individual diversityand individual unity. The fiction narrates the diversity of individuals in the form of dots,narrates the unity of individuals in the form of line, and fights against the diversity ofindividuals with the unity of individuals. To the Lighthouse presents the binary opposition ofthe dichotomy between sensibility and rationality and the unity between sensibility andrationality. The fiction narrates the dichotomy between sensibility and rationality in the formof “H”, the unity of sensibility and rationality in the form of circle, and fights against thedichotomy between sensibility and rationality with the unity of sensibility and rationality.Orlando: A Biography presents a binary opposition between the finiteness of body and theinfinity of art. The fiction narrates the finite of the individual in the form of the body, and theinfinite of the individual in the form of art. The breakthrough from finiteness to eternity isachieved through the rise from the body to the art. Between the Acts presents a binaryopposition between formalization and chaos. The work narrates the individual’s constructionof formalization in the form of play, and narrates the chaos of reality in the form of sound,revealing that the essence of modernity is prehistoric civilization. It is believed that after thefailure of the construction of formalization, accepting the chaos of reality is a respect forindividual survival.