Mrs. Dalloway Virginia Woolf Commonplace Past – Bryant Magdaleno

“And she wasted her pity. For he was quite happy, he assured her — perfectly happy, though he had never done a thing that they talked of; his whole life had been a failure. It made her angry still.” (Woolf 7)

Woolf, Virginia, and Bonnie Kime Scott. Mrs. Dalloway. A Harvest Book, Harcourt, Inc., 2005.

Within this text we can gain glimpse to the mindset of Mrs. Dalloway, where she contemplates her past with Peter Walsh. She speaks of how life had passed them by with her never marrying a Prime Minister and him never marrying her, life as she put it was not done the way they spoke of. He was a failure to her for never really making it, she reflects on this idea of the past and ones place to the future, how they promise and hope for the best but she is angry at the thought of not completing what they set out, it brings to mind if she is angry of her past promise or her future never getting it done.

“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.

Commonplace-Book Entry: “Mrs. Dalloway” by Virginia Woolf, The Effects of Decisions in the Past

“Now of course, thought Clarissa, he’s enchanting! perfectly enchanting! Now I remember how impossible it was ever to make up my mind–and why did I make up my mind–not to marry him? she wondered, that awful summer?”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, Inc, 1925, page 40.

Looking at Peter Walsh now, Clarissa starts to think of decisions that she has made in the past and tries to remember how she came upon those decisions. She does this because as she is reflecting on her life now, she realizes that she has become unhappy with it and by looking on these decisions in the past and thinking of different paths that she could have chosen, such as wondering why she hadn’t chosen to marry Peter Walsh instead of Richard Dalloway, she thinks that by taking those different paths, her life could have been different than how it is now and perhaps she would have been more happy during this point in her life.

Mrs. Dalloway Blog Post

“‘Lord, Lord!’ he said to himself out loud, stretching and opening his
eyes. ‘The death of the soul.’ The words attached themselves to some scene,

to some room, to some past he had been dreaming of. It became clearer; the
scene, the room, the past he had been dreaming of.”

Here we see Peter still deals with his past trauma and “death of the soul” as he calls it. Like his counterpart, Clarissa, they both have a habit of diving into the past about their feelings.

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, Inc, 2005, page 61-62

Mrs. Dalloway #1

“But often now this body she wore (she stopped to look at a Dutch picture), this body, with all its capacities, seemed nothing — nothing at all. She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible; unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway; not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway” (Woolf 35).

Mrs. Dalloway as a character reminds me a bit of Miss Brill, from the short story “Miss Brill” by Katherine Mansfield (though without the self-delusion). She seems to lose herself to her thoughts, both those of the past and the present, and suggests that she finds diversity and vitality in her life by walking about and observing people.


Woolf, Virginia. Everyman’s Library. Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

eISBN: 978-0-307-55807-7

Mrs. Dalloway: Past in Present (In People & Places, Too)

“There was Regent’s Park. Yes. As a child he had walked in Regent’s Park– odd, he thought, how the thought of childhood keeps coming back to me– the result of seeing Clarissa, perhaps; for women live much more in the past than we do, he thought. They attach themselves to places; and their fathers– a woman’s always proud of her father. Bourton was a nice place, a very nice place, but I could never get on with the old man, he thought. There was quite a scene one night– an argument about something or other, what, he could not remember. Politics presumably.”

Woolf, Virginia. Mrs. Dalloway. Harcourt, Inc, 2005, page 54.