In their novels Evelina and Mrs. Dalloway, Frances Burney and Virginia Woolf pursue an understanding of the pieces of one’s “self.” Through the journeys of Evelina Anville and Clarissa Dalloway, Burney and Woolf explore how a woman’s identity is formed by both her social role and her individuality. Although the social settings examined in the two novels vary greatly due to differences in both time period and the main characters’ stages of life, Evelina’s and Clarissa’s stories are united by their shared goal of gaining understanding of and ownership over themselves. Ultimately, both Evelina and Mrs. Dalloway argue for the importance of finding balance between social and individual identity rather than losing one at the expense of the other.
King, Jenna, "The Pieces That Make the Self: Finding Balance Between Social and Individual Identity in Frances Burney’s Evelina and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway" (2023). English Senior Capstone. 25.