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Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway


by Virginia Woolf

Mrs Dalloway Section 3 Summary

  • Peter leaves, thinking about Clarissa and her frivolous party.
  • Clarissa has changed, he thinks: now she’s sentimental, hard, insincere.
  • Once upon a time, she refused to marry him. He fights off the feeling that he’s old now; and as a bell tolls, he thinks that Clarissa will die soon. That's pretty depressing.
  • Peter considers what others might think of him – that he was expelled from Oxford, that he had been a Socialist.
  • Some soldiers march past and Peter feels a sense of pride. He admires what they represent: "duty, gratitude, fidelity, love of England" (3.5). Traffic stops out of respect for the soldiers who are honoring those lost in the war.
  • Peter arrives in Trafalgar Square, where there are a bunch of statues of famous men.
  • His life seems like a farce and so does the divorce, but he still feels young.
  • He begins to follow an attractive woman down the street, still playing with the pen-knife in his pocket. This lady’s not sophisticated like Clarissa.
  • Peter considers himself something of a wild man and a player, above the pretensions of British upper-class society.
  • The young woman goes into her house, and Peter continues walking, observing people in their homes enjoying life in London. Peter reflects on his deep affection for civilization; he feels pride in England.
  • He remembers being at Bourton with Clarissa and even being with her at Regent’s Park.

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