Old Uncle William

“And her old Uncle William used to say a lady is known by her shoes and her gloves. He had turned on his bed one morning in the middle of the War. He had said, “I have had enough.” Gloves and shoes; she had a passion for gloves; but her own daughter, her Elizabeth, cared not a straw for either of them.”

– Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, 8 (from a Feedbooks scan)

This shows the way Clarissa thinks while with herself, thinking back to her old Uncle while looking at gloves in a store. There’s also a link to her daughter, who gets introduced through this memory, which shows how the people she thinks about may be important.

Commonplacing Woolf, 10/1/23

“He would be back from India one of these days, June or July, she forgot which, for his letters were awfully dull; it was his sayings one remembered; his eyes, his pocket-knife, his smile, his grumpiness and, when millions of things had utterly vanished-how strange it was!- a few sayings like this about cabbages.”

-Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Failed Recollection

“The cover of “The Middle Years” was duly meretricious, the smell of the fresh pages the very odour of sanctity; but for the moment he went no further- he had become conscious of a strange alienation. He had forgotten what his book was about.” (James 337)

Last sentence can allude to how we can forget pieces of our own life, especially if we are suffering in the present. First sentence relates to how we can look back on fond memories but forget the painful parts.


James, H. (1893). The Middle Years. 335-355.