Multiple-voice reencounter

” And how are you? ” said Peter Walsh, positively trembling; taking both her hands; kissing both her hands. She’s grown older, he thought, sitting down. I shan’t tell her anything about it, he thought, for she’s grown older. She’s looking at me, he thought, a sudden embarrassment coming over him, though he had kissed her hands. Putting his hand into his pocket, he took out a large pocket-knife and half opened the blade.
Exactly the same, thought Clarissa; the same queer look; the same check suit; a little out of the straight his face is, a little thinner, dryer, perhaps, but he looks awfully well, and just the same. (40)

Woolf, Virginia, Mrs Dalloway, Harcourt Editions, 1925

Notes : The scene features the reencounter of Clarissa Dalloway with Peter Walsh. The readers are thrown into the characters’ thoughts, with two alternate points of view. If our previous study of Hemingway’s  In Our Time revealed the emotions as shown and not told, here we can really tell how the process of writing differs, for the emotions are carefully depicted by Virginia Woolf. In The Common Reader, she explains : “In the vast catastrophe of the European war, our emotions had to be broken up for us, and put at an angle from us, before we could allow ourselves to feel them in poetry or fiction.” These shifts of points of view is significant of the author’s wish to break with the realistic Victorian novel.

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