“Worshipping Proportion”, Connection in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway

“Worshipping proportion, Sir William not only prospered himself but made England prosper, secluded her lunatics, forbade childbirth, penalised  despair, made it impossible for the unfit to propagate their views until they, too, shared his sense of proportion” (Woolf 99).

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Benediction Classics, Oxford, 2017, pp. 99.

Sir William’s intense need for proportion and his abusive treatment methods serves as a comment for English society’s conformist nature and for society as a whole. In treating his patients, Sir William is oppressing them and worsening their conditions, as he alienates them from others, punishes their emotions and regards them as lesser beings. This is a comment for how English society forces conformity amongst its citizens, to display only the best of themselves and to deny any negative or unpleasant feelings they may have, especially those who had returned from WWI. But, it also shows how societies in general expect its peoples to maintain certain ideas and behaviors, and anything less will have them deemed at sick, undesirable, and unfit to participate with others.