The Voices towards Identity: Heteroglossia and Polyphony in Mrs. Dalloway and Things We Left Unsaid

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature, Islamic Azad University, Sanandaj Branch, Sanandaj, Kurdistan

2 M.A. in English Language and Literature, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Karaj, Iran



The present study attempts to apply Bakhtin’s theories of voice to Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Zoya Pirzad’s I Turn off the Lights which is translated into English under a new title: Things We Left Unsaid. In the light of Bakhtinian reading, this paper carries out a comparative study of these two novels in order to specify the differences between the voices existing in the novels written by two women writers from two different cultures. For that purpose Bakhtin’s conceptualizations and theories on Heteroglossia and Polyphony are focused upon. Although these two novels have been analyzed by variety of frameworks related to different critics, the study on the characters identity in the light of Bakhtinian theoretical concepts seems new and the comparativeness side of the research adds to the importance of the present work. By comparing these two works, some cultural differences and similarities regarding both women writers are being revealed. It seems that the authorial intentions towards the role of the characters stem from the similar viewpoints although they have been created in different social and cultural discourses. In the novels written by two writers, the process of identity creation of each character which is the product of various existing voices that are linked to one another through the social nature of language, is examined and observed in the light of Bakhtinian theory.


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