The man kept this distance in front of the woman purposely,
though perhaps unconsciously, for he wished to go on with his thoughts. (2)
The married man's
wife and children accompany him in the garden, yet even as he is in their
presence, he seems to seek isolation. Hey, we all need some alone time, right? He
may appear to be with them from the outside, but is he really "with"
them, or off somewhere on his own? How does his isolation affect his relationship
with his wife?
smiled to himself and again began to talk, as if the smile had been an answer.
He was talking about spirits—the spirits of the dead, who, according to him,
were even now telling him all sort of odd things about their experiences in
Well, the old man isn't
isolated here, is he? The spirits of the dead must be excellent company…maybe…but
that's just the problem—he's talking to <em>dead
spirits </em>and not his living, breathing companion, William. The
old man seems to be obsessed with human connection—he even talks about a
contraption that will allow him to connect with the spirits—but he misses a
chance at connection with the very person at his side.
He could be heard murmuring about forests of Uruguay
blanketed with the wax petals of tropical roses, nightingales, sea beaches,
mermaids, and women drowned at sea, as he suffered himself to be moved on my
William, upon whose face the look of stoical patience grew slowly deeper and
Is the old man
talking to William here, or simply rehearsing his memories aloud? Is there even
a difference? Either way, there's definitely not much conversation going on.
The old man might as well be talking (or thinking) to himself; it's all kind of
one big monologue. The further he recedes into memories of the past, the
further he seems to grow from William.
heavy woman came to a standstill opposite the oval-shaped flower bed, and
ceased even to pretend to listen to what the other woman was saying. She stood
there letting the words fall over her, swaying the top part of her body slowly
backwards and forwards, looking at the flowers. (18)
We all have that one
friend—you know, the kind who is fun to hang out with, but they talk <em>way</em> too much and at
one point, you just have to start tuning them out. It seems like this is the
case with the two working-class women. They appear to have a friendly relationship—they
exchange glances and discuss the old man's eccentricity—but they are also
enclosed in their own worlds. Here, again, we encounter two figures that are
isolated even in their companionship. The stout woman straight up stops
listening to what the other woman is saying to look at a flower. What do you
think Woolf is trying to communicate here about relationships? How are the
flowers relevant to their isolation?
pauses came between each of these remarks; they were uttered in toneless and
monotonous voices. (26)
The long pauses in
the young couple's dialogue suggests their awkwardness and uncertainty, but
also their distance from each other. They want to connect but can't quite do
it. Know the feeling? The irony here is that they both seem to really <em>want </em>to connect—they're
trying so hard, unlike other characters in the story, but still alienation and
isolation seems to be the rule.
when she wondered what sort of tea they gave you at Kew, he felt that something
loomed up behind her words, and stood vast and solid behind them. (26)
Dude, she's just
asking for tea. The young man is so distanced from Trissie and so uncertain
about what she thinks and feels that he gives even her most basic questions
enormous significance. Instead of just talking freely with her, he tries to
read into whatever might be "looming" behind her words. Sounds like a
lot of complex guesswork and interpretation. It's no wonder the characters have