Date of Award

Fall 12-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Richard Ruppel

Second Advisor

Justine Van Meter

Third Advisor

Brian Glaser


Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway may be dismissed as fiction, and fiction consequently is dismissed as fantasy. However, the novel enables readers to practice an intellectual exercise of meta-awareness that extends beyond the pages and onto real world phenomena. Under a cognitive neuroscience perspective, Mrs. Dalloway is a literary masterpiece due to its hyper- realistic execution of the intimacies of life. Through the narrative style of free-indirect discourse, Woolf illustrates what occurs in the minds of characters as they develop their own perceptions of reality and identity, exposes the fear and inadequacies of mankind’s distress in times of chaos and disorder through the characters, and attempts to tackle themes of spirituality and cosmic transcendence when encountering death. Although these themes originate from analyzing the behavior of characters in the novel, this thesis serves as a foundation of cognitive neuroscience not exclusively to provide another perspective of the novel, but in order to argue and take into account that literature such as Mrs. Dalloway is evident in enriching our understanding of life.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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