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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sally Minogue Structured Some Emptiness for me: Critical #3

I read “Was It a Vision?  Structuring Emptiness in ‘To the Lighthouse’” by Sally Minogue.  I don’t believe the work is outdated, but I do think it is for a more educated person than me.  It was written in 1997.  It did help me better view how Woolf writes about death in her stories because I can see it in the examples she has given. 
The title of her essay “Structuring Emptiness in To the Lighthouse” directly describes the theme of her essay.  Initially, she does not restrict her commentary to the one novel, but also encompasses Jacob’s Room and Mrs. Dalloway.  The emptiness can come from not being present physically and mentally or by death.    She names the emptiness what Woolf calls it, the “impersonal thing” (287).  She employs the other two novels to emphasize how Woolf succeeded in that the emptiness or impersonal thing was much stronger in To the Lighthouse.  Minogue states that “Time Passes” makes the domestic scenes in “The Window” chapter trivial (287).
This is definitively a critical essay written for scholars for I believe one must be a scholar to understand it.  Her choice of words is turgid: bathos, concatenation, elide, carapace (couldn’t she have just said “shell”), lacuna, anthropomorphized, vatic, and zeugma (at least she defines this term).
She interjects and peppers her comments in relation to other authors as if she is name-dropping:  Keats, Hardy, Camus, and Van Gogh (his famous image?  Is she referring to the painting with the bandage on his head?).  I found it distracting to her thesis and not additive.
One of the most helpful and understandable lines was on page 290 about how Woolf “lovingly” creates Mrs. Ramsay and uses a technique that robs the reader of a sympathetic response; however, earlier in her essay she states how the reader has no sympathy for Clarissa.  I disagree because I loved Clarissa. 
I cannot say that I couldn’t pull fragments that helped illuminate Woolf’s writing for me; I just didn’t always agree with her comments.  What Minogue considers comic components usually represent tragedy or drama to me.  Is it Woolf’s own impersonal reaction to her mother’s death as represented in a “Sketch of the Past” that leads her to believe that all deaths are treated that way by Woolf?  I suppose it is, and I suppose that Woolf does seem to trivialize death.  Septimus’s own death is a short bit, and Clarissa’s reaction though defining is a rather short passage.
She uses the term zeugma to demonstrate that “Time Passes” diminishes the life portrayed in “The Window” (292).  She continues to state that “the bathos of Mrs. Ramsay’s death robs her earlier life of meaning” 293. 
I feel as if her essay went in several different directions, like a star or an asterisk; I don’t feel as if Minogue kept to the point she was trying to make which I think is that not only does death leave an emptiness, but Woolf’s depictions of death are usually empty of emotion which describes her response to her own mother’s death.  A specific line which she uses to demonstrate the emptiness is “[Mr. Ramsay stumbling along a passage stretched his arms out one dark morning, but, Mrs. Ramsay having died rather suddenly the night before, he stretched his arm out.  They remained empty.] (p. 175)” (p. 289).  From this passage she also continues on with how Woolf uses parenthesis, brackets, and grammar to emphasize or subjugate actions to other moments.
Minogue, Sally.  “Was It a Vision?  Structuring Emptiness in ‘To the Lighthouse.’”  Journal of Modern Literature.  21.2 (Winter, 1997-1998): 281-294.  Web.  29 September 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hey Moment -- Don't pass me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue *

After reading the four short stories assigned for homework (“In the Orchard,” “The Lady in the Looking-Glass, A Reflection,” “Moments of Being,” and “The New Dress”), I tried to discern a connection, a thread, a tie, anything that may have connected these stories.    “The New Dress” and “The Lady in the Looking-Glass” seem to have one’s appearance in common.   The woman with the new dress tried what many of us have tried to do, dress up to impress others only to realize during a moment of clarity that it was a worthless effort.  We are still who we are behind the clothes.  We see the woman who was reflected in the looking-glass as being an older woman who had many friends, written love letters, experienced passion, traveled the world.  In the reflection of the mirror, we watch her tend her garden, we presume her thoughts, we give her kind thoughts of a widow, and we give her profound knowledge.  She saves her letters, you know; she ties them up with red ribbons and stores them with fragrant twigs of lavender stuffed and locked away in one of the many little drawers.  But then, something happens.  She comes into the room, sees that the postman has come and delivered her bills, not letters from friends.  In the final moment of the story, we see her face in the mirror and realize that there’s nothing there.  Isabella was not only empty, she was perfectly empty.  Her thoughts weren’t profound because her mind was vacant.  In one story, we see a woman who tries to be something she isn’t; in the second story, we see a woman as being something when it turns out that she’s nothing.  Both of them are reflected in looking-glasses.

How ever we may feel sorry or pity for Mabel Waring in her pitiful, out-of-date, yellow dress; we at least know that she had had “divine moments” which links us to “Moments of Being.”  This story is a six-page moment, the moment that it takes a flower to fall and to find the pin that held it.  It’s a moment of memories and “little character sketches” (MoB 1).  It’s a moment that we see a rose turn into a carnation.  Why did the flower change?  Just before I finished this, I wondered just how long a moment is.   Is it a measure of time or the length of an occurrence, a happening?   The kiss lasted but a moment.  We’ll be there in a moment.  I’ll only be a moment.  Can one “BE” only a moment?  There’s a moment in history.  What about a moment in time?  Could I have a moment of your time?  Moments can be memorable just as days can be memorable, but could a whole year be so?  Fanny thinks of all these moments that Julia Craye has lived, and she wants her moment with her also.  In the end she does, for Julia blazed and kindled and kissed Fanny – on the lips.

And so, here we are now at the last story.  A story of a moment told three different ways.  Out of the four, this was my least favorite.  In the first telling, Miranda is asleep; in the second, she’s perhaps asleep or not; and in the third, was she asleep or not, we don’t know.  The story has the appearance of playing with reality.  Which story is real?  Each version of the story gets shorter than the one before it.  Perhaps the only truth in the story, being that it was repeated verbatim three times, is that she’ll be late for tea.

So if you take a moment, you can link the stories together­­: 1-2, 2-3, 3-4.  There is a thread that connects the pairings, but I don’t see a common thread through them all.  I must say, I empathized with Mabel trying to fit in with her new dress, but “Moments of Being” actually touched me.  We all have our special moments through life: “critical moments,” “moments or horror” (MoB 4), happy moments, and “moments of ecstasy” (MoB 5).  And moments when we need to shake the self-pity and get to back to work.   Yes, for a moment, the story made me wallow in self-pity.  Instead of a Mrs. Dalloway party, I had a pity-party.  So, with that I’ll close.

Addendum (or after lecture comments):
Okay, I realize now what my problem was with trying to discern what theme was that tied these three stories together; I was looking too closely.  I should have tried the broader view because in class we learned that the shared theme was identity. 

One more comment: 
I may be so far off base that I get kicked out of the game (figuratively speaking, of course), BUT after seeing (or being shown) the phallic symbolism in "In the Orchard," I began to wonder if maybe Miranda was raped?  If you pull out some of the phrases, it does make one wonder:  "Her purple dress stretched between the two apple-trees," "a rush up the trunk," "spread wide into branches," and "the blue-green was slit by a purple streak."  I'm just supposing.

Lennon, John and Paul McCartney.  "Don't Pass Me By."  The White Album.  Apple Records.  1968.  Memory.  21 September 2010.

Woolf, Virginia.  "The Lady in the Looking-Glass:  A Reflection."  eBooks@Adelaide.  The University of Adelaide, 26 July 2010.  Web.  21 September 2010.

Woolf, Virginia.  "In the Orchard."  Woolf Short Stories.  A Project Gutenberg of Australia ebook.  October 2002.  web.  21 September 21. 

Woolf, Virginia.  "Moments of Being."  eBooks@Adelaide.  The University of Adelaide, 26 July 2010.  Web.  21 September 2010.

Woolf, Virginia.  "The New Dress."  eBooks@Adelaide.  The University of Adelaide, 26 July 2010.  Web.  21 September 2010.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Repeat that please, I didn't hear you the first time...

The Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Fountain

Mrs. Dalloway stands at the pinnacle of Virginia Woolf’s writing style as declared by her manifesto as stated in “Modern Fiction.”  After reading Jacob’s Room and Mrs. Dalloway almost back to back, one can see that she perfected her art with Clarissa Dalloway’s story.  Having been my second time reading this novel, I feel I understood it more deeply this time (but not as deep as deep can be).  Although, I don’t think this is a book that one should read in a couple of sittings.  In the introduction by Bonnie Kime Scott, Scott reveals that Woolf could only write about 50 words per day of the Septimus Smith’s portion of the story because of the painful history of her own suicide attempts (MD xlviii).  If I had the time, I would like to read it as she wrote it to better absorb, investigate, and untangle the paths, threads, and tunnels that Woolf created. 

If I had the time, one of the tools Woolf used that I would like to investigate is the use of the repetitive phrases or words.  Kayla mentioned the practice in class last week, and Scott mentions it in the introduction.  Some of the phrases were used in just sections, one I can think of was used throughout the book, and some were repeated only once.  Richard Dalloway repeated this line (in various forms) over three times:  “He would tell Clarissa that he loved her, in so many words” (MD 102).  But he couldn’t bring himself to say the words; however, he brought her flowers and was sure that she knew.  In the end of the story, Richard is proud of his daughter Elizabeth; he hadn’t meant to tell her, but couldn’t help but doing so.  He cannot get the words out to tell his wife that he loves her, but the loving words come out easily for his daughter.  I wonder why.  Is he a bit intimidated by Clarissa?
The time theme weaves throughout the story; however, it pops up as a short repetition in Peter’s personal conversation after visiting Clarissa.  On page 48 in a parenthetical thought within his thoughts, he thinks, “(… the half-hour; still early; only half-past eleven still.)”  At this point he is ranting on about how Clarissa introduced Elizabeth, her daughter, as “my Elizabeth” (MD 48).  Just after he finishes following (stalking) a young, brown woman, he thinks, “…for it was early, still very early” (MD 53), (not the exact same words, but similar enough to catch my attention).   This instance of repetition was employed to demonstrate Peter’s idea that he hasn’t grown older; he still has plenty of time.

The one phrase that I saw used repeatedly was, “Fear no more.”  Clarissa first reads it in a book shop:  “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun / Nor the furious winter’s rages” (MD 9).  It appears to signify to not fear death; you’ll never have to worry about life’s hardships.  She repeats it partially when she discovers that she’s not invited to the luncheon at Lady Bruton’s:  “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun” (MD 29).  Clarissa shivers as she thinks this.  I’m not sure that this is still significant of death.  After investigating the next time she uses it on page 39, it appears that she’s using the phrase as a calming device.  She thinks, “Fear no more, says the heart, committing its burden to some sea, which sighs collectively for all sorrows, and renews, begins, collects, lets fall.”  It is as if she’s saying, “It’s okay; I don’t really need to worry about x,y, or z.  It's a burden I can be rid of and start anew.”  Septimus also uses the line just before his short bout of sanity before his death:  “Fear no more, says the heart in the body; fear no more” (MD 137).  Was this just a brief respite, or had he conquered his fear of seeing the dead Evans?  No, it was just a break.  Bringing its use full circle, Clarissa uses it last in her conversation to herself after learning of Septimus’s suicide.  With the last use, she has convinced herself not to fear death, but to live life. 
There were also words that were repeated, pink, for instance.  At the last of the book was perhaps the most pointed.  The reader is repeatedly told that Elizabeth is wearing a pink dress to the party, but when Sally Seton Rosseter notices Elizabeth, she describes the dress as being red; she also refers to Elizabeth as a young woman.  I would have to compare all the other times it was used to get an overall idea of why the word was used so much, but for this instance we can safely assume that pink signifies a little girl, and red signifies womanhood.

There are more repeated phrases and reused words; what I gave you were were but a few, but I don't have any time.  Time skitters out of view, and I have a hard time finding it.  Of course, there are the trees too, but I will leave the trees for another day.  If only I had the time...

Woolf, Virginia.  Mrs. Dalloway.  Ed. Mark Hussey and Bonnie Kime Scott.  Orlando, FL:  Harcourt, Inc.  2005.  Print.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Barrel Full of Essays

Virginia Woolf had me laughing-out-loud a couple of times, so much so that I had to write the words out fully. First, let’s address the obscure Miss Ormerod. I have to get it out; I loved her. She was a woman who loved bugs. From Woolf’s story, we see little Miss Ormerod enjoying the bug gladiators battling for dominance and a thumb’s up; however, one gets a downward thumb and is killed. Just like a spectator at the Coliseum, she is thrilled, and it appears a love for etymology is born through the death of that one slug. Woolf follows Ormerod’s obscure life from the birth of the etymologist to her death. It was hilarious that her brother wouldn’t let her learn the anatomy of an insect. You see, even insects have sexual reproduction organs, so she might have viewed a microscopic penis and swooned (or worse). Of course, the lady’s obscurity threads through the story. Mr. Pascoe, who owes all that he has to her because of her discovery of Paris Green, refers to her as a “lady with a queer sounding name” (The Dial 471). My question is: Then how did he name his little girl after her? The last page emphasizes her obscurity the most. Her doctor tells her that the farmers should set up a statue of her and comments that her life meant so much to others, but as a Mr. Drummond reads in the newspaper aloud to his wife, “Old Miss Ormerod is dead,” she does naught but question who she is (Dial 474). Virginia Woolf gave us a whimsical story of a fascinating lady who helped put the food on people’s plates while few know who she was. We can at least know that she’s happy feeding the bugs that she studied so thoroughly.

Now, which essay was it that had me in stitches? It was “Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown,” the essay Woolf wrote in retaliation to Arnold Bennett’s harsh critique on Jacob’s Room. One of his more obtuse comments was that characters “do not vitally survive in the mind because the author has been obsessed by details of originality and cleverness” (VWR 192). She creates a little story from a chance encounter with a little old lady on a train to demonstrate how the writers she refers to as the Edwardians create character in their stories (or not). The comparisons were hilarious. Whereas within all novels character are created, each writer goes about it differently. With Wells, sweet Mrs. Brown wouldn’t exist, or he would write her as she ought to be. Why wouldn’t she exist? Watch the movie “Logan’s Run” for the answer to that. She wouldn’t be worth a farthing to Galsworthy. Bennett would describe her house, the street she lived on, how much money she or her father or husband makes; he would describe her to the point of madness. Do we make some assumptions that they must be this or that type of person because of the house or neighborhood that they live in? On page 207, she tells us that the Edwardian tools are not the tools we need to use. And on the next page, I had a light-bulb moment. I realized that this was still the time of "Whitaker’s Table of Precedency," so that was why it was important. Status and social heirachy were very important. But Mrs. Brown wants rescuing; the Edwardian writer has shaped the standard, but Mrs. Brown wants her uniqueness known. After her article I could envision a little, old lady waiting to be written about and brought to life because as Woolf states we should “never desert Mrs. Brown” (VRW 212).  They should endeavor to create her.

Another good aspect of the previous essay is that I don’t think I would have appreciated (please read “understood”) “On Not Knowing Greek” as well if I had read it before I met Mrs. Brown. In just reading the title, I assumed she meant the language. I was lost, or maybe misplaced, a bit because I am not very knowledgeable on the topic ancient Greek literature (nor current for that matter). I couldn’t appreciate her essay fully not knowing who Electra is, or knowing some of the plays she spoke of. But what I gathered was that she was investigating how the Greeks created “character” and what tools they used. 

As I begin the essay on Jane Austen, I’m beginning to see a theme in these essays – character building. Perhaps not all of the essay on Austen is about that, but she touches on it as she speaks about the unfinished book The Watsons. Woolf states that it appeared as if Austen had just thrown words down on the paper, and it almost sounded as if she did the same thing that Br. Bennett did; however, Woolf gave Austin the benefit of the doubt as she believed that Austen hadn’t gone through and done her magic on the manuscript yet. She obviously admires how Austen creates her characters with such craft. On page 227, one line gave me pause: “Sometimes it seems as if her creatures were born merely to give Jane Austen the supreme delight of slicing their heads off.” I wondered if the guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies perhaps also studied Virginia Woolf and was inspired by this line.

Anyway, that’s it for me. I still have the pages in Goldman to read, but I need to get this done and go back to the rest of my homework.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What Gaps? That little ole gap?

For a critical article to be read in conjunction with Jacob’s Room, I read “Mind the Gap: The Spaces in Jacob’s Room” by Edward L. Bishop. I know, I know, this will be the second article of his I’ve read. People will start to talk. :o) Although Neverow mentions the situation of the gaps in the introduction, Bishop gives specific examples and explains the loss. With Woolf being concerned with space and image, I am surprised that she didn’t specify that these gaps be in the American edition. These spaces give what Bishop refers to as a “spatial silence.” In fact, he states that in her diary she wrote, “I think I see how I can bring in interludes—I mean spaces of silence.” So, these spaces did matter to her. Mark Hussey’s edition of Jacob’s Room that we are using for this class does have the spaces; however, they are just double-spaces and not the four-line spaces that she had in some locations. When I started this article, I realized that poetry uses space constructively. A return gives us pause as do gaps between sections. The gaps set up or change a rhythm to the meaning. Bishop addresses this also in his essay. Some of the effects that the gap creates according to Bishop are: isolation, contemplation, emphasis, and others. My opinion is that the gaps are a time for the reader to reflect, imagine, and perhaps more importantly reset. And maybe even set up some antica—(say it!)—pation. (Okay, I stole that line out of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.) It’s not so much the silence, but what is not said—what the reader surmises. And my last comment is that taking out the gaps, or not using the same size of gap, is like taking a poem and printing it in one continuous line.
(I know no one will get the silly picture and caption below, but I couldn't help myself.)

Mind the gap dear

Monday, September 6, 2010

Walking Around in Jacob’s Room

We are first introduced to Jacob through his mother, Betty Flanders. She describes him as a tiresome boy, and later in the story on page 72 the narrator tells us that “she was unreasonably irritated by Jacob’s clumsiness in the house”; whereas her feelings for her other two sons were more loving. I liken the style of writing in this story as to be stuck inside the head of someone with an extreme case of ADD. I don’t even think stream-of-consciousness is this disjointed. I don’t remember Mrs. Dalloway being as scattered. It reminds me of a mosaic with the pieces seeming to be separate, but when viewed from afar they make a whole picture.

So, let me jump into some of my thoughts after reading the first half of Jacob’s Room. One of the things that first confounded me was why didn’t Betty Flanders accept the marriage of proposal from Mr. Floyd. She doesn’t seem to be a woman of means because her husband was just an office worker and not the “Merchant of the City” as stated on his tombstone. I would think that in that era and her situation; widowed, not well-off, and three children; she would jump on the proposal. Having red hair is not a valid justification for not marrying someone. So I began to wonder if there wasn’t another reason, like another man.

I have a hypothesis that Jacob may be the son of the Captain. So, let’s investigate this Captain Barfoot a little more closely. First, he visits her on a regular basis, every Wednesday is it? She’s known him for twenty years; therefore, more than likely she knew him before she was even married. In the discussion on page 27, we can assume that it is Captain Barfoot who foots the bill for Jacob going to Cambridge University. The most telling statement that possibly supports my hypothesis is on page 72: “Captain Barfoot liked him best of the boys; but as for saying why . . .” The ellipses are part of the direct quote. So it is as if Virginia Woolf or the narrator is planting that seed of doubt that Jacob could actually be his progeny. Otherwise, why end the sentence with the ellipses? I believe that is why she doesn’t marry Mr. Floyd; it would end her relationship with Captain Barfoot.

As with the situation with Captain Barfoot and Mr. Floyd, very little is actually stated in the story. The reader must divine much of the meaning. Taking my hypothesis for an example, can we really even be definitive in our estimations?

What can be said definitively is that the story does carry the death theme throughout as Neverow states in the introduction. After her stating that, the death theme stands out like that proverbial sore thumb. I guess we could say “dead” thumb.

And here is my last observation for this blog, did anyone else notice the irony of Florinda’s name? Her name was supposedly given to her by a painter who wanted it known that virginity was intact. She’s a bastard, and it’s assumed she’s a prostitute. So who was this painter, and when did he give her this name? Is he her father? Did he paint her? Was it a Toulouse Lautrec kind of relationship with a model? (Lautrec had a relationship with a prostitute with whom he painted.) Or did her madam, Mother Stuart, give her that name as false advertising?

That’s all I’ve got until next week!

Critical Reading for Kew Gardens (Re-do)

I read “Pursuing ‘It’ Through ‘Kew Gardens’” by Edward L. Bishop as a critical reading companion to the short story. Bishop’s essay helped me understand the purpose of the short story. When I finished the story, I envisioned a Monet-style painting, but that wasn't the only thing she was trying to accomplish. This short story was I believe her first foray into demonstrating her manifesto as stated in her essay “Modern Fiction.” She didn’t relate to her reader the specifics of the scene or detailed conversations. He states, “she immerses the reader in the atmosphere of the garden.” Perhaps it is better explained by James Hafley whom Bishop quotes: “Life [is] a vital impetus that is not logically explicable, and which must be first directly apprehended and then crippled into words.” He relates this to Woolf’s work in that she doesn’t try to pin down detail; she tries to capture the essence or Bishop’s term “atmosphere.” How can you describe a feeling, a sound, or an emotion?

He continues with how the sketch was carefully constructed to include a cross-section of social class, age, and relation. And as Dr. Sparks and Bishop point out, she brings the story around full-circle by beginning with the married couple reminiscing about old romances and ending with the young couple experiencing new romance. With the last couple, the snail parallels the man’s thoughts with the descriptions of his thoughts coinciding with the snail’s contoured landscape that he must pass through to reach his goal. Woolf wants to convey emotions more than dialogue or descriptions; the words of the characters have substance. For the young couple, “words” have “short wings for their heavy body of meaning”; whereas, the words from the pair of women seem to be gibberish, but they too have weight as they fall around the one woman who has become mesmerized by the garden.

He goes on to discuss how Woolf succeeds with this short story and her methodology. As Bishop states in his essay, Woolf definitely disperses with the “scaffolding” when we see into the thoughts of not just the people but also the snail. He states that “human beings [are] integrated not just with each other but with the phenomenal world.” And as he finishes his essay, he believes that Woolf captures the essence of life with her “net of words.”

Meandering Through Kew Gardens

Surrey, Kew Gardens Museum in the 1890's

Just as I got to the end of “Kew Gardens,” my mind flashed images of a Claude Monet painting. I know; that’s easy to say after learning that it’s already been said of the short story in lecture and Neverow’s introduction to Jacob’s Room. The line that really brought this idea fully formed was from page 167 in The Virginia Woolf Reader,

“Yellow and black, pink and snow white, shapes of all these colours, men, women, and children were spotted for a second upon the horizon, and then, seeing the breadth of yellow that lay upon the grass, they wavered and sought shade beneath the trees, dissolving like drops of water in the yellow and green atmosphere, staining it faintly with read and blue.”

That one line created an image in my mind that made me think of Monet’s painting technique.

Each group of people that interrupted the snail’s concentration on meeting his goal interacted with the oval garden or nature in different ways. For the first couple, it brought back memories; both were of a romantic nature and steeped in imagery. The husband describes a dragonfly circling a red flower, while the wife describes painting a red water lily. Is there any irony to be found in the fact that the husband was remembering Lily the woman he proposed to and that his wife was painting a lily? It seems a bit ironic to me.

For the second pair that disrupts the snail’s adventure, nature is used as a distraction. The older of the pair of men appears to either be senile or bonkers. I’ve seen senile or Alzheimer’s, and I lean more towards bonkers. Anyway, the man is about to run off after a woman in black, but the younger man distracts him by calling his attention to a flower. One would think it should be red, but red is for passion. From this pair, I see another theme that seems to penetrate Woolf’s stories, unstable mental health.

The next group is a pair of women who at first study the odd manner of the older man; they were trying to decide if he was “merely eccentric or genuinely mad.” For some reason, I appreciated this pair more than the others mainly because one of the women actually appeared to get lost in nature. Her friend’s words cease to penetrate her mind; they wash over her as she starts swaying back and forth as she looks at the flowers. Most of the verbs in this section pertain to sight. Does this make us think that they are the first to really see the garden, or the first to come to the garden simply for the pleasure of viewing it?

As the snail settles down to enjoying the brown light under a leaf, he is yet disturbed again by a young couple. They discuss the worth of “it.” I believe the “it” is enjoyment of the garden, the getting away from the hustle and bustle of the streets. Of course, you can enjoy the beauty of the garden, but the sound of the streets will still follow one into the garden.

The last we read of the snail is the interruption of this last couple, the little guy who is constant throughout the story. Woolf personifies him by giving him discerning thought. He has doubts, he has a goal, but he has no conclusion. Each group represents a corner of a square around the oval garden of which the snail is the center. And for some reason, just as I’m finishing this, the song “Octopus’s Garden” by the Beatles popped into my head.