The New Dress Essay

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In the following excerpt, Meyerowitz provides a thematic interpretation of "The New Dress" that focuses on the self-consciousness of the central character, Mabel Waring.

Social and class discrimination . . . destroy emotional fulfilment in "The New Dress," as seen in the character of Mabel Waring. Mabel is of the lower class, part of a family of ten 'never having money enough, always skimping and paring.' At Mrs. Dalloway's party, she thinks of 'her own drawing-room so shabby' and of her inability to dress fashionably because it is too costly. Mabel's anxiety about her appearance, her manners, and her values is provoked by her encounter with the society world of the Dalloways; however, her insecurity is more pervasive: 'At once the misery which she always tried to hide, the profound dissatisfaction—the sense that she had had, ever since she was a child, of being inferior to other people...

(read more from the Critical Essay #3 section)

This section contains 616 words
(approx. 2 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.