As a child he had walked in Regent’s Park-odd, he thought, how the thought of childhood keeps coming back to me-the result of seeing Clarissa, perhaps; for women live much more in the past then we do, he though.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.55
Peter’s remark on how women tend to reminisce on past events is indicative of Woolf’s use of analepsis when Woolf’s narrative is focalized around female characters in the novel.
“Such are the visions which ceaselessly float up, pace beside, put their faces in front of, the actual thing; often overpowering the solitary traveler and taking away from him the sense of the earth, the wish to return, and giving him for substitute a general peace, as if (so he thinks as he advances down the forest ride) all this fever of living were simplicity itself; and myriads of things merged in one thing; and this figure, made of sky and branches as it is, had risen from the troubled sea (he is elderly, past fifty now) as a shape might be sucked up out of the waves to shower down from her magnificent hands compassion, comprehension, absolution.” (56)
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Inc. 1925. Print. p.56
There is both a sense of loneliness in how we are shown Peter here, as well as a sense of peace. This acceptance and peace derived from loneliness is something that I think resonates with multiple characters throughout the novel.
“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.