As I Lay Dying

“I said to Dewey Dell: “You want her to die so you can get to town: is that it?” She wouldn’t say what we both knew. “The reason you will not say it is, when you say it, even to yourself, you will know it is true: is that it? But you know it is true now. I can almost tell you the day when you knew it is true. Why wont you say it, even to yourself?” She will not say it.”

William Faulkner. As I Lay Dying. (New York: Vintage International, 1985). 39-40.

 

 

As I Lay Dying

“He touches the quilt as he saw Dewey Dell do, trying to smooth it up to the chin, but disarranging it instead. He tries to smooth it again, clumsily, his hand awkward as a claw, smoothing at the wrinkles which he made and which continue to emerge beneath his hand with perverse ubiquity, so that at last he desists, his hand falling to his side and stroking itself again, palm and back, on his thigh.”

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (New York: Vintage International, 1985), 52.

This passage illuminates how selfish Pa is, and the “wrinkles” he creates foreshadow the events further on in the novel that are simply means to the end Pa wanted, not in fulfillment of Addie’s wishes as he claims. It also emphasizes his lack of genuine love for his wife, with his hand as “awkward as a claw”, as he attempts to smooth the quilt under her chin. He ends up comforting himself, not for his loss but at the long awaited prospect of finally obtaining his teeth, with his hand “stroking itself” in a way that he could not stroke his wife.

Dalloway

“To love makes one solitary, she thought. She could tell nobody, not even Septimus now, and looking back, she saw him sitting in his shabby overcoat alone, on the seat, hunched up, staring. And it was all cowardly for a man to say he would kill himself, but Septimus had fought; he was brave; he was not Septimus now. She put on her lace collar. She put on her new hat and he never noticed; and he was happy without her. Nothing could make her happy without him! Nothing! He was selfish. So mean are. For he was not ill. Dr. Holmes said there was nothing the matter with him. She spread her hand before her. Look! Her wedding ring had slipped- she had grown so thin. It was she who suffered- but she had nobody to tell.”

 

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1925. Print. P23

 

Shifting perspectives is one of the core ideas in Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf uses free indirect discourse to allow the emotions and thoughts of her characters seep through the seemingly omniscient narration. She creates and interesting intersection between two conflicting states of mind. Two people in an intimate relationship are in entirely different places toward one another. Lucrezia seems unable to empathize with or even sympathize Septimus’ condition, only able to recount on the effect it has on herself.