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We like to think of history as constantly progressing in a positive sense. For example, how today people of every race are able to vote, so clearly we have progressed positively in the civil rights movement compared to 100 years ago. Unfortunately with history that is not always the way it goes. The negative progress towards woman and mental health in England from the early 1800s to the early 1900s affected women to the extent that they were forced to take damaging and unnecessary treatments. For a period of time women were admitted into insane asylums, not because of true necessity, but because of the cultural norms and gender roles imposed on them at the time. After World War I artists and authors began to speak out through their works about these problems in an effort to raise awareness. Two of these artists were the renowned authoresses Virginia Woolf and Rebecca West. Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and West’s The Return of the Soldier provide a look into the state of mind of women in post-WWI Britain. They imply that the patriarchal society’s pressures caused women to be traumatized emotionally and I argue that the records of insane asylums and Victorian values correlate with those implications. The women in these novels can be analyzed individually and compared to each other to see the similarities and differences between Woolf’s and West’s writing approach to address this social problem.


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  • Subject
    • English

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Nesbitt 3217

  • Event date
    • 25 March 2016

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Austin Riede