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December 06, 2012

Comments

Looking forward to this one - I like squirrels.

Focused and precise - like it!

Read your last statement.
Next sentence ...
SPECULATE - does Virginia Woolf share this view? You will have to look for evidence from throughout the text.

A well constructed paragraph, with confident use of evidence. This looks to be developing into a model analysis (definitely aiming for sophisticated). make sure to nail down the speculations in the last third.

Yes - well chosen - make sure that you look for symbolism in every word and image.

You dive into your analysis too abruptly - a clear and focused opening sentence please.

SUCH A GREAT EXTRACT.

I need to see more, much more. A great start - now add increasing textual detail ...

Great choice - great ideas on show, even in the short analysis here.

What is Woolf's message? You need to be clearer about what, exactly you mean here. Re-write ... then a whole load of explanation with evidence please.

Go nuts on the imagery - by definition, imagery hints at underlying ideas and meanings.

Ambitious and developed - some REALLY sophisticated understanding on show here.

However ... a muddy and confusing opening sentence - go back and nail down this point with greater clarity. Then you can develop this further into some VERY ambitious thematic analysis.

A lovely clear opening - with a focused point. You can spend some time exploring how this hints at underlying themes of respectability, morality and society. 'Suppose they heard him' is a crucial line isn't it? Suppose what? What is the unspoken anxiety here?

Your final sentence is just the tip of the iceberg - develop the specifics of your speculations.

Now follow this up with the next step - a focused speculation question about what Woolf might feel about these ideas.

Let's be honest - it seems unlikely that Woolf feels an uncomplicated sense of 'pride in England' because they won the war. After all one of the central characters in the novel is a suicidal soldier with shell-shock.

I'd like to see you explain the ideas and meanings underneath 'personal possession' in greater depth - it is a rich image.

This is SUCH a rich set of extracts - I demand that you complete your analysis in full ASAP. Whose perspective is this (does it come from someone at the party?). It is excellent - there is something of Woolf's devastating critique of the 'white slugs' in this, although seemingly from a different perspective.

There are loads of very complex and provocative ideas in this passage (very well chosen by the way). You maybe try to do too much too soon. Look at the model and write me a really clear 'Good' statement of your man point to start you off - as the concepts are difficult and need greater focus.

The crowds of people DO have power here - I would recommend that you focus on how best to describe the power that Clarissa sees in them. Think about how to describe different types of power. Ask if you need help with the terms.

I like this a great deal - it is punchy, focused and speculative. Some good old-fashioned AO2 with the 'wind' which I think is spot on the money.

Challenge -

Look for other winds, waves, or forces in the text that could symbolise or signpost (good word) underlying themes.

Ask me about Modernism (as a movement focused on changing the way that art reflected life)

Some highly developed, speculative analysis here.
Your confidence with the text on an extract level is so high here that I would recommend looking for patterns or developments within the text as a whole. Is this contradiction repeated throughout the text?

How would you go about discovering this?
1) Read the introduction to the Oxford World Classics edition (in Blackwell's coffee shop) and grab some critical insights.

2) Look to the last pages of the text and think carefully about the meanings and ideas that are converging here.

Great choice of extract - packed full of clues and suggestions at underlying themes. Of course - Woolf may not share Clarissa's views. Also - I know that Woolf's syntax is compressed - I think that Peter is thinking about himself when he says 'he had been a socialist' ... not the Duke of Cambridge.

... check out Wikipedia ... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_George,_Duke_of_Cambridge

The Duke of Cambridge served as commander-in-chief for 39 years.[7] Although he was deeply concerned about the welfare of soldiers, he earned a reputation for being resistant to doctrinal change and for making promotions based upon an officer's social standing, rather than his merit. Under his command, the British Army became a moribund and stagnant institution, lagging far behind its continental counterparts. In the late 19th century, whereas 50 per cent of all military literature was written in Germany and 25 per cent in France, just one per cent came from Britain. It is said that he rebuked one of his more intelligent subordinates with the words: "Brains? I don't believe in brains! You haven't any, I know, Sir!" He was equally forthright on his reluctance to adopt change: "There is a time for everything, and the time for change is when you can no longer help it."[13]

A really focused opening to what looks like becoming a developed piece of analysis. Looking forward to the next installment.

"Still the future of civilisation lies, he thought, in the hands of young men like that; of young men such as he was, thirty years ago; with their love of abstract principles; getting books sent out to them all the way from London to a peak in the Himalayas; reading science; reading philosophy."

After Peter Walsh and Clarissa's meeting, we gain access to his views of the world, not merely Clarissa, for the first time when he considers "the future of civilisation". Woolf appears to be exploring and considering the early twentieth century anxiety about the direction in which society and civilisation would evolve. Peter's consideration is ironic in this sense because he is very much trapped in his past, "thirty years ago". It could be a justification for all his failures, first as an intellectual by being "sent down from Oxford" and as a Socialist. By going to India, he has escaped Clarissa and England and it is crucial that he views that these isolated philosophers, escaping society as he has England, are the future.


Here, Peter seems to contemplate his decline from having “been a socialist”, deeming himself “a failure”, perhaps for losing his socialist views and his “abstract principles”. Peter seems to view society as lead by the intellectuals rather than ‘the masses’, he reflects on his “failure” to be one of these leading intellectuals “reading science; reading philosophy”, this is also seen in Peter’s wistful tone, implying a sense of regret, at his “faliure”. Through this, Virginia Woolf is perhaps reflecting an anxiety in society about the “future of civilisation” and the emerging idea of social change (not finished!)

All was for the party”
Is this not a depressing thing to say?

“Faint sounds rose in spirals up the well of the stairs; the swish of a mop; tapping; knocking; a loudness when the front door opened; a voice repeating a message in the basement; the chink of silver on a tray; clean silver for the party. All was for the party.”

The important part of this quote is the implication of the word “party”- could this be enlarged to describe society and civilisation as a party, based very much in the carnal, rather than in the transcendent as Clive Owen suggests in “Civilisation?”

"Yes, Miss Kilman stood on the landing, and wore a mackintosh; but had her reasons. First, it was cheap; second, she was over forty; and did not, after all, dress to please. She was poor, moreover; degradingly poor. Otherwise she would not be taking jobs from people like the Dalloways; from rich people, who liked to be kind. Mr. Dalloway, to do him justice, had been kind. But Mrs. Dalloway had not. She had been merely condescending. She came from the most worthless of all classes — the rich, with a smattering of culture. They had expensive things everywhere; pictures, carpets, lots of servants. She considered that she had a perfect right to anything that the Dalloways did for her."

Themes:
Art
Culture
Wealth
Class
Is it suggested that Virginia Woolf shares Miss Kilmans views? There is a clear sense of criticism towards the upper class, “most worthless of all classes – the rich”. With a sense that culture is dependent on wealth.

‘And it was much better to say nothing about it. It seemed so silly. It was the sort of thing that did sometimes happen, when one was alone — buildings without architects’ names, crowds of people coming back from the city having more power than single clergymen in Kensington, than any of the books Miss Kilman had lent her, to stimulate what lay slumbrous, clumsy, and shy on the mind’s sandy floor to break surface, as a child suddenly stretches its arms; it was just that, perhaps, a sigh, a stretch of the arms, an impulse, a revelation, which has its effects for ever, and then down again it went to the sandy floor. She must go home. She must dress for dinner. But what was the time? — where was a clock?’

It is possible to suggest that in this extract, Woolf is conveying her message of named individuals against the nameless masses. Woolf effectively removes the identity of the images she provides: ‘buildings without architects’ names’

Mrs Dalloway is very much a social comment; an analysis of society, which crosses Woolf’s thoughts with the masses of London. In terms of her views on civilization, we are presented with a range of differing ideologies. On the one hand, Woolf seems to depict a sense of security in numbers, as she describes how Peter feels comforted and cherishing of society, saying “there were moments when civilization...seemed dear to him as a personal possession.” She goes on to describe how girls are provided with “security” through the masses. This links with her description of the ambulance service, later in the novel, which she labels “one of the triumphs of civilization.” So while it might seem at first that Woolf presents a sympathetic view towards the masses, this becomes somewhat more broken when analyzing her views of classes.

'People must notice; people must see. People, she thought, looking at the crowd staring tat the motor car; the English people, with their children and their horses and their clothes, which she admired in a way; but they were "people" now, becuase Septimus had said 'I will kill myself'; an awful thing to say. Suppose they heard him. One conceals failure. She must take him away into some park.'
Lucrezia's shame and embarassment over Septimus' weakness presents her as callous and unsympathetic towards her husband. Her priorities come across and strange when an initial reaction to his claim that he will kill himself is the concern that people she does not even know will heard and jusge them. Perhaps Woolf is commenting on the desperate need some people in society feel to present themselves respectfully.

‘there were moments when civilisation, even of this sort, seemed dear to him, as a personal possession; moments of pride in England; in butlers; chow dogs; girls in their security’ (Peter Walsh)

When Peter Walsh considers the ‘moments of civilisation’ and how these moments created ‘moments of pride in England’, Woolf seems to be exploring the ‘moments of pride’ the people of England feel. This moment of pride that Woolf discusses could be linked to the idea of Post World War One, and the pride that not only Peter Walsh feels, but the pride that the rest of the country feels after winning the war. In this passage, Peter essentially views the idea of civilisation as a ‘personal possession’, and Woolf uses Peter’s background of being ‘from a respectable Anglo-Indian family’ to help enhance the acknowledgement of the development of civilisation within England, and how people from different cultures are, in a sense, part of a community within England. She also uses Peter’s background to help the reader see how the ‘pride in England’ Peter describes is also a ‘personal possession’, as he is part of that community, proving how ‘dear’ this pride is to him.

‘She came from the most worthless of all classes — the rich, with a smattering of culture. They had expensive things everywhere; pictures, carpets, lots of servants’

'Now she did not envy women like Clarissa Dalloway; she pitied them. She pitied and despised them from the bottom of her heart, as she stood on the soft carpet, looking at the old engraving of a little girl with a muff. With all this luxury going on, what hope was there for a better state of things? Instead of lying on a sofa — “My mother is resting,” Elizabeth had said — she should have been in a factory; behind a counter; Mrs. Dalloway and all the other fine ladies!’

• Annotations
• ‘despised’ implies more envy than pity – there must be something there to despise.
• Middle/upper-class women working against modernity/feminism
• No need to rest – not doing anything
• Lower classes further ahead – more modern , changing
• More purpose in a working life? More worth?
• Even fellow females working with tradition rather than change

‘...crowds of people coming back from the city having more power than single clergymen in Kensington, than any of the books Miss Kilman had lent her...’

At first thought it seems Elizabeth is in awe of the crowds’ power suggesting that the masses occupy a higher command than that of the Church - a historical superpower. However it can be argued that perhaps Virginia is commenting on the lack of power both the ‘crowd’ and the ‘single clergymen’ – that neither factors present much power at all. Both being presentations of a culturered creation it also implies that Elizabeth, and possibly Woolf, see the masses as powerless and uncultured. Supported by the denouncing of the literary context, ‘the books Miss Kilman had lent her’, almost renders the masses’ powerless culture at an all time low.

florist said...
“alighted. Admirable butlers, tawny chow dogs, halls laid in black and white lozenges with white blinds blowing, Peter saw through the opened door and approved of. A splendid achievement in its own way, after all, London; the season; civilisation. Coming as he did from a respectable Anglo-Indian family which for at least three generations had administered the affairs of a continent (it's strange, he thought, what a sentiment I have about that, disliking India, and empire, and army as he did), there were moments when civilisation, even of this sort, seemed dear to him as a personal possession;


Is it suggested that Woolf approves of the upper echelons of society? Undoubtedly the approval of Peter is underpinned by the jovial tone of the narrator. Furthermore, Woolf’s use of punctuation ‘London; the season; civilisation’ emphasises the power and splendour of 1920s London at a time of cultural revolution and ‘high society’. The scene is atypical of the quintessentially British upper class at the time, and it is suggested that Woolf approves of this, describing ‘admirable butlers’ and a ‘splendid achievement’. However, it could be argued that the wind (of change) ‘white blinds blowing’ represent a time of social transition. Moreover, Woolf reveals Peter’s heritage, perhaps a comment on how people had lost faith in the ‘all-powerful’ British Empire after several major defeats in World War One. Peter seems to drift off into distant memories ‘when civilisation, even of this sort, seemed to dear to him...’ and this can be seen as Woolf’s comment on society, it is as if she recognises that the people had lost faith in the ‘all-powerful’ British Empire after several heavy defeats in WWI. Furthermore, it could be suggested that she looks back on this time with fondness but recognises that the ‘old’ English citizens; Clarissa, Peter, Septimus, see the failure of the Empire as strongly as they see their own personal failures. The old Empire faces an imminent demise, and the loss of the traditional and familiar social order leaves the old establishment and its oppressive values at loose ends.

Striding, staring, he glared at the statue of the Duke of Cambridge. He had been sent down from Oxford — true. He had been a Socialist, in some sense a failure — true. Still the future of civilisation lies, he thought, in the hands of young men like that; of young men such as he was, thirty years ago; with their love of abstract principles; getting books sent out to them all the way from London to a peak in the Himalayas; reading science; reading philosophy. The future lies in the hands of young men like that, he thought.

Here, Peter reflects on the apparent failure of his life up to this point. The repeated “true”, isolated in the extract by their being hyphenated, reflect Peter’s own isolation from the society he exists in; he tries to come to terms with how his becoming “a Socialist” left him ostracised from the rest of his world. Furthermore, he almost has to convince himself that his shortcomings are “true”, which suggests that these are issues which he has not yet come to terms with. Arguably, too, the passage reflects the notion that the intellectually gifted classes are those who dictate the world, which was argued in Clive Bell’s Civilisation; “reading science; reading philosophy” are both typically high-brow reading material. Peter, in recognising the great promise of these “young men”, and conceding that “he was, thirty years ago” among their number, reflects the sense of “failure” in his life in that he has failed to achieve this great promise and can only be “sent down from Oxford” in a rather undignified way, while they stand – almost God-like – on “a peak in the Himalayas”. In sympathising with the working classes and being “a Socialist”, Peter seems to have squandered these great opportunities and once more echoes the idea that Peter and indeed Woolf’s is a society dominated by the more elitist, intellectually gifted individuals. By contrast, this key theme runs through much of Woolf’s other writings; she referred in her diary to the “common” and “fat white slugs” of the classes who, in her mind, are beneath her. Interestingly, there seems to be a certain contradiction here; Woolf seems to identify with Peter and his causes – Mrs Dalloway calls him “her dear Peter” – and yet condemns the very cause and individuals for whom he seems to stand.

‘He was not old, or set, or dried in the least. As for caring what they said of him — the Dalloways, the Whitbreads, and their set, he cared not a straw — not a straw (though it was true he would have, some time or other, to see whether Richard couldn’t help him to some job). Striding, staring, he glared at the statue of the Duke of Cambridge. He had been sent down from Oxford — true. He had been a Socialist, in some sense a failure — true. Still the future of civilisation lies, he thought, in the hands of young men like that; of young men such as he was, thirty years ago; with their love of abstract principles; getting books sent out to them all the way from London to a peak in the Himalayas; reading science; reading philosophy. The future lies in the hands of young men like that, he thought.’

Virginia Woolf makes a crucial point of mentioning socialism, which would have been a great anxiety of the time. With the rise of the then'socialist labour party' and Bolshevik Russia. Therefore there was a growing fear of civilisation being on the brink. She also goes on to talk about 'The Duke of Cambridge' a prime example of an intellectual. She makes the narrator sound almost bitter.

“alighted. Admirable butlers, tawny chow dogs, halls laid in black and white lozenges with white blinds blowing, Peter saw through the opened door and approved of. A splendid achievement in its own way, after all, London; the season; civilisation. Coming as he did from a respectable Anglo-Indian family which for at least three generations had administered the affairs of a continent (it's strange, he thought, what a sentiment I have about that, disliking India, and empire, and army as he did), there were moments when civilisation, even of this sort, seemed dear to him as a personal possession; moments of pride in England; in butlers; chow dogs; girls in their security. Ridiculous enough, still there it is, he thought....”
When Peter admires anew the “civilisation” of London and how sometimes “the empire” is “dear to him as a personal possession” Woolf seems to be exploring the turbulent and fluctuating emotions of disillusion and pride that existed in the aftermath of World War I with regards to national identity, patriotism and society. Peter labels “London” as an “achievement” on par with “the season”, which seems a critique by Woolf; [unfinished]

‘Regent’s park had changed very little since he was a boy, except for the squirrels’
Microcosm
World and people – impact... what lasts? WW1

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