“She was at her worst- effusive, insincere. It was a great mistake to have come. He should have stayed at home and read his book, thought Peter Walsh; should have gone to a music hall; he should have stayed at home, for he knew no one. Oh dear, it was going to be a failure; a complete failure, Clarissa felt it in her bones as dear old Lord Lexham stood there apologising for his wife who had caught cold at the Buckingham Palace garden party. She could see Peter out of the tail of her eye, criticising her, there, in that corner.”
Woolf, Virginia, Mrs. Dalloway (pg. 163)
This passage shows how two people can interpret things from one another and communicate without speaking, and how those inferences may be incorrect. By putting Peter and Clarissa’s inner thoughts back to back it shows more clearly how much they are in their own heads, and how their insecurities and fears affect their connections with others. Also, their strong connection with each other is apparent in their inner thoughts- Peter notices how Clarissa seems insincere, and Clarissa notices how Peter seems to criticize her without even speaking to one another.
“And everywhere, though it was still so early, there was a beating, a stirring of galloping ponies, tapping of cricket bats; Lords, Ascot, Ranelagh and all the rest of it; wrapped in the soft mesh of the grey-blue morning air, which, as the day wore on, would unwind them, and set down on their lawns and pitches the bouncing ponies, whose forefeet just struck the ground and up they sprung, the whirling young men, and laughing girls in their transparent muslins who, even now, after dancing all night, were taking their absurd woolly dogs for a run; and even now, at this hour, discreet old dowagers were shooting out in their motor cars on errands of mystery; and the shopkeepers were fidgeting in their windows with their paste and diamonds, their lovely old sea-green brooches in eighteenth-century settings to tempt Americans (but one must economise, not buy things rashly for Elizabeth), and she, too, loving it as she did with an absurd and faithful passion, being part of it, since her people were courtiers once in the time of the Georges, she, too, was going that very night to kindle and illuminate; to give her party. But how strange, on entering the Park, the silence; the mist; the hum; the slow-swimming happy ducks; the pouched birds waddling; and who should be coming along with his back against the Government buildings, most appropriately, carrying a despatch box stamped with the Royal Arms, who but Hugh Whitbread; her old friend Hugh—the admirable Hugh!”
Woolf, Virginia, Mrs. Dalloway (pgs. 6-7)
I found this passage interesting because of how it was written. Woolf seems to be writing in these continuous, never-ending sentences because she wants us to really get inside of the narrators mind. The thoughts of this character seem to flow into one another at a rapid and continuous pace. It feels overwhelming to read, but it gives us a sense of the character’s headspace and personality.