By Nicholas Marsh (auth.)
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Extra info for Virginia Woolf: The Novels
Also, when her relaxing mind is disturbed by the memory of being 'as oneself' when one does not 'find rest', her knitting suffers a similar disturbance: 'she accomplished here something dexterous with her needles'. The repetition 'sitting and looking, sitting and looking' additionally emphasises her passivity. These details add up to a picture of Mrs Ramsay. She is subject to the monotonous regularity of the Lighthouse from outside. The monotonous regularity of her knitting and her still pose contribute further, until the state she enters is like a hypnotic trance.
This insight will be further explored in Chapter 7. Conclusions We have made progress in understanding several themes of Virginia Woolf's work These will be further developed in later chapters. Our conclusions here focus instead on characterisation and the mental processes we have been able to analyse. In the three extracts, we have found the following: 1. Repression. This occurs when the character's mind contains unwelcome or repugnant thoughts, and the conscious mind tries to suppress or expel these thoughts.
6. In these three extracts, we have also encountered three descriptions of moments of mental change. These are worth remembering as they provide physical metaphors, revealing how Virginia Woolf 'saw' the inside of a character's mind. In Mrs Dalloway, Peter's sudden change is described: 'And down his mind went flat as a marsh . . as if inside his brain by another hand strings were pulled, shutters moved, and he, having nothing to do with it, yet stood at the opening of endless avenues'. In To the Lighthouse, Mrs Ramsay looks into her mind: 'There rose ...