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Quotes

Quote #1

[…] chill and sharp and yet (for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen […]. (1.3)

Even before the war, Clarissa experienced deep anxiety on a daily basis. Even the simplest actions stir her fear of death now. Because she doesn't connect to other people, she has to deal with this anxiety on her own, which only exacerbates the problem.

Quote #2

Septimus Warren Smith, aged about thirty, pale-faced, beak-nosed, wearing brown shoes and a shabby overcoat, with hazel eyes which had that look of apprehension in them which makes complete strangers apprehensive too. The world has raised its whip; where will it descend? (1.32)

Septimus' fear shows on his face, and creates fear in others. He thinks the world has it out for him.

Quote #3

Septimus, lately taken from life to death, the Lord who had come to renew society, who lay like a coverlet, a snow blanket smitten only by the sun, for ever unwasted, suffering for ever, the scapegoat, the eternal sufferer, but he did not want it, he moaned, putting from him with a wave of his hand that eternal suffering, that eternal loneliness. (1.78)

Septimus imagines himself as a lonely savior figure. He believes that he has a message to share – that his suffering can at least teach something to others. In the end, it seems he's right: his death is certainly a lesson to Clarissa.

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