Mind Read–Mrs. Dalloway

“…Saw him hesitate; consider; which interested her, as Mr. Dalloway always interested her, for what was he thinking, she wondered, about Peter Walsh?

That Peter Walsh had been in love with Clarissa; that he would go back directly after lunch and find Clarissa; that he would tell her in so many words, that he loved her. Yes, he would say that.”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt Inc, 1925. Print. 104

In this scene, Mr. Whitbread, Lady Bruton and Mr. Dalloway are dining together and Lady Bruton had just mentioned that Peter Walsh is back in town. Lady Bruton’s secretary, Milly Brush, is her thinking about what Mr. Dalloway must be analyzing in his mind about Peter Walsh. What could he be thinking about the man that used/still may love his wife? Actually, the passage intrigued my in many ways because of its reflection of both Milly Brush as a character and also how she perceives Mr. Dalloway. As the reader we see that Mrs. Dalloway is actually unhappy and insecure about her marriage to Richard, however, here Milly is portraying Mr. Dalloway’s full love and affection for his wife in a form of jealousy and assurance in claiming her as his own in love and in a strange way that his love has emerged only in the light of another man’s love for Clarissa. Milly Brush seems to assume a character of Mr. Dalloway that expresses love and care, however as the reader I see the opposite. Her assumption of his thoughts shows to me that her idea of Richard is that of jealousy and insecurity. If she did not think that Richard was insecure about his marriage, would she be so sure in her assumption of his thoughts being that of seeking reassurance of his love with his wife?

Heart of Darkness

“She came forward, all in black, with a pale head, floating towards me in the dusk. She was in mourning… She had a mature capacity for fidelity, for belief, for suffering. The room seemed to have grown darker, as if all the sad light of the cloudy evening had taken refudge on her forehead. This fair hair, this pale visage, this pure brow, seemed surrounded by an ashy halo from which the dark eyes looked out at me. Their glance was guileless, profound, confident, and trustful.” (pg. 152-153)

Conrad’s description of Kurtz’s fiancĂ©e is interesting. I think that including the sentence, “she was in mourning” was not necessary only because the rest of the passage clearly dictates that she is, indeed in mourning. Her “mature capacity for fidelity, belief, suffering” all seem to fall under the impression of a passive woman. The first and only real description that the reader gets of this woman is that she has the capacity to mourn. Not that I believe Conrad, or Marlow necessarily, thinks of women in that way, but the narrative description leaves that impression on me. The words describing her also remind me of a ghost. She “floated” towards Marlow, with her “fair hair”, “pale visage”, “ashy halo”. She seems to have died with him?