“Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself”
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. San Diego: Harcourt, 1925.
This one sentence does not appear to be very important. However, it is important to note that Clarissa is going by herself instead of sending someone else, like a servant, to complete the task. I also noted that she is “Mrs. Dalloway” here. Her proper name.
“But, thank you, Lucy, oh, thank you,” said Mrs. Dalloway, and thank you, thank you, she went on saying (sitting down on the sofa with her dress over her knees, her scissors, her silks), thank you, thank you, she went on saying in gratitude to her servants generally for helping her to be like this, to be what she wanted, gentle, generous-hearted. Her servants liked her. And then this dress of hers – where was the tear? and now her needle to be threaded. This was a favourite dress, one of Sally Parker’s the last almost she ever made, alas, for Sally had now retired, living at Ealing, and if ever I have a moment, thought Clarissa (but never would she have a moment any more), I shall go and see her at Ealing.”
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print. p.38
In this particular example, one can see how Woolf uses syntax to reflect Clarissa’s character. Clarissa is shown here to be vivacious as she thanks the servants numerous times. Also, the way she moves from one idea to the next (the dress to Sally Parker), it shows the quickness to her thinking. The language of this paragraph (the sound of it) shows the liveliness in her thinking and the positive energy she is trying to maintain in her life.
“She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible; unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs Richard Dalloway”.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, 1925. Print.
Throughout Mrs. Dalloway, there is sense of society and class. Clarissa holds herself with high morals from the start of the book and you can feel the high classiness coming off her. In this quote you see Clarissa doubting herself, wishing to be young again. Her youth is behind her and she is no longer known as a beautiful maiden; she is known as Mrs. Richard Dalloway. She may be upper class but she can never regain her youth.
“Oh it was a letter from her! This blue envelope; that was her hand. And he would have to read it. Here was another of those meetings, bound to be painful! To read her letter needed the devil of an effort…But it upset him. It annoyed him. He wished she hadn’t written it. Coming on top of his thoughts, it was like a nudge in the ribs.” (151)
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, 1925.
This insight into Peter’s thoughts allows the reader to understand and connect to how he feels about Mrs. Dalloway; the reader sees that he even knows her handwriting. Peter is somewhat happy about receiving a letter, but quickly retracts those thoughts because he knows that nothing will come of it, and it adds to his pain.
“But this question of love (she thought, putting her coat away), this falling in love with women. Take Sally Seton; her relation in the old days with Sally Seton. Had not that, after all, been love?”
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt Inc., 1925
Here again, as we can see it several times in the novel, it’s interesting and still surprising to see how casually an important question -if she loved a woman- followed by memories, comes to Clarissa’s mind just as she comes home and gets off her coat.
“The sounds of Big Ben striking the half-hour stuc out between them with extraordinary vigour, as if a young man, strong, indifferent, inconsiderate, were swinging dumb-bells this way and that.” (Woolf 48).
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt Inc., 1925. Print.
The idea of time is so important in this passage because it humanizes “time” by describing Big Ben as a “young man” and throughout the story Big Ben disrupts people during their daily routine, reminds them of their time, and helps them become aware of their time while also pacing them. Big Ben is constantly mentioned throughout the story almost making it seem to the reader as if it was one of the main characters. It keeps reminding the characters in the story that time is important and can not be wasted.
“Through all ages — when the pavement was grass, when it was swamp, through the age of tusk and mammoth, through the age of silent sunrise, the battered woman — for she wore a skirt — with her right hand exposed, her left clutching at her side, stood singing of love — love which has lasted a million years, she sang, love which prevails, and millions of years ago, her lover, who had been dead these centuries, had walked, she crooned, with her in May; but in the course of ages, long as summer days, and flaming, she remembered, with nothing but red asters, he had gone; death’s enormous sickle had swept those tremendous hills, and when at last she laid her hoary and immensely aged head on the earth, now become a mere cinder of ice, she implored the Gods to lay by her side a bunch of purple-heather, there on her high burial place which the last rays of the last sun caressed; for then the pageant of the universe would be over.”
Peter Walsh seems to be projecting his own dissatisfaction with love onto a random battered woman in a park; in that case, this monologue might not be interior at all because it doesn’t completely belong to either character.