perspectives

“Everything seemed to race past him; he just sat there, eating. And then half-way through dinner he made himself look at Clarissa for the first time. She was talking to a young man on her right. He had a sudden revelation. ‘She will marry that man,’ he said to himself. He didn’t even know his name.” (61)

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. San Diego: Harcourt, 1925.

The fact that these thoughts come from Peter Walsh and not an authoritative narrator make it questionable, especially in the paragraphs that follow. They all have a sense of distain for Dalloway, because Walsh himself is interested with Clarissa, and even a little bitter for being rejected. He paints the image of what he sees Dalloway and Clarissa to be like, but a narration in one of their perspectives would be more trustworthy a marker of their relationship.

2 thoughts on “perspectives

  1. I’m curious about this passage as well. Along with his habit of playing with his knife, I think this passage in particular highlights Walsh’s sense of insecurity. I wonder if Walsh thinks too much about what other people are thinking; are there any passages where he tries to “mind-read?” Why do you think Walsh has this thought about Clarissa, and how does he really feel about Clarissa and Dalloway’s “relationship”?

  2. One could even say that this passage is just as reliable as from a 3rd person narrator, since only Peter Walsh knows what Peter Walsh is feeling and thinking. From his perspective, his thoughts are entirely justified.

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