Study Guide

Sally Seton (Lady Rosseter) in Mrs Dalloway

By Virginia Woolf

Sally Seton (Lady Rosseter)

Sally is Clarissa’s friend from the days of Bourton. Theirs was a very deep friendship that happened to have a little sexual tension going for it. Clarissa’s most exquisite memory is of being kissed in the garden by Sally – ooh la la! Sally was everything Clarissa wasn’t; she was poor, Bohemian, open-minded, rebellious, and free-spirited. As teenagers, Sally and Clarissa had grand plans to change the world. They wanted to abolish private property, make revolutionary reforms, read William Morris, and live freely. They thought marriage was a catastrophe. Clarissa fell in love with Sally for having these qualities, but also feared that things would end badly for Sally – that her life would end with tragedy and martyrdom.

These fears were unfounded though, as Sally later becomes Lady Rosseter and has five sons. Her youthful rebellious streak is now very much a part of the past. But even as Lady Rosseter, Sally doesn’t hide her feelings. She still deeply loathes Hugh Whitbread for his pretentious middle-class ways. Though by the time of the party Sally has become a member of the society she once wildly criticized, she still seems to have her individuality. Is Sally a sign that social class doesn't have to totally define you as a person? This would be tough for Clarissa to swallow, but maybe that's the point. What do you think?