Mrs. Dalloway Part 16 Summary and Analysis
by Virginia Woolf

Start Your Free Trial

Download Mrs. Dalloway Study Guide

Subscribe Now

Part 16 Summary and Analysis

As Peter Walsh walks the streets, he compares England and India. He sees an ambulance, which is going to the Smith’s home. He is wondering about himself, about Clarissa, and marriage. She has had a great presence and influence in his life. He enters his hotel, collects his mail, and goes to his room. One of the letters is from Clarissa, saying how nice it was to see him and how he should come to the party. Her efficiency annoys him, for she must have mailed it immediately.

The narrator describes Peter, who thinks about Daisy. Their separation may make her reconsider their relationship. He broods on love, women, Clarissa and Daisy, but most of all on himself. Then he goes down to dinner, and the narrator sets the scene. At dinner Peter wins the respect of those around him. The people at the next table initiate a conversation with him. To them, Peter looks like a successful, worldly man, who understands what goes on around him. Peter looks forward to the party now. He wonders about whom he will talk to, what subjects he should cultivate.

The narrator depicts the evening. Because of the balmy weather, people are dining outdoors, or strolling through the streets. Peter remarks on the changes in London. He walks to Clarissa’s party in Westminster. He watches the activity, notes the heat and the humanity, and feels that the world is rich and lovely. He buys a paper, and sees what Septimus saw: that Surrey is “all out”; their cricket team lost. He feels that cricket helps make life bearable. As he approaches Clarissa’s, he mentally prepares himself for the party.

The section continues the examination of Peter Walsh. We see that others admire him, when we ourselves might not do so. That they think him impressive reveals the gap between how we know ourselves and how others see us. Peter knows himself to be at the mercy of his own thoughts (much as Clarissa does).

When Peter wonders about his future with Daisy, his concerns focus on what others will think of her. This...

(The entire section is 536 words.)