Clarissa Dalloway, the main character in Virginia Wolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" is a complex figure that lives for her parties. Her relations with other women reveal as much about her personality as do her own musings. Wolf skillfully portrays the ways females interact: sometimes drawing upon one another for things which they cannot get from men; other times, turning on each out of jealousy and insecurity. The novel although is in third person, focuses on Clarissa but moves from character to character, and the other characters provide insight into the persona of Clarissa. Wolf's purpose in creating a range of females characters with various ages and social status in the novel is to simply let the readers form their own views on Mrs. Dalloway. Wolf's does not create such a range of males characters, however, she creates enough males characters to show different views of Clarissa because after all, women are usually jealous of each other and their views are most of the time different from men's point of views.
Clarissa's relationship with the other characters males and females say a lot about her. For instance, Clarissa is Peter's first and only love. He blames her for all of his relationship problems after she refused to marry him. He is more reminiscent; he remembers the old Clarissa, in fact even the florist seems to notice a change in Clarissa, now known as Mrs. Dalloway.
Clarissa's only gift to the world is her parties and she is quite known for that; Peter, however, knows that she has so much more to give and that there is so much more to perfect hostess. At the end, though Clarissa is as vain as she is, Peter sees her just as she is: "It is Clarissa, For there she was". (Wolf, p. 194) Peter's views of Clarissa although might be tainted by love, shows that Clarissa is not as vain as she appears to do. Many well to do married women don't work and they throw parties to pass the time, to have fun, and to gossip about other women. Anyway, his view on her is one of the best insights on Clarissa's real persona. The other view on her Clarissa is portrays through her relationship with Sally Seton.
In fact, no other females characters have or had a better relationship with Clarissa than Sally, not even Elizabeth Dalloway, her daughter. As a young woman, Sally Seton was Clarissa's best friend, staying with Clarissa at Burton because she was poorer than Clarissa was. Her relationship with Clarissa was quite positive; Sally enjoyed causing a raucous by making outrageous claims and acting on a rebellious instinct that led her to smoke cigars, run naked down the halls, and do other crazy stunts that were condoned by society, because after all, girls are supposed to be quiet and be lady- like. Sally was Clarissa's stimulation; she enjoyed Sally's the individualistic woman and she was charmed by Sally. Moreover, the physical experience she enjoys with Sally is something she had never shared with a man, because Sally represents freedom from society's constraint to Clarissa. Sally would have been perfect for Clarissa because they are both freeing themselves from society and the division of class that they are place in by society; otherwise Sally would have an idealized romance for Clarissa.
Moreover, Sally represents Clarissa's true but unfulfilled love and the reason that it unfilled is perhaps because Sally wasn't a man and neither one of them were homosexuals. Again, being someone else's true love doesn't necessarily has to be about sexual involvement. Anyway, Wolf's describes the first kiss between the two ladies as such: "Sally stopped; picked a flower; kissed her on the lips. The whole world may have turned upside down! ...
The others disappeared; there she was alone with Sally. And she felt that she had been given a present, wrapped up and told to keep it, not to look at it- a diamond, something infinitely precious, wrapped up, which, as they walked (up and down), she uncovered, or the radiance burnt through, the revelation, the religious feeling!" (p. 35-36). The kiss that Wolf describes are what women in love feel when they shared they first kiss with the person that they love. The kiss between the two women was like an epiphany; until they were disturbed by Joseph and Peter. Moreover, Clarissa's relationship with Ms. Kilman and Elizabeth her daughter is parallel to each other; both Clarissa and Ms. Kilman are fighting for Elizabeth's love. However, Ms. Kilman's view of Clarissa is not flattering; Ms. Kilman is poor and she hates station in life, she hates Mrs. Dalloway and she refuses to open herself to anyone except Elizabeth; perhaps it's because Elizabeth is not like her mother.
Yet, their connection breaks down during the trip to the store and caf'e. Ms. Kilman is extremely self-involved and dependent as shown by her attempts to keep Elizabeth with her: " 'I never go to parties,' said Miss Kilman, just to keep Elizabeth from going". (p. 132) Ms. Kilman doesn't want Elizabeth to leave her, but she recognizes that she isn't her mother and she has to let her go, even if it's going to kill her. In conclusion, Wolf's purpose in creating a range of females characters with different ages and background is to show whom Clarissa Dalloway really is. She also creates a range of males characters to use in the same way as the females characters; and through Clarissa each character comes together.