Part 5 Summary

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Last Updated April 5, 2023.

As Peter walks away from the Dalloway home, his thoughts are in disarray. Flickering from his most recent conversation with Clarissa to conversations they had in the past to memories of Daisy, Peter finds himself consumed by emotions that he cannot parse. 

Peter is upset with himself and Clarissa and contemplates what the members of the Dalloways' social circle—most of whom he used to know—think of him. Despite insisting that he is not bothered by their opinions, he still assesses his life through their eyes and perceives himself as a disappointment. However, he consoles himself with the fact that he is in love and considers himself lucky in that aspect.

Big Ben chimes, and the narrative soars outward, escaping the bounds of Peter’s interiority to look upon London. Gazing out at the city, time seems fluid and malleable, and the early summer morning seems to grow even more beautiful. As Big Ben chimes its final note, Peter thinks that the chiming clock very nearly resembles the formulaic, mechanized sound of a hostess welcoming her many guests. 

Peter observes a group of boys wearing uniforms and marching in formation. Although he admires their display, he has mixed emotions watching them. Afterward, he spots a young woman and trails her for a bit, trying to imagine what she might be like as a person and contemplating approaching her. However, when she unlocks a door and vanishes inside, Peter decides to abandon what he refers to as “his amusement.”

As Peter strolls, aimless in his emotional state, he winds up at Regent’s Park, where he chooses to relax and have a smoke. Unexpectedly, thoughts of Elizabeth come to mind, and he decides to approach her at the party later that night. After discarding his cigar, he suddenly feels the urge to sleep. While he is resting, an elderly nurse with a baby carriage observes him, curious about the sad-looking back asleep on a bench.

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Part 6 Summary