Failures of Communication

“But Rezia could not understand him. Dr. Holmes was such a kind man. He was so interested in Septimus. He only wanted to help them, he said. He had four little children and he had asked her to tea, she told Septimus.

So he was deserted. The whole world was clamouring: Kill yourself, kill yourself, for our sakes.” (90)

Rezia and Septimus share the narration in these lines, but they fundamentally overlook each other’s perspectives. To Rezia, Dr. Holmes is a kind man who wants to help Septimus; Septimus evidently doesn’t feel the same way. The reporting verbs in the excerpt also keep Dr. Holmes and in the next line, Rezia, at a distance, separate from Septimus’ own thoughts and beliefs which are conveyed through free indirect discourse. In the passage, many people are talking to Septimus – Rezia, Dr. Holmes, the world – but none truly reach him.