The New Dress Essay

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In the following essay, Lyle examines the changing social and cultural conditions in England following World War I and their influence on such Woolf short stories as "The New Dress."

Virginia Woolf had seen the devastating effects of social unrest and war, but she also understood that small events in a single life had enormous consequences. A gesture or nod might radically change a person's thoughts or course of action. In an essay published in Modern Fiction, therefore, she encouraged writers to "record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall . . . let us trace the pattern, however disconnected and incoherent in appearance, which each sight or incident scores upon the consciousness. Let us not take it for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small."

We see this attention to...

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This section contains 1,440 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The New Dress Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The New Dress from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.