Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 430
Doris Kilman sits in desolation. Upset, she rocks like a child, and as she leaves, her clumsiness makes her ridiculous. On the street, she sees Westminster Cathedral, which calms and inspires her. Mr. Fletcher, a friend, sees her in the crowd. He views her with pity and compassion, but he fails to stop and talk with her.
Elizabeth waits for a public bus. People have started comparing her to parts of nature, and this bothers her. She has no desire to be noticed, but her unusual, almost oriental looks and her
blossoming womanhood, raise the interests of others.
Through the whirl of colors and movement, Elizabeth’s thoughts come to the reader. She shows compassion for Kilman, yet she also judges her. Elizabeth mostly revels in the freedom she feels. Unwatched by any guardian, she can go wherever she wishes. The bus sways in its forward motion like a horse. Elizabeth thinks about her future on the way to the Strand, a famous street that links the western section of London to the main city.
Elizabeth knows that the Dalloways do not often go to the Strand, but her curiosity makes the visit an adventure. The world around her is full of activities and mysteries. Seeing all the people’s lives before her gives her confidence and stimulates her thoughts about her own future.
The narrator describes the world Elizabeth sees, in its rich flux of diverse emotions and impressions. The world on this
summer day, with the sun starting to sink, is magnificent. Yet Elizabeth realizes that she must be home soon, and she looks for a clock. She has delayed her departure, but now she boards an omnibus homeward. A slight veil of cloud encroaches on the sun.
This section provides a detailed look at Elizabeth. It also touches on the difference between outer and inner life when looking at people’s perceptions of others. The narrator includes details that make her sound like a doll or a statue. This may be how others see her, yet she is mature and inquisitive, and feels somewhat trapped by the adults who regulate her life.
Also, she is not yet accustomed to blindly accept the class differences that make up British society. Her curiosity distinguishes her from all the other characters. Perhaps this is a function of youth.
The section also focuses on aspects of London, as in the beginning of the novel. Typical of Woolf’s talent is her ability in the midst of complex patterns of subjective thought to evoke moving descriptions of place and mood.
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