There are so many soldiers who are inevitably affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after returning home from the war. One external factor that may trigger soldiers is fire, specifically “flames.” They are constantly exposed to bombs and fires which cause flames. Constantly surrounded by these external factors of war can cause one to have a significant phobia of fire.  Herbert Morrison poster emphasizes, “FALL IN THE FIRE-BOMB FIGHTERS”. The poster shows a man’s hand spraying water from a hose in an attempt to put out the flames. This image gives me a better understanding of why Mrs. Dalloway’s character Septimus was so terrified of falling into the “flames”. Flames and smoke are an expectation of any war. There are always bombs exploding, guns firing, and an abundance of fire in every plausible direction. These actions often result in the spread of“flames”. In many cases, these situations are etched into the minds of the soldiers, in such a way that any future circumstances related to fire, smoke or flames of any kind directly correlate back to their experiences from the war.

When Septimus returns home from visiting Sir William Bradshaw, he was numb. Even being in his home, where he’s supposed to experience the most comfort, he was haunted by his surroundings. Everyday actions like “laying on the sofa” made him feel as though he was being consumed by the flames of the fires he once witnessed in the war. This was metaphorical in the sense that his psychological damage led him to believe that any time he went to engage in an everyday activity, he couldn’t because he was too affected by his memories in the war.

Morrison, Herbert. FALL IN THE FIRE-BOMB FIGHTERS! Great Britain.

J Weiner Ltd, 71/5 New Oxford Street, London WC1 (printer)
Ministry of Home Security (publisher/sponsor)
Her Majesty’s Stationery Office