Mrs. Dalloway

“…soft with the glow of rose petals for some, she knew, and felt it, as she paused by the open window which let in blinds flapping, dogs barking, let in, she thought, feeling herself suddenly shrivelled, aged, breastless, the grinding, blowing, flowering of the day, out of doors, out of the windows, out of her body and brain which now failed, since Lady Bruton, whose lunch parties were said to be extraordinarily amusing, had not asked her.”

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2005), 30.

Woolf pushes free-indirect discourse into stream of consciousness. In this passage, like many moments in the text so far, she aligns a character’s train of thought with literal movement. Here, Mrs. Dalloway passes by an open window that seems to bring out her inner thoughts.  The external “blinds flapping, dogs barking” seem to disturb her internally, so that she feels “shrivelled, aged, breastless.” Her thoughts flow out of her “failed” body and brain, and she’s back to thinking about not being invited to lunch.