Mrs. Dalloway Part 13 Summary and Analysis
by Virginia Woolf

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Part 13 Summary and Analysis

New Character:
Doris Kilman: a bitter and unhappy woman who spends time with (and might be in love with) Elizabeth Dalloway

Elizabeth comes in quietly, reluctant to disturb Clarissa, who is napping. The narrator comments upon Elizabeth’s unusual, indeed exotic looks. Miss Kilman waits outside the door, and Clarissa engages in a brief and frigidly polite conversation with her. They are going shopping.

The narrator provides Kilman’s story to explain her poverty and her bitterness. Always clumsy and unlucky, she lost her job during the war due to her feelings about Germany. Now an itinerant teacher and, it seems, young lady’s companion, she is reduced to charity, and is understandably resentful.

Kilman does not try to hide her attitudes, which are completely obvious to Clarissa. That Clarissa dislikes Kilman’s association with her daughter has been apparent throughout the day, and the reader learns just what Clarissa thinks of the woman. The half-hour tolls. Clarissa’s thoughts fly from one subject to another.

The novel switches to Kilman’s perspective. Her thoughts revolve around two subjects: the people she hates and Elizabeth, about whom she feels very strongly. Kilman recalls her own history, and her present situation. She broods on the duality of flesh and spirit, aware of her unloveliness. They enter the department store, to shop for new petticoats for Miss Kilman. The selection features fancy, frilly wares, and Kilman’s choices make the clerk wonder.

The novel moves to Elizabeth’s perspective. She finds Kilman pathetic, and yet somehow sympathetic. She thinks Kilman spiritual and serious-minded, and is distressed by the antagonism between Kilman and Clarissa. The two sit for tea and eclairs. Kilman’s emotions regarding Elizabeth threaten her composure. She senses that Elizabeth needs to leave, and...

(The entire section is 450 words.)