Literature from the War, they both show their trauma

Literature has always been fascinating. Every author had and has their style of writing, each having its own charisma. In the history of literature, writers wanted to create works of art by putting down their feelings, their thoughts. These works were created for us to read them, and maybe to find ourselves. Reading is a very pleasant activity from which we have things to learn. We can also relax reading. Writers, along the time, had written in many different styles and genres. Not everyone likes the same genre, of course, and we should be glad that there is this diversity from which we can choose what suits us best, what we feel we can read with pleasure.  In this paper I am going to compare these two books, ‘The snows of Kilimanjaro’ and ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, by trying to develop five aspects. Each part is important in its way, each can be criticized and talked about. Characters The first aspect is that of characters. Characters are, in my opinion, the most important part of a writing. They create the whole action, they transmit, they make us falling in love with the book by what they do. The main characters in ‘The snows of Kilimanjaro’are Harry and Helen, while in ‘Mrs. Dalloway’, Clarissa Dalloway. There are some similarities between the characters, especially between the two men, Harry and Septimus Warren Smith. They both have memories from the War, they both show their trauma during the plot, and they both need medical interventions. Harry has some physical problems, he has been infected and has cangrena. Septimus has more a mental disorder, more specific, a post-traumatic disorder. He was traumatized by what he saw and lived when he was in the World War I. He felt then left outside by the others, who thought him to be a danger. Of course, Harry had mental problems, too, when he’s unrecognizable by his lover Helen. They both fell in some kind of ‘mental trap’, they almost go insane, they don’t know what they are talking, in fact, I think that they don’t even realize what they have become. Especially Harry, who said he doesn’t actually love Helen, hurting her. He hurts the feelings of the woman that knew she was loved. Although he married her only for money, I think they loved each other, especially she. Harry and Septimus are both interested in literature, moreover they are directly implied. Harry desired to be a good writer, Septimus loved Shakespeare and poetry. They are both dying, Septimus killing himself. Their wives, Helen and Lucrezia share some characteristics, too. They are both loving women, they try to help their men, they do everything they can to make things better. As far Clarissa(‘Mrs. Dalloway’s main character) is concerned, she doesn’t resemble much the characters mentioned before. The only thing that she shares with them is the depression of the War. She doesn’t like poetry and reading, like Harry and Septimus. She throws parties because she wants to forget about the bad things in her life, anxiety pressed her everyday, and she wanted to escape somehow. The characters are connected by a terrible historical happening, the War. It left wounds even on their private lives, love lives. Harry, being affected so hard, tells Helen that he doesn’t love her, that he didn’t even love her. That was shocking for her, I think, even though there was an age difference between them and he married her only for money, she loved him. Maybe she didn’t love him initially, but living with him, she loved him eventually. Love was complicated in both stories. Love life The relationships in the two stories have some similarities, but even so, Richard and Harry are different in terms of loving. If Clarissa’s husband, Richard, doesn’t know how to tell her that he loves her, Harry doesn’t know how to tell Helen that he doesn’t love her. In fact, he knows, even very well. He tells her straight that he doesn’t love her anymore or he never really did. He and Helen quarreled quite often, they didn’t have a healthy relationship. Neither did Clarissa and Richard, despite the fact that there was love(which was not the case of Harry and Helen, at least not Harry’s). I tend to think that because even though she’s been his wife for quite a long time, he didn’t know her very well, he didn’t know what she was doing in the meantime, when they were not together. He used to say that “it was a miracle that he should have married Clarissa; a miracle—his life had been a miracle”. I see Richard a little bit naïve and sheepish (because he can’t even find his words to express his love) although he is a strong man, who is working for the Government and appreciates the values in life. The resemblance between Clarissa and Helen is that, I think, they are both strong women and the fact that they had multiple relationships before Richard and Harry. TitleEvery story has a title. Every title has a meaning. In the first story’s case, the title’s meaning is a more powerful one, but in the second one, it is clear. “Mrs. Dalloway”, the name of the main character, but the fact that she’s entitled “Mrs.” shows that she has a title, the title gained from her marriage with Richard. But the other title needs more explanation. The Mount Kilimanjaro from is from Africa, where Harry and Helen are in a Safari. It is a massive mountain which is covered by snow on the top. We know the death is present in the story, but here is represented by the snow;  snow, which is white,  can mean purity, freedom, lightness, but here, it means death. Of course we can think that it means freedom and lightness too, because when he dies, he is finally free and he “goes into the light”. Also, the mountain is very hard to climb. Hemingway chose the mountain because he wanted to symbolize the hard things in life, and in life you struggle, you stumble. Symbolistic Reading these two stories I noticed some things that have a symbolic translation. ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ begins with Clarissa being in a flower shop, and they are present throughout the story. Flowers symbolize feminity, love (which is the main theme of the story), Clarissa’s daughter, Elizabeth is compared to a flower, also Clarissa receives roses from Richard, roses which, again,  symbolizes love. Water. It is odd to think that in the novel Virginia Woolf added the water symbol, as she is known to be drowned herself to death. What is more strange is that Septimus stood once near a river and thought of suicide. That gives me goosebumps forreal. There is also Clarissa’s dress which is mermaid-shaped, and Peter who thinks of “sirens lolloping away on the green waves”. Shakespeare. Septimus had a passion for Shakespeare’s poems. Despite the fact that the novel suggests that Clarissa didn’t read much, I thought she appreciated literature, not so much, but she did. Because she read Shakespeare in a window shop and she identifies with some lines from Othello: “‘If it were now to die ’twere now to be most happy.’ That was her feeling – Othello’s feeling”. Big Ben. The greatest monument in London is also a symbol in the novel, a symbol for time. The past haunts the characters, they are bound to the time, to the past, like Septimus can’t forget the times of the War, and Clarissa fears the time of the death. In “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, symbols are also numerous. The main thema is death. The Mount Kilimanjaro. It is also called “the House of God”, which can symbolize redemption, purity, death. It is enormously high, which means it is hard to climb, and that was what Harry was looking for, because he aspired for more, he wanted to achieve something. He wanted to climb the mountain. On the top of the mountain there’s snow. Snow is white and here, white means death. The leopard. The leopard is a very agile and energic prey animal. The fact that it is on peaks means that it managed to get there. It symbolizes Harry, who wanted to achieve something in his life and to “get on the top”. The Hyena. It is also a prey animal which surrounds its prey to eat it. That is why it surrounds Harry, as if it knew that he was going to die and it wanted to eat him. The plane. Harry thinks he is on the plane flying over Kilimanjaro, that’s where he wanted to die.The end Both stories have the same ending: death. The fact that Septimus commited suicide is not seen so dramatic by Clarissa. When someone announces his death in the middle of the party, she doesn’t show pain or suffer, in fact, she is happy that her life is going to change, she will now see the beauty of her life. In “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”, the final is ambiguous, double. Hemingway didn’t tell us exactly whether Harry’s death really occurred in the plane or not. It is true that they were in Africa on a Safari, but I believe that he died on the plains, because this would be more plausible, given the fact that in the whole story he had multiple flashbacks and his memory was certainly affected. Conclusions “Mrs. Dalloway” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” are two stories full of emotional charge, life stories and reality. After I read them, I felt richer not only because I added two more books on my list but because I gained some advice by emphasizing with the characters whom I have seen as being real. My conclusions about these two stories are that we should be grateful for what we have, we should take care of those we love, not to cause people misery, not to be selfish, and to cherish life. We should not follow the example that Harry gives us, although he can put the blame on the illness that affected him, but even so, I think he was selfish when he told Helen what he really felt. We should think before doing anything, especially if it implies another person. Both books touched me, but the one that touched me most was “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”.