“Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf Commonplace-Book Entry: Wishing For How Things Were Before The War

“‘That is all,’ she repeated, pausing for a moment at the window of a glove shop where, before the War, you could buy almost perfect gloves. And her old Uncle William used to say a lady is known by her shoes and her gloves. He had turned on his bed one morning in the middle of the War. He had said, ‘I have had enough.’ Gloves and shoes; she had a passion for gloves; but her own daughter, her Elizabeth, cared not a straw for either of them.’’

In this passage, Mrs. Dalloway is reminiscing about times before the War, when her Uncle Williams taught her about gloves and shoes. Perhaps her Uncle taking her to good glove shops inspired her liking for gloves that she still has today, but now it seems like she is comparing that passion that her and her Uncle had shared together with the kind of bond that she has with her own daughter, Elizabeth, which seems like not a very strong one, since they do not seem to care about a lot of the same things. Maybe this passage is about how wars can negatively affect the world, since Mrs. Dalloway implies that this glove store she is looking at does not make their gloves as perfectly as they used to, or it could also be about how she wishes to be as close with her daughter as she used to be with Uncle William.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, Inc., 1925, page 11.