Different Views of Women Regarding the Arrival of Prime Minister

“Lucy came running full tilt downstairs, having just nipped in to the drawing-room to smooth a cover, to straighten a chair, to pause a moment and feel whoever came in must think how clean, how bright, how beautiful cared for, when they saw the beautiful silver, the brass fire-irons, the new chair-covers, and the curtains of yellow chintz: she appraised each heard a roar of voices; people already coming up from dinner; she must fly!

The Prime Minister was coming, Agnes said: so she had heard them say in the dining-room, she said, coming in with a tray of glasses.  Did it matter, did it matter in the least, one Prime Minister more or less? It made no difference at this hour of the night to Mrs. Walker amongst the plates, saucepans, cullenders, frying-pans, chicken in aspic, ice-cream freezers, pared crusts of bread, lemons, soup tureens, and pudding basins which, however hard they washed up in the scullery seems to be all on top of her, on the kitchen table, on chairs, while the fire blared and roared, the electric lights glared, and still supper had to be laid. All she felt was, one Prime Minister more or less made not a scrap of difference to Mrs. Walker”. (165)

Woolf, Virginia (1925). Mrs. Dalloway. NY: Harcourt, Inc.

Notes: both passages shows a contrast in both of the women’s views towards the arrival of the Prime Minister; 1st passage depicts how Lucy associates the cleanliness of her house to the impression of the Prime Minister; Lucy imagines the showers of praises she will receive for the beautiful objects in her house; cleanliness of Lucy’s house is depicted through the vivid imagery of all the furniture in her house and the use of descriptive adjectives to describe the furniture in Lucy’s house: “beautiful silver, new chair-covers, brass fire-irons, curtains of yellow chintz”; 2nd passage depicts how Mrs. Walker is more concerned about finishing her household chores on time rather than worrying about the Prime Minister’s arrival; the Prime Minister’s arrival makes no difference to her and this can see through the repetition of the phrase “one Prime Minister more or less” (165) ; list of household chores which Mrs. Walker has still left to do from the plates to having supper ready

2 thoughts on “Different Views of Women Regarding the Arrival of Prime Minister

  1. Additionally, Shalini, the reader can see that Lucy is much more excited than Mrs. Walker. She came “running full tilt downstairs,” while Agnes thinks it “made no difference at this hour of the night” whether the Prime Minister came or not. With Lucy’s passage we see that she stops quickly, looks over her drawing room and continues “fly[ing].” Mrs. Walker has much more to think about that the Prime Minister will not make a difference from all of the other activities she has to complete before her guests arrive.

  2. I think another interesting point is the difference in age between both women. Mrs. Walker is older and has more experience than Lucy. To her the arrival of the Prime Minister is simply another guest and does not really cause a distraction in her work in the kitchen. Lucy on the other hand is young and lively. The thought of the Prime Minister, someone of such a high status coming to her mistress’ home is very exciting.

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