Woolf – A Room of One’s Own

” ‘Chloe liked Olivia…’ Do not start. Do not blush. Let us admit in the privacy of our own society that these things sometimes happen. Sometimes women do like women.” (82)

In my opinion, this is an excerpt from one of the most powerful passages in the book. Woolf is unapologetically acknowledging that women do now have to be pinned against each other. They are allowed to like each other, even be attracted to each other. The fact that so much weight is placed on such a simple three word phrase is extraordinary. Readers really get the sense of Woolf wanting to believe in women as a positive community.

As I Lay Dying – Cora

“Her hand rises and touches her beads lightly, then her hair. When she finds me watching, her eyes go blank.” (9)

William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying (New York: Vintage International, 1985),92

The end of Cora’s first section is interesting because it leaves readers with a lot of curiosity about the dynamic between these characters. Why does Eula react the way she does to Darl? “her eyes go blank” is almost an eerie description.




Mrs. Dalloway – Mind Reading

“Clarissa had a theory in those days…It ended in a transcendental theory which, with her horror of death, allowed her to believe, or say that she believed (for all her skepticism), that since our apparitions, the part of us which appears, are so momentary compared with the other, the unseen part of us, which spreads wide, the unseen might survive, be recovered somehow attached to this person or that…perhaps – perhaps.” (148-149)

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

In this passage, Peter Walsh reminisces on Clarissa in her younger years. It is just after Septimus has jumped from the window and Peter sees the ambulance that drives by. It sets him off on a mental tangent about the progress of civilization, life and death, and then Clarissa. It seems that everything ultimately goes back to Clarissa with him. This moment is especially interesting because we see a glimpse of Clarissa in her past, from Peter’s perspective. She is talking about life after death, something very spiritual as well as intellectual. This is a side of her we don’t see in her present self. It implies a nostalgia Peter holds for the way she used to be; young, radical, and vivacious. A side of her that has been somewhat lost over the years with time and age. A depth to her that has shallowed. He remembers the Clarissa he fell in love with and acknowledges the life changing impact she has had on him.

Mrs. Dalloway

“…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.”

Clarissa values the fact that her and her family’s reputation is defined by wealth and luxury. This says a lot about English class systems of the era and how people equated their happiness and success to materialism. This is where she finds her self-worth. Is it perhaps foreshadowing a change of heart or lesson to be learned?

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

Heart of Darkness

“…perhaps all the wisdom, and all truth, and all sincerity, are just compressed into that inappreciable moment of time in which we step over the threshold.”

This moment stood out to me because it seems like Marlow is acknowledging a fundamental truth about about his own identity, and life in general. It represents an epiphany of sorts.

Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”, in Heart of Darkness and Other Tales (2002).

“Beast In the Jungle” – Henry James

“He circled about it at a distance that alternately narrowed and widened and that still wasn’t much affected by the consciousness in him that there was nothing she could “know,” after all, any better than he did. She had no source of knowledge he hadn’t equally—except of course that she might have finer nerves. That was what women had where they were interested; they made out things, where people were concerned, that the people often couldn’t have made out for themselves.”

I found that this excerpt says a lot about James’ opinion of gender differences and discrepancies. It is interesting to me that while he states that he does not believe women to “know” any more than a man does, he also states that they are often very intuitive and can know things about people that they often don’t know themselves.

Excerpt From: James, Henry. “The Beast in the Jungle.” Feedbooks, 1903. iBooks.
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