“… there was design, art, everywhere; a change of some sort had undoubtedly taken place. What did the young people think about? Peter Walsh asked himself. Those five years — 1918 to 1923 — had been, he suspected, somehow very important. People looked different. Newspapers seemed different.” (71).
It’s important to pay attention to the time period mentioned here. In 1918, World War I ends, and Woolf is 36 years old, and questioning post-war youth. In 1922 she has an affair with another woman, Vita Sackville-West. It’s almost obvious that Peter Walsh’s fear of romantic commitment stems from Woolf’s personal life, and possibly an outlet for pent up frustration.
Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. San Diego: Harcourt, 1925.