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The bitter glass : demonic imagery in the novels of Virginia Woolf Long, Maida 1975

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"THE BITTER GLASS": DEMONIC IMAGERY IN THE NOVELS OF VIRGINIA WOOLF by MAIDA LONG B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1966 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF . MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of English We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard The University of B r i t i s h Columbia November 1975 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of £L v\ \ S W The University of British Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date W\erQ, H , l ^ i ^ i i ABSTRACT The purpose of t h i s thesis i s to examine i n V i r g i n i a W o o l f s f i c t i o n the demonic imagery of violence as i t c o n s t i -tutes her ultimate conception of r e a l i t y . Her novels record the s e l f ' s r i t u a l i s t i c and symbolic journey into the i n t e r i o r landscape of the unconscious, each work probing behind the c a r e f u l l y wrought i l l u s i o n s of s o c i a l r e a l i t y i n an e f f o r t to define that dark and v i o l e n t inner truth. This quest i n search of the s e l f i s e s s e n t i a l l y and necessarily n a r c i s s i s t i c , frequently ending i n disaster for the i n d i v i d u a l searcher who mistakes surface r e f l e c t i o n for r e a l i t y . Ultimately, Woolf depicts man as i s o l a t e d and fragmented i n his attempts to f i n d pattern and meaning i n l i f e , and the inherent stubbornness which causes him to f i g h t for l i f e i s seen throughout her novels i n the recurring theme of i d e n t i t y l o s t , regained, and l o s t again. In t h i s doomed world of V i r g i n i a W o o l f s f i c t i o n , the tortuous and narrow path of man's destiny can, and does, lead only to the grave. In The Voyage Out, her f i r s t novel, Woolf uses consistently the v i o l e n t imagery of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n that pervades a l l her f i c t i o n . Rachel Vinrace, the young, inexperienced heroine of the book, flees the s t e r i l i t y and i s o l a t i o n of her room for the g l i t t e r i n g world of experience, only to drown i n the "cool translucent wave" of that very experience. And as the long night of t h i s book ends, the morning l i g h t brings no r e l i e f and no sense of r e b i r t h — o n l y i i i a t e r r i b l e reminder of l i f e ' s pointless cycle of l i g h t lead-ing to inevitable darkness. Indeed, Rachel Vinrace's return to the s t e r i l e darkness from which she emerged establishes the central metaphor i n a l l V i r g i n i a Woolf's f i c t i o n . Although Night and Day appears to be a comedy of manners, i t i s a black comedy of l i f e i n a suffocating world where the i n d i v i d u a l must deny himself and his feelings i n an e f f o r t to survive. The a r t i f i c i a l i t y of the p l o t and structure only serves to underscore the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of s o c i a l l i f e where truth i s s a c r i f i c e d i n order to maintain the i l l u s i o n of harmony and beauty, where the appearance of order and t r a n q u i l i t y disguises the violence inherent i n a society that worships conformity. In Jacob's Room the i n d i v i d u a l i s never able to form a l a s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p and remains i s o l a t e d i n a world where i t i s impossible to ever r e a l l y know another. Jacob, i n his r e s t l e s s , f u t i l e quest for i d e n t i t y , becomes a symbol of modern man, doomed to wander through the desert of l i f e i n a hopeless search for meaning amid the ruins of the past. The images of violence i n Mrs. Dalloway once again create an impression of existence as a l i v i n g death where the i n d i v i d u a l , enslaved by convention, i s no longer able to communicate with others. C l a r i s s a Dalloway's parties are her "off e r i n g " to l i f e , an attempt to maintain order and balance i n the face of the chaos which threatens to engulf her; yet, t e r r i f i e d of dying, her existence becomes a l i v i n g death, an emotional suicide, mirroring the actual suicide of Septimus i v Smith. In To The Lighthouse the party i s over long before the story has fin i s h e d . With the unexpected death of Mrs. Ramsay, who has seemed to o f f e r a beacon of warmth and security for those engaged on the voyage out, Mrs. Ramsay's family and friends are plunged into the darkness and con-fusion of the night, where they are no longer able to ignore the fact that l i f e ' s harsh f r u i t i s death. V i r g i n i a W o o l f s penultimate novel, The Years, i s a chronicle of three genera-tions i n the Pargiter family, r e f l e c t i n g the increasing s t e r i l i t y and i s o l a t i o n of modern society, where man must continue the endless dance macabre, doomed l i k e Antigone to a l i v i n g death. In Between The Acts, W o o l f s f i n a l and most profound novel, the images of violence well up as i f from the layer of mud at the bottom of the cesspool, spreading i n ever-widening c i r c l e s , p u l l i n g each one of the characters r e l e n t l e s s l y into the vortex of loneliness and despair. As each f a l t e r s and plunges to the bottom, he i s faced with the r e a l i t y that only bones l i e i n the mud beneath. And the "voyage out" i n search of the s e l f , f a i l i n g to bring man to the shores of understand-ing and acceptance, becomes instead, an endless s p i r a l of senseless r e p e t i t i o n i n which one must either drown or go mad. V TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter I. THE VOYAGE OUT 9 I I . DARK POOLS OF IMAGINATION 25 II I . BITTER WATERS OF DESPAIR: THE THREE-FOLDED MIRROR . 86 NOTES 112 BIBLIOGRAPHY 117 v i Key to Abbreviations of V i r g i n i a Woolf's Works Used i n This Study For ease of reference I w i l l make use of the following abbreviations when quoting from V i r g i n i a Woolf. See my b i b l i o -graphy for f u l l c i t a t i o n of the texts. Between The Acts BTA The Captain's Death Bed CDB Collected Essays: Volume II CE II The Common Reader CR I Death of the Moth DM Granite and Rainbow GR Jacob's Room JR The Moment and Other Essays M Mrs. Dalloway MD Night and Day ND To The Lighthouse TTLH The Voyage Out VP The Waves W A Writer's Diary AWD The Years Y INTRODUCTION "Gaze no more i n the b i t t e r glass The demons, with t h e i r subtle g u i l e , L i f t up before us when they pass, Or only gaze a l i t t l e while, ^ For there a f a t a l image grows . . ." The f a t a l image r e f l e c t e d i n the " b i t t e r glass" of V i r g i n i a W o o l f s f i c t i o n i s the image of l i f e not death. This i s the monstrous inversion which l i e s , l i k e Leviathan, at the bottom of her novels, r i s i n g occasionally to explode upon the 2 surface and "scatter i t s e n t r a i l s to the winds." Aware that beneath the deceptively smooth surface of everyday existence "pain l i e s quiescent, but ready to devour" (VO,421), Woolf reveals her despair i n images of violence: i s o l a t i o n , imprison-ment, death and decay, images which c r y s t a l l i z e i n her fascina-tion with Antigone, a t r a g i c symbol of the i n d i v i d u a l buried a l i v e by a relentless society whose true gods are "Proportion" and "Conversion" (MD,151). C r i t i c s have generally argued that these images are . . . 3 subordinate to Woolfs v i s i o n of regeneration; yet, i t i s my view that they constitute a primary and persistent voice that constantly threatens to overwhelm the p o s i t i v e statement i n her f i c t i o n . This thesis i s an attempt to trace the dark current of pessimism which flows through a l l the novels, reach-ing i t s greatest concentration i n Between the Acts, V i r g i n i a 2 Woolfs f i n a l and most profound attempt to make • her "world f a l l [ s ] into shape" (AWD,164) . Haunted by the "strange contradictions and anomalies which make a man at once divine and b e s t i a l " (CE 11,86), she was conscious of an Apollonian-5 Dionysiac d u a l i t y l y i n g at the very root of man's existence. T e r r i f i e d of "passive acquiescence," she was exhilarated and challenged, l i k e Bernard, by "the d a i l y b a t t l e , defeat or v i c t o r y , the absorbing pursuit" (W,270) of l i f e i t s e l f . Contrary to the impression given by many c r i t i c s that, hypersensitive and emotionally unstable, she retreated from r e a l i t y , occasionally "stretching out from her enchanted tree and snatching b i t s from the flux of l i f e as they f l o a t past, and out of these b i t s [building] novels," V i r g i n i a Woolf c l e a r l y recognizes that " s t r i d e n t l y , clamorously, l i f e i s forever pleading that she i s the proper end of f i c t i o n " (CE 11,135). While accepting the bleak fact that "nothing . . . had any chance against death" (DM,11), she r e a l i z e d that "to r e t i r e to one's study i n fear of l i f e [was] equally f a t a l " (CE 11,136), and believed that i f her work was "to survive, each sentence must have at i t s heart, a l i t t l e spark of f i r e , and t h i s , whatever the r i s k , the novelist must pluck with his own hands from the blaze" (CE 11,136). Although i t was d i f f i c u l t for V i r g i n i a Woolf with her Vic t o r i a n background to explore the dark shadows i n the depths of man's nature, Harvena Richter observes that "her l i n e tangled with the deepest f i s h i n her pool; up from the uncon-scious she dredged uncommon hates and fears, androgynous 3 tendencies . . . and aspects of homosexual love."" In a world of rapidly changing values, she f e l t compelled to expose the "skeleton beneath" (V0,4) the facade of society. What she glimpsed behind the curtains and between the acts appalled and fascinated her. "I saw a l l the violence and unreason crossing i n the a i r : ourselves small, a tumult outside, something t e r r i f y i n g : unreason" (AWD,181). Hopeful that by creating a work of art she might "bring order and speed again into [her] world" (AWD),181), Woolf confessed i n her diary to an " i n s a t i a b l e desire to write something before I die, t h i s ravaging sense of the shortness and feverishness of l i f e , make me c l i n g , l i k e a man on a rock, to my one anchor" (AWD,119). In spite of her awareness that the mind was "a queer conglomeration of unconscious things . . . f u l l of monstrous, hybrid, unmanageable emotions" (CE 11,219), she r e a l i z e d that to give l i f e meaning and wholeness, i t was necessary to confront the horror of one's own pote n t i a l darkness and become resigned to i t . While admitting the terrors of the voyage..— "No one knows how I suff e r , walking up t h i s street, engaged with my anguish alone, f i g h t i n g something alone" (AWD,14 7), she f e l t " i t was superb t h i s l a s t protest" (DM,11). The inherent subborness which causes man to f i g h t for l i f e i s seen throughout her novels i n the recurring a r t i s t i c theme of the loss and regaining of i d e n t i t y . This r i t u a l quest symbolizes the journey of the s e l f into the dark i n t e r i o r landscape of the 4 unconscious while the hopes and fears of the i n d i v i d u a l are r e f l e c t e d i n his surroundings. Each time she finished a book, however, "the voyage 9 landed her on the same sh o r e — t h a t of herself" where she f e l l v i c tim to "an atmosphere of doubt, of questioning, of despair" (CE 11,89) so v i o l e n t and exhausting that she became i l l and a breakdown threatened."""^ S t i l l her courage forced her to con-front the s t e r i l i t y of modern society, to try to find some reason for l i v i n g i n spite of an increasing sense of i s o l a t i o n : "I say to m y s e l f — f i g h t , f i g h t — I f I could catch the f e e l i n g I would—the fe e l i n g of the singing of the r e a l world, as one i s driven by loneliness and silence from the habitable world" (AWD,14 8). In t h i s unreal world we are doomed to inhabit, V i r g i n i a Woolf found narrow and twisting the path that man was destined to t r a v e l to the grave. "Why i s l i f e so t r a g i c , so l i k e a l i t t l e s t r i p of pavement over an abyss. I look down, I f e e l giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end" (AWD, 29). Whenever she hesitated i n her e f f o r t to weave the f a b r i c of order, she gazed through the wide places i n the "netting" into the void below. Without warning nature's p l a c i d waters heaved apart to reveal the monster shouldering i t s way to the surface. As she looked at the r e a l i t y of l i f e , the shawl f e l l away and exposed the s k u l l behind i t s f o l d s . Like Helen Ambrose i n The Voyage Out, she r e a l i z e d that "when one gave up seeing the beauty that clothed things, t h i s was the skeleton beneath" (V0,4). A modern novelist whose i n t e r e s t 5 lay i n the "dark places of psychology" (CE 11,108), she was aware that things which seem to have no apparent connection are often associated i n the mind; that "beauty i s part u g l i -ness; amusement part disgust; pleasure part pain . . . the two emotions, so incongruously coupled, bite and kick each other i n unison" (CE 11,222). In her writing she f e l t compelled to reveal t h i s h o r r i f y i n g v i s i o n of l i f e as well, to hold up the mirror to nature and by turning "the looking-glass . . . show us that the other side of her cheek i s p i t t e d and deformed" (CE 11,223). Although much of the action i n her novels seems to centre i n the drawing room with the party as the major image of an ordered, creative l i f e , the r e a l i z a t i o n grows that i n the shadows just outside the f r a i l mandala of light"*" 1 lurk the forces of chaos and a n n i h i l a t i o n . I t i s to these forces that "the other side of the mind i s now exposed—the dark side that comes uppermost i n solitude, not the l i g h t side that shows i n company" (CE 11,3). Welling up from the deep, f e r t i l e places of her imagination, demonic imagery floods her novels, mirroring the states of consciousness that 12 "picture modern man's distress i n his search for values." L i v i n g i n t h i s world of violence with i t s power to "lay bare regions deep down i n the mind where contradiction p r e v a i l s " (CE 11,86) threatens to drive the i n d i v i d u a l to the brink of madness. L i f e turns into "one of those appalling night-mares which because they belong to the world of r e a l i t y and yet seem to be o v e r l a i d with unreality, have the double horror 6 of the collapse of one's everyday l i f e and at the same time 13 the most fa n t a s t i c and devastating dream." In the world of nightmare, the "singing of the r e a l world" (AWD,148), of l i f e i t s e l f , becomes a torture, a cycle of despair turning man r e l e n t l e s s l y upon the wheel of b i r t h and death and r e b i r t h . The love and companionship of others i s a l l that there i s to ease the pain and f u t i l i t y of the journey; to r e l i e v e the "horror and t e r r o r of being alone" (BTA,246). I r o n i c a l l y , the i r r e s i s t i b l e desire to come together, to embrace, bears within i t s e l f the seeds not only of l i f e but also of death. When the torrent of words i s exhausted we are l e f t alone with sounds of one s y l l a b l e , c r i e s i n the night and, f i n a l l y , s i l e n c e . Between the acts of b i r t h and death, no l i f e exists other than dying; t h i s i s the monstrous inversion. A l l else i s an i l l u s i o n and when the i l l u s i o n f a i l s , the i n d i v i d u a l i s "forced into the c o f f i n (and womb) of the earth to be either f i n a l l y buried or f i n a l l y 14 reborn." In a world where l i v i n g i s an endless torment, Woolf can only long, l i k e P h y l l i s Webb, for the suffering to e n d — f i n a l l y : "Where does i t dwell, that virtuous land/ 15 Where one can die without a second bi r t h ? " Having forced herself to "face the fact that there i s nothing—nothing for any of us" (AWD,14 3) and that l i f e i s a pointless " t r e a d m i l l — g o i n g on and on -and on for' no reason" (AWD,180), V i r g i n i a Woolf maintains that a c t i v e l y to choose death i s a kind of v i c t o r y over the l i v i n g death of everyday existence. To decide to die i s a creative act, i t 7 f i l l s one with exultation t h i s "power to rush out unnoticed— a l o n e — t o become part of the eyeless dark" (M,13). Always 16 "more than half i n love with easeful Death," she revealed i n her novels the " f a t a l image" of the disintegration of the i n d i v i d u a l , society and nature i n the wasteland that l i e s behind the t h i n and trembling " v e i l of c i v i l i z a t i o n " (TTLH, 51) where, " a l l things turn to barrenness/ In the dim glass 17 the demons hold." Many c r i t i c s s t i l l p e r s i s t i n viewing V i r g i n i a W o o l f s f i c t i o n as divided into three separate phases: her apprentice-ship which resulted i n The Voyage Out, Night and Day and the t r a n s i t i o n a l work, Jacob's Room; her mature period consisting of Mrs. Dalloway, To The Lighthouse and The Waves; and, f i n a l l y , her l a s t novels, The Years and Between The Acts, an i n d i c a t i o n 18 to some that her " v i s i o n f a l t e r s . " Contrary to t h i s i n t e r -pretation, I f e e l that, although her major themes of alienation, di s i n t e g r a t i o n and death take various forms and dramatic modes, nevertheless, her perspective i s consistent and creates a u n i f i e d v i s i o n i n which the central patterns and images recur throughout the whole of her f i c t i o n . Therefore my separation of the novels into three chapters i s a d i v i s i o n of convenience rather than one repre-sentative, of a d i v i s i o n of W o o l f s career. In my f i r s t chapter I examine The Voyage Out singly because i t i s her e a r l i e s t work, and provides the framework of images and themes present i n a l l her l a t e r novels. The second chapter explores these same images and themes as they appear i n Night and Day, 8 Jacob's Room, Mrs. Dalle-way, To The Lighthouse and The Years. Unfortunately, I have found i t necessary to omit an analysis 19 of The Waves, V i r g i n i a Woolf's "most d i f f i c u l t and complex" book. I t i s not that images of violence f a i l to occur i n The  Waves; indeed, they inform rather than ornament the novel. But to illuminate the profound depths of t h i s work, so i n t r i c a t e i n design and imagery, would require a f u l l - s c a l e analysis beyond the scope of t h i s study. My reading of Between The Acts appears i n a separate chapter, not because i t i s d i s t i n c t from the re s t of her work, but because i t represents the f i n a l statement of her v i s i o n , a culmination and emphatic r e i t e r a t i o n of the same themes, patterns and images of despair that have informed a l l her f i c t i o n . For ease of presentation, therefore, I have pursued a kind of book-end structure i n order to emphasize the essen-t i a l s i m i l a r i t y between her f i r s t novel and her l a s t n o v e l — the two r a d i c a l statements at the beginning and end of her career—hoping to cast some l i g h t on the central core of her work as i t stands between them. 9 CHAPTER I THE VOYAGE OUT In The Voyage Out, her f i r s t and perhaps most unguarded novel, Woolf uses consistently the vio l e n t imagery of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n that pervades a l l her f i c t i o n . Recent c r i t i c s tend to agree that i t i s more than merely a promising beginning; every single mode of s u b j e c t i v i t y used i n her l a t e r 20 novels i s present i n her f i r s t . James Naremore argues that i t not only presents her major themes but i s highly character-21 i s t i c of her l a t e r s t y l e . While according to both James 22 2 3 Hafley and Harvena Richter nearly every event i n the book i s made symbolic, so that the actual voyage out becomes an image of the inward journey into the ambiguous depths of the unconscious. When t h i s i n i t i a l e f f o r t to reconcile the duality i n man's nature f a i l s , the chaos, which V i r g i n i a Woolf feels i s the r e a l i t y of l i f e behind the i l l u s i o n of order, i s r e f l e c t e d i n the demonic imagery of the novel. The quest i n search of the s e l f i s e s s e n t i a l l y and necessarily a n a r c i s s i s t i c pursuit which ultimately ends i n death. Mistaking the r e f l e c t i o n for r e a l i t y , the in d i v i d u a l plunges into the whelming tide and drowns. In the search for 10 i d e n t i t y , the voyage out i s a desperate attempt to leave the i s o l a t i o n and s t e r i l i t y of the room o r p r i s o n , f o r exper ience of the ou t s i de wor ld . However, the journey i s a l s o h o r r i f y i n g as the outward movement r e vea l s t ha t l i f e i s a c i r c l e w i thout end, s p i r a l l i n g downward i n t o the abyss. As the momentum of the journey increases so do f e e l i n g s of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n and i s o l a t i o n . When order and communication are swept away i n the r e l e n t l e s s t i d e , t ime becomes confused, sex i s t w i s t e d o r pe rve r ted and the sense of i d e n t i t y i s l o s t as the bu r i ed l i f e b o i l s to the s u r f a ce . On the dark journey i n t o the unconscious, " the way out i s as dangerous as the room i t s e l f . " " ^ ' In The Voyage Out, accord ing to R i c h t e r , i t i s these hazards o f the voyage i n t o the i nne r wor ld o f the psyche 25 which are seen " i n f u l l and t r a g i c d e t a i l . " She mainta ins t ha t the word " ou t " i n the t i t l e merely i n d i c a t e s the p h y s i c a l d i r e c t i o n o f the voyage to South America w h i l e the a c t u a l journey i s inward to " t he watery wor ld of emotion and the 2 6 i nne r depths" symbol ized by the name of the v i l l a g e , Santa Mar ina. The image o f the quest i s cent red i n the repeated attempts : o f the young, i nexper ienced he ro i ne , Rachel V i n r a c e , to leave the s t e r i l i t y and i s o l a t i o n of her room f o r the wor ld of exper ience ou t s i de . Growing up i n the s t i f l i n g , pa t te rned s o c i e t y o f her aunts , she has longed f o r the s t r eng th 27 " t o smash" t h e i r wor ld " t o atoms." She leaves her room i n Richmond, exchanging i t f o r one on her f a t h e r ' s s h i p , where 11 the i l l u s i o n of the voyage out obscures, for the moment, the fact that she i s s t i l l buried a l i v e l i k e Antigone. Her father becomes, l i k e Creon, an image of the n a r c i s s i s t i c parent suspected of "nameless a t r o c i t i e s with regard to his daughter" (20) . Uncertain of her a b i l i t y to cope with the demands of l i f e , Rachel again retreats to the refuge of her room, prefer-ring dreams to the dangers of r e a l i t y . She senses that to begin to f e e l , to care about things i s "to create an abyss between oneself and others who f e e l . . . d i f f e r e n t l y " (34). On the other hand, to i s o l a t e herself and try to hold the present moment s t i l l , l i k e a r e f l e c t i o n frozen i n a mirror, 2 8 gives only an i l l u s i o n of order, a pale image of l i f e "removed from the flux and caught within the frame, s t a t i c ; 29 metamorphosed into glass." Looking l i k e one of l i f e ' s victims "dropped from the claws of a b i r d of prey" (35), the young g i r l seems a pathetic reminder that "death i s the true r e f l e c t i o n , o f f e r i n g peace and s i l e n c e . " ^ The sudden intrusion of the Dalloways into her sheltered world plunges Rachel into confusion and uncertainty. She i s fascinated with the g l i t t e r i n g image of l i f e they r e f l e c t and, catching sight of her own "melancholy" (41) face i n the mirror, i s suddenly dismayed by her own dreary and limi t e d existence. F a i l i n g to discern the i n s i n c e r i t y beneath C l a r i s s a Dalloway's delicate appearance and gracious s o c i a l manner, Rachel i s entranced by t h i s "lady of quality" (50) who i s so 12 confident that she "seemed to be dealing with the world as she chose; the enormous globe spun round t h i s way and that beneath her fingers" (47). In r e a l i t y , beneath her s u p e r f i c i a l i n t e r e s t i n the party aboard the Euphrosyne, C l a r i s s a f e e l s that they are "a set of cranks" (52) and that " i t s a p i t y , sometimes, one can't treat people l i k e dogs" (52). I r o n i c a l l y , while fe e l i n g that i t i s so "good to be a l i v e " (63), C l a r i s s a Dalloway becomes an image of the corruption at the heart of society with the aura of death about her. Fascinated by Clar i s s a ' s f a t a l image, for Rachel the "curious scent of v i o l e t s " (48) which mingled "with the soft r u s t l i n g of [ C l a r i s s a ' s ] s k i r t s , and the t i n k l i n g of her chains" (48) i s dangerously in t o x i c a t i n g ; flowers for Rachel.are i n e x t r i c -ably woven with memories of her mother's funeral. If C l a r i s s a brings thoughts of death into Rachel's room, Richard Dalloway creates the sudden shock of sexual awakening. Sleek and powerful, he seems to possess for the young g i r l the " s i n i s t e r " (75) a t t r a c t i o n and promise of violence i m p l i c i t i n the two English warships following each other "low i n the water and bald as bone" (75) looking l i k e "eyeless beasts seeking t h e i r prey" (75). The emotional tumult which shatters the calm surface of Rachel's innocent world i s echoed i n the howling storm as Dalloway's f i e r c e embrace plunges her into the terr o r of the buried l i f e , bringing her 31 face to face with the dark, shadow side of her nature. Appalled at t h i s v i s i o n of herself which she cannot accept, Rachel sinks into the nightmare which recurs i n the novel 13 whenever she i s confronted with her own sexuality. As her submerged desires and fears r i s e to the surface: She dreamt that she was walking down a long tunnel, which grew so narrow by degrees that she could touch the. damp bricks on either side. At length the tunnel opened and became a vault; she found herself trapped i n i t , bricks meeting her wherever she turned, alone with a l i t t l e deformed man who squatted on the f l o o r gibbering, with long n a i l s . His face was p i t t e d l i k e the face of an animal. The wall behind him oozed with damp, which c o l l e c t e d into drops and s l i d down. S t i l l and cold as death she lay . . . . (86) Shocked by the t e r r i b l e p o s s i b i l i t i e s of l i f e revealed by her dream, Rachel i n s t i n c t i v e l y turns away from t h i s new knowledge which threatens to destroy her l i k e a "wizened tree" (78) leaving her battered and broken "by the s a l t A t l a n t i c Gale" (78). The Dalloways leave Rachel shaken by the momentary glimpse of the very re a l dangers hidden beneath the facade of p o l i t e society. She has a sudden v i s i o n of the sickness l y i n g at the heart of l i f e i n which the quiet serenity of Richmond has changed to an image of a diseased world "with drains l i k e nerves and bad houses l i k e patches of diseased skin" (9 3). In th i s demonic world the i n d i v i d u a l i s s a c r i f i c e d to glut a rapacious, mechanized society. I t i s an awareness of t h i s wasteland that f i l l s Rachel's aunt, Helen Ambrose, with a sense of dread, a morbid "presentiment" (349) that the voyage out w i l l end where i t began, i n darkness on the r i v e r of death. A mysterious and romantic figure draped i n purple shawls, Mrs. Ambrose takes on the appearance of a wise and 14 prophetic S i b y l accompanying Rachel on her dangerous journey through the i n f e r n a l regions of the world. The t r i p through London seems to be leading Helen, l i k e Aeneas, through the realm of the dead. Having l e f t her own children behind, she feels mutilated, as i f her mind were "a wound exposed to dry i n the a i r " (6). The narrow, twisting streets, "shrunk to a cobbled lane" (6) and shrouded i n a " f i n e , yellow fog" (6), seem to the distressed woman l i k e a great labyrinth where sordid lovers, "tattered o ld men and women" and sodden hags" (4), are doomed to endlessly c i r c l e t h e i r l i v e s away. Hunched under "a vast black cloak" (5), the c i t y i s l i k e a vampire "a-crouched and cowardly figure" (12), draining the l i v e s of i n d i v i d u a l s . Out of the darkness a mysterious old man appears, Charon-like, to ferry the Ambroses across the r i v e r Thames to the ship. As the Euphrosyne ventures out into the night with i t s f r a i l cargo, i t seems to other ships passing "an emblem of the loneliness of human l i f e " (99). Behind them, London glows under a great c i r c l e of l i g h t l i k e a "pale yellow canopy" (11) as i f attempting to deny the darkness of night. Instead of creating a sense of peace and comfort, i t seems to be blazing endlessly, "eternally burnt, eternally scarred" (12), a t e r r i b l e c i t y of judgment surrounded by the raging flames of Phlegethon. As the voyage out to Santa Marina gets under way, the action of the novel begins i t s slow, inevitable s p i r a l into the vortex. The image of water which i s seen i n the name of the v i l l a g e , becomes the mirror of death into which the i n d i v i d u a l , 15 l i k e Narcissus, must plunge i n an attempt to reach himself. From the f i r s t , Rachel, i n the s t e r i l i t y and i s o l a t i o n of her room aboard the Euphrosyne, i s seen as a shallow pool, her eyes "unreflecting as water" (16). She toys with " f o s s i l i z e d f i s h " (16) u n t i l the black waves of her nightmare force her into the depths of her subconscious where she can no longer "deny the white, h a i r l e s s , b l i n d monsters l y i n g curled on the ridges of sand at the bottom of the sea" (18) which, l i k e the Kraken, threaten to waken and r i s e to the surface. Reluctantly awakened to the i n f i n i t e p o s s i b i l i t i e s of l i f e which she "had never guessed at" (85), Rachel can no longer tolerate the confinement of her room. Like a moth she i s drawn i r r e s i s t i b l y to the g l i t t e r i n g l i g h t s of the hotel. Looking i n from the darkness outside, she feels that each bright window reveals "a d i f f e r e n t section of l i f e " (114) which, while at f i r s t fascinating, soon overwhelms her with a sense of danger. Later, as a guest at the hotel, i t seems to her that she i s surrounded "by the faces of strangers, a l l h o s t i l e to her, with hooked noses and sneering i n d i f f e r e n t eyes" (181). As she looks at the great, black trees i n the garden, she i s reminded that death i s the inevitable end of the mad, whirling dance of l i f e where "dreadful sorrows had always separated the dancers from t h e i r past happiness" (194) . But unable to r e s i s t the music, Rachel finds herself r e l e n t -33 l e s s l y swept into the frenzied "Dance Macabre" which ultimately ends i n her fevered delirium and death. 16 Torn between fear of the "unknown sea" (271) and a desire to "hurl herself over the w a t e r f a l l " (271)/ Rachel's inner turmoil and uncertainty i s l i k e a stormy landscape which i s "dark beneath clouds . . . lashed by wind and h a i l " (272) . As her increasing desire to l i v e struggles against her fear of l i f e , she feels that she i s a prisoner strapped i n a chair, tortured and "exposed to pain" (272). In the darkness of the night, a huge, jagged tree seems to r i s e suddenly before her, i t s great branches separating her from the l i g h t l i k e "black bars separating her from the days" (27 2). Reflecting an image of the tree of l i f e with i t s roots i n death, i t i s a v i s i o n that w i l l " l a s t her for a l i f e t i m e " (205). Feeling that " i t might have been the only tree i n the world" (205), Rachel, l i k e N e v i l l e , finds i t embodies a r e a l i t y which she cannot ignore or pass by. Yet, hating the prison of her room, and 34 "half sick of shadows," she turns i r r e s i s t i b l y from the mirror's pale r e f l e c t i o n toward the "centre of l i g h t " (273) and the shining promise of Terence Hewett's love. As i n a dream, Rachel begins her f a t a l journey down the r i v e r which, "swirling past i n the darkness" (325), c a r r i e s her inexorably into the mysterious "heart of night" (325). While she sinks into the underwater world of her unconscious desires, the jungle r e f l e c t s her t e r r o r . Birds "shriek," monkeys "chuckle maliciously" and primitive beasts "croak" (327) as the remorseless r i v e r carries her past vines and roots which seem to be "strangling each other" (327) into the narrow, underground caverns of her nightmare. Appalled by the rushing turbulence of her feelings, Rachel wonders why i t i s "so painful to be i n love; why i s there so much pain i n happiness?" (349); In an attempt to escape the necessity of making p o l i t e conversation with the rest of the party, the young couple d r i f t into a dreaming state, f e e l i n g that they have "dropped to the bottom of the world together" (335). Overwhelmed by t h e i r "exquisite joy" (338), Terence and Rachel are unable to t e l l whether what they f e e l i s true or only "a dream" (337). Content merely to be near each other, they no longer f e e l the need to communicate and t h e i r speech becomes a di s j o i n t e d , c h i l d - l i k e r e p e t i t i o n of meaningless phrases "as t h e i r voices joined i n tones of strange and unfamiliar sound which formed no words" (337). But as she looks up from beneath t h i s submerged world of make-believe, Rachel has a t e r r i f y i n g v i s i o n of the world from the other side of the looking-glass. Suddenly i t seemed to her that "a hand dropped abrupt as iron on [her] shoulder: i t might have been a bolt from heaven. She f e l l beneath i t , and the grass whipped across her eyes and f i l l e d her mouth and ears. Through the waving stems she saw a figure, large and shapeless against the sky. Helen was upon her. Rolled t h i s way and that . . . she was speechless and almost without sense" (347). I t i s Helen Ambrose, looming larger, than l i f e i n Rachel's trau-matic daydream, who becomes an enigmatic figure strangely interwoven i n the young g i r l ' s feelings of love and g u i l t and fear. 18 I r o n i c a l l y , Helen, who always seems so confident and i n control of l i f e to her niece, i s i n r e a l i t y reluctant to get involved i n the adventure,: unwilling "to f e e l herself the victim of u n c l a s s i f i e d emotions" (340). Even her admirer St. John Hir s t , accuses her of being "the l e a s t adventurous" (330) person he has met when, refusing to go into the jungle with Rachel and Terence, she turns "her back on the trees which disappeared i n the black shadows behind her" (329). Suddenly, a f r a i d that she has l e t the lovers stray too far into the darkness alone, Helen, l i k e an errant S i b y l , i s f i l l e d with "presentiments of disaster" (349) as the s h r i l l " c r i e s of senseless beasts" (349) ri n g i n her ears. As her fears for t h e i r safety increase, she i s sadly aware of the f r a i l t y and i n s i g n i f i c a n c e of human existence i n a world where "the profound and reasonless law asserted i t s e l f , moulding them a l l to i t s l i k i n g , making and destroying" (322) them at w i l l . Nature, she r e a l i z e s , i s an impersonal, destructive force that breaks "the delicate f l e s h of men and women . . . and l e t s l i f e escape" (350). Looking with d i s t r u s t at the order and security r e f l e c t e d i n the b r i t t l e surface of society, Helen i s aware that "underneath the l i k i n g s and spites, the comings together and partings, great things were happening— t e r r i b l e things" (321). H o r r i f i e d as she gazes at the "blackened grass and charred tree stumps" (347) surrounding the native v i l l a g e , i t seems to Helen.a t e r r i f y i n g image of the wasteland of man's dreams where, "beneath twigs and dead leaves she had seen the movement of a snake" (322). 19 The return to Santa Marina i s a return to the i s o l a -t ion of the room for Rachel. Becoming increasingly oppressed by the need to share her feelings completely, she longs to escape to the dreamy depths again, "to be washed hither and th i t h e r and driven about the roots of the world" (365) . Terence senses her remoteness and i s frightened by i t . At times he i s cert a i n that she feels only h o s t i l i t y for him, wanting "to blow his brains out" or "throw him into the sea" (365), and he r e a l i z e s sadly that she wants "many more things than the love of one human being" (370). As they c l i n g together, i t seems to the young couple that they are standing "on the top of a precipice" (371) no longer able to communi-cate with one another. Catching sight of themselves i n the mirror, they are dismayed to f i n d that, "instead of being vast and i n d i v i s i b l e they are r e a l l y very small and separate" (371). With a shock, Terence and Rachel suddenly r e a l i z e how i n s i g n i f i c a n t they are because without them i n i t , the glass w i l l go on r e f l e c t i n g a world of things. To Rachel, l i f e now seems an endless wheel turning, a long, aimless progression which f i n a l l y rubs away a l l "the marks of i n d i v i d u a l i t y " (390). As her weariness increases, she becomes i l l and the waves on the shore seem to echo her despair, sounding l i k e "the sigh of some exhausted creature" (398). Unable to cope with the demands of a society that i s l i k e an insatiable vampire, " a l l h o s t i l e and a l l disagreeable . . . with mouths gaping for blood" (378), Rachel returns to the cold cavern of her room for the l a s t time. Sinking down 20.-through the raging fever into the "coo l trans luscent wave" (402), she sees the damp, oozing tunnel of her nightmare 36 again. Like the nymph, Sabrina, she l i e s "cur led up at the bottom of the sea" (416) where death brings her peace, f i n a l l y . At l a s t she i s "completely cut o f f , and unable to communicate with the rest of the world" (403), leaving Terence to face the darkness alone. For him the days have turned to endless n ight. The world that held his dreams i s in fragments and " a l l around him he seemed to hear the shiver of broken glass" (400). In Rachel 's death, at l a s t he sees the f u t i l i t y of the struggle when death i s the true r e f l e c t i o n of l i f e . The mirror that 37 held t h e i r image i s l i k e the " c r y s t a l glasse" of Comus, i t contains within i t s beauty the darkness of the beast. With h is world i n ru ins, nothing seems whole to Terence, even the o ld nurse "seemed to s h r i v e l beneath one's eyes and become worthless, mal icious and untrustworthy" (420), while the " s l im, black cypress t rees" (420) i n the garden, stand ominously qu ie t , enfo ld ing the house i n the i r dark embrace. Suddenly, a l l " s ights and sounds appeared s i n i s t e r and f u l l of h o s t i l i t y and foreboding" (420). Shocked that he has exposed himself to such su f fer ing by car ing for someone e l s e , Terence i s ce r t a i n , now that he has l o s t Rachel, that "never again would he f e e l secure, he would never bel ieve in the s t a b i l i t y of l i f e or forget what .depths of pain l i e beneath small happiness" C4 21). Rather than l i v i n g in agony, buried a l i v e , he fee l s i t i s better to escape in death. Terence 21 f e e l s an e x q u i s i t e sense of peace as Rachel d i e s , f o r i f " t h i s was d e a t h — i t was nothing, i t was to cease to breathe, i t was happiness, i t was p e r f e c t happiness" (431). I t i s only when he sees the fragments of r e a l i t y , the cups and p l a t e s , t h a t he r e a l i z e s he i s alone, condemned to l i v e w h i l e 3 8 she "has outsoared the shadow of our n i g h t , " l e a v i n g him behind i n the " s t r i f e , and f r e t and a n x i e t y " (418). When the long n i g h t f i n a l l y ends, the morning l i g h t b rings no r e l i e f but a t e r r i b l e reminder t h a t l i f e goes on repeating the endless c y c l e of r e b i r t h . The f i r s t sounds heard at daybreak are " l i t t l e i n a r t i c u l a t e c r i e s , the c r i e s i t seemed of c h i l d r e n , or of the very poor, of people who were very weak or i n pain" (4 33). But as the darkness fades to a dim memory i n the i n c r e a s i n g l i g h t of day and "the sounds of l i f e become bolder and more f u l l of courage and a u t h o r i t y " (433) , people come together i n an e f f o r t to reassure them-selves t h a t " s u r e l y order d i d p r e v a i l " (439). Shaken by Rachel's sudden death, the guests at the h o t e l desperately t r y to f i n d an explanation f o r something so unexpected happening: "how could one go on i f there were no reason?" (436) To some, wearied by the "hard and l a b o u r i o u s " (434) demands of l i f e , there does not seem "to be much p o i n t i n i t a l l " (434) and y e t , "one went on, of course one went on" (434). I t i s only man's stubborn-courage which- forces him to look f o r some meaning i n l i f e i n s p i t e of h i s f e e l i n g s of f a i l u r e and f u t i l i t y . " ' I t ' s not cowardly to wish to l i v e . . . I t ' s the very reverse of cowardly'" (455). As Mrs. 22 Thornbury thinks back over her own experiences, try i n g to remember the good times amid "much suffering, much struggling" (439), death seems to her a sweet r e l i e f rather than tragedy, e s p e c i a l l y for young people: "they were saved so much; they kept so much" (439). But Mrs. Flushing who "had urged Rachel to come on the expedition" (437), cannot bear the thought that she i s somehow responsible f o r the young g i r l ' s death. Unwill-ing to submit to the "dark and nothingness" (438), she i s appalled by her f a i l u r e to defeat the forces of nature which annihilate man: "She was l i k e a wounded animal. She hated death; she was furious, outraged, indignant with death, as i f i t were a l i v i n g creature. She refused to re l i n q u i s h her friends to death" (4 38). Her emotional turmoil i s r e f l e c t e d i n the vio l e n t storm which suddenly envelops, the hotel, shrouding i t with darkness and s i l e n c i n g the nervous conversation of the guests i n a "clap of thunder" (450) . Moving quickly away from the windows where they could see the trees and flowers l y i n g exposed and vulnerable as the "lightening aimed straight at the garden every time" (450), the guests c l u s t e r under the "central skylight" (450) as i f seeking some warmth or comfort i n the l u r i d "yellow atmosphere" (450) . Rather than gaining any reassurance from each other, however, the i r faces look "white" and "strained" (451) as the crash of "something struck" (451) by the Tightening i s a grim reminder of Rachel and the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of death. 23 But with the passing of the storm, the r a i n , l i k e great tears, "seemed now to extinguish the lightening and the thunder" (451) and the guests turn with r e l i e f to t h e i r even-ing a c t i v i t i e s hoping that the companionship of others w i l l erase t h e i r memory of the darkness. Their aimless conversa-ti o n has no more d i r e c t i o n or meaning, however, than the frenzied f l i g h t of the moth over t h e i r heads. As i t dashes from lamp to lamp, drawn i r r e s i s t i b l y to the glowing promise of the l i g h t , those watching the "poor creature" (452) from below, f e e l i t would be "kinder to k i l l i t " (452) and end i t s misery. Yet no one moves, preferring to s i t and watch the moth destroy i t s e l f , for at that moment "they were comfort-able and had nothing to do" (452). To St. John H i r s t , coming suddenly into the "lamp-l i t room" (455) , aft e r the dark terr o r of the night, the contrast i s almost more than he can comprehend. Comforted by the warmth and companionship of what he now feels are "so many cheerful human beings" (456), he l e t s his thoughts of Terence and Rachel and the "long days of s t r a i n and horror" (456) s l i p away from him.. Half-asleep, St. John d r i f t s into a dreaming state where the harsh r e a l i t i e s of l i f e , the loneliness, suffering and fear, seem a thing of the past. Looking at the others with a " f e e l i n g of profound happiness" (456), he watches fascinated as "the movements and the voices seemed to draw together from d i f f e r e n t parts of the room, and to combine themselves into a pattern before his eyes" (456). 24 Grateful as the i l l u s i o n of order d u l l s the pain of r e a l i t y , St. John i s "content to s i t s i l e n t l y watching the pattern b u i l d i t s e l f up, looking at what he hardly saw" (456) . But as he relaxes for the moment, "half-asleep, and yet v i v i d l y conscious of everything around him" (458) , the r e f l e c t i o n of order shatters and the party disperses into the night, "a procession of objects, black and i n d i s t i n c t " (458). As St. John watches "the figures of people picking up'their books, th e i r cards, t h e i r b a l l s of wool, t h e i r work-baskets, and passing him one a f t e r another on t h e i r way to bed" (458), there i s a sense that t h i s i s the inevitable pattern of l i f e , that man, bound on the slowly turning wheel, must f i n d the courage to face the challenges of the day i n spite of his constant awareness of the oncoming night. 25 CHAPTER II DARK POOLS OF IMAGINATION NIGHT AND DAY After the strange and frightening journey of The Voyage Out which plunged her, l i k e Rachel, into the dark terrors of the submerged s e l f , V i r g i n i a Woolf suffered a 39 severe breakdown. Perhaps i n an attempt to restore her sense of balance and d i r e c t i o n i n a world where l i f e so often appeared to be merely "a l i t t l e s t r i p of pavement over an abyss" (AWD,29), she turned to the seemingly safe world of "facts" (AWD,18 9). Trying to reconcile the conscious and unconscious forces which she f e l t were r e f l e c t e d i n the day and night side of l i f e , Woolf explored i n her second novel, Night and Day, the "perpetual d i s p a r i t y between the thought and the action, between the l i f e of solitude and the l i f e of society, this astonishing precipice on one side of which the soul was active and i n broad daylight, on the other side of 40 which i t was contemplative and dark as night." In spite of her awareness of the danger of s l i p p i n g over the precipice h e r s e l f — f o r when "one deals with people on a large scale and says what one thinks, how can one avoid melancholy?" (AWD,10) — h e r courage forced her to face the challenge: "I don't admit to being hopeless though: only the spectacle i s a profoundly strange one; and the current 26 answers don't do, one has to grope for a new one" (AWD,10). Her search for a new answer led her to attempt the t r a d i t i o n a l form of the novel of manners. Finding Night and Day the " l e a s t s a t i s f y i n g " of her novels, James Hafley feels there i s a serious 41 clash between the form and content. E. M. Forster c a l l s i t a "deliberate exercise i n classicism" i n which V i r g i n i a Woolf i s "using tools that don't belong to her" noting with some 4 2 s a t i s f a c t i o n that, "she has never touched them again." In r e a l i t y , although Night and Day appears to be a comedy of manners, rooted i n the conventions of romance, i t i s a black comedy of l i f e , the same that Woolf re-enacts i n every novel. The a r t i f i c i a l i t y of p l o t and structure only serves to underscore the a r t i f i c i a l i t y of s o c i a l l i f e where truth i s s a c r i f i c e d i n order to maintain the i l l u s i o n of harmony and beauty. I t i s a suffocating world i n which the i n d i v i d u a l must deny himself and his feelings i n an e f f o r t to survive; to wake from the dream i s to discover that the comic dance of l i f e i n society leads inevitably to darkness. At f i r s t the characters seem to step i n the s o c i a l l y acceptable patterns of courtship and romance, but the i l l u s i o n i s shattered and convention flouted as the dancers suddenly change partners and d i r e c t i o n . The appearance of order and t r a n q u i l i t y i n t h i s novel barely disguises an awareness of the e v i l and violence inherent i n the society that worships conformity. The action of the novel i s centred mainly on the comfortable Hilbery home and i n the attempts of Katharine Hilbery to escape from the suffocating conventions of her l i f e 27 where "the glorious past . . . intruded too much upon the present, and dwarfed i t " (33). The only c h i l d , Katharine l i v e s a sheltered and often lonely existence, so i s o l a t e d from the r e a l i t i e s of the world outside that, "she very nearly l o s t consciousness that she was a separate being, with a future of her own" (115). In the s t i f l i n g security of her home, i t seems as i f she i s submerged beneath the sea, imprisoned i n "a grotto i n a cave" (7) where, "the booming sound of t r a f f i c i n the distance suggested the sof t surge of waters" (7). Buried a l i v e i n a house which has become a shrine to her ancestors, Katharine's existence often appears to her as l i f e l e s s as the r e l i c s which surround her. Bound by a sense of duty to help her mother write the " L i f e " of her famous grandfather, Richard Alardyce, she i s dismayed by the f u t i l i t y of her own l i f e which seems to be submerged i n a "deep pool of past time" (114). At times, barely able to contain her "rage" and "anger" (117), Katharine rebels against "the unfairness of the claim which her mother made to her time and sympathy" (117), retreating to the even greater i s o l a t i o n of her own room where she t r i e s to lose herself i n dreams and "the nothingness of night" (106) . When Ralph Denham f i r s t meets Katharine, she seems so remote from r e a l i t y that he i s f i l l e d with a desire to "say something abrupt and explosive, which should shock her into l i f e " (6). Burdened himself with family r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s that he cannot ignore, Ralph i s scornful of Katharine's inexperi-ence, cert a i n that she w i l l "never know anything at f i r s t hand" 28 (12) as long as she remains, l i k e a princess i n her tower, separated from l i f e by "a maze of diamond-glittering spider's webs" (15). I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s he who spins f a i r y t a l e s to colour the " i n f i n i t e dreariness and sordidness" (27) of his existence. When he discovers that, despite his daydreams, Katharine i s engaged to William Rodney, he i s unreasonably enraged, fe e l i n g that she has deliberately deceived him with her innocence, " l e t him see her as a c h i l d playing i n a meadow, shared his youth with him" (160). In despair as his i l l u s i o n s crumble, Ralph gazes into the future with horror contemplating a bleak world without Katharine, where "abysses seemed to plunge into darkness between them" (161). Unaware of Ralph's fantasies, Katharine begins her tentative journey out of the s t e r i l i t y of the room no longer able to accept the r e s t r i c t i o n s that hold her there. Having become engaged to Rodney " i n a desperate attempt to reconcile herself with the facts" (254)/ convinced that "a pe r f e c t l y loveless marriage was what one did i n real l i f e " (108) , she gradually r e a l i z e s that the engagement i s a "farce" (257). In submitting to the pressures of society she has been treach-erous to herself and Rodney. Appalled at her dishonesty, she t e l l s Rodney the truth, c e r t a i n "that not to care i s the uttermost s i n of a l l " (255). As the walls of her conventional world begin to disintegrate, Katharine sees her fear and con-fusion r e f l e c t e d i n the "lightening-splintered ash-tree" (254) standing before her, while the garden of her youth has become a v i s i o n of the wasteland "where the bracken was brown and 29 s h r i v e l l e d " (256). For a moment as her courage f a l t e r s , Katharine feels that she and Rodney are " l i k e the children i n the f a i r y - t a l e who were l o s t i n a wood" (256) and, i n an e f f o r t to return to the comfort and security of her innocent world, she decides to submit to convention and "try to make [him] happy" (25 9) . However, as she gazes at the "horned s k u l l s , sallow globes, cracked o i l - p a i n t i n g s and stuffed owls" (205) i n the hallway of her uncle's "dilapidated mansion" (206), she seems to see for the f i r s t time that they are only the empty husks and meaningless r e l i c s of l i f e . They become an image of what her existence w i l l be i f she remains i s o l a t e d , closing the door upon r e a l i t y "as i f i t were a thousand doors s o f t l y exclud-ing the world" (149). Unless she makes the e f f o r t to l i v e her own l i f e as an independent person, Katharine sees herself becoming a r e f l e c t i o n of her cousin Euphemia, who " i n the prime of her l i f e was being rapidly consumed by her father" (217). Like Creon's, his re l e n t l e s s egotism i s draining his daughter's v i t a l i t y u n t i l her "cheeks were whitening" (217) and she has " l i t t l e of substance" (217) remaining. More f e a r f u l now of remaining i n the room rather than leaving i t , nevertheless, Katharine finds the voyage out a t e r r i f y i n g experience. Realizing that she i s r e a l l y i n love with Ralph, she i s suddenly shaken by the r i s k of caring so much for another: "to a person controlled by habit, there was humiliation as well as alarm i n t h i s sudden release of what appeared to be a very powerful as well as unreasonable 30 force" (468). Certain that she has l o s t him because of her indecision, she rushes i n panic and t e r r o r through the dark streets of London looking for him as i f she were trapped i n a nightmare: "never since she was a c h i l d , had she f e l t any-thing l i k e t h i s blankness and desolation" (468). In her determination to l i v e she r e s i s t s the tyranny of convention, f i n a l l y aware of the prison of her existence. Opposing her father for the f i r s t time i n her l i f e , Katharine "looked for a moment l i k e a wild-animal caged i n a c i v i l i z e d dwelling place" (505) making Mr. Hilbery f e e l that " c i v i l i z a -t i o n had been very profoundly and unpleasantly overthrown" (595). With his orderly, conventional world " i n a state of revolution" (505), her father suddenly has a f e a r f u l " v i s i o n of unpleasant encounters on the staircase; his meals would be poisoned for days to come" (505). Only Mrs. Hilbery,croon-ing the magic word "love" l i k e a wise Fairy Godmother, can restore the i l l u s i o n of order again, " r i v e t i n g together the shattered fragments of the world" (512). In a desperate e f f o r t to ignore the dark uncertain-t i e s outside, Katharine, l i k e a c h i l d , i s momentarily l u l l e d by her mother's bed-time story. But the happy ending of the "ancient f a i r y - t a l e " (512) seems a sudden reminder to the g i r l of the r e a l terrors of the journey into the world of experi-ence where the future lay ahead, "unwritten" (537): " I t was l i f e , i t was death. The great sea around us. I t was the voyage for ever and ever" (512). S t a r t l e d out of her dream of love, Katharine feels that she i s looking into the dark 31 "abyss" able to see into the very "depth of disillusionment" (513) and discern what i s lurking there. She r e a l i z e s that t h i s uncertainty, "the horror of changing from one state to the other, being happy one moment and miserable the next" (513), i s what makes believing her mother's story so dangerous; what i f t h e i r love "came to an end suddenly—gave o u t — f a d e d — an i l l u s i o n ? " (513) Mrs. Hilbery's insistence that one must have " f a i t h in [the] v i s i o n " (513) of love, echoes Ralph's conviction that " i f l i f e .were no longer c i r c l e d by an i l l u s i o n . . . then l i f e would be too dismal an a f f a i r to carry to an end" (516). I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s Ralph who feels confident that he has recon-c i l e d himself to the terrors of the r e a l world. As the eldest son i n a fatherless home, he has the burden of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y for the family resting on his shoulders. Although he accuses Katharine of hiding from l i f e , i t i s only by retreating to his shabby room at the top of the house that Ralph can gain any r e l i e f from r e a l i t y . Wearied by the i n s a t i a b l e demands of his mother and family, i t seems to him that ultimately a l l men are "doomed to misery i n the long run" (27). He suddenly r e a l i z e s the f u t i l i t y of t r y i n g to escape from l i f e through day-dreams, fe e l i n g c e r t a i n that "'we've a l l got to be s a c r i -f i c e d ; What's the use of denying i t ? What's the use of struggling against i t ? " ' (25) ~ As his v i s i o n of love f a i l s , Ralph feels that l i f e i s an endless torment where man i s doomed to "''just turn round i n the m i l l every day of our l i v e s u n t i l we drop and die, 32 worn out'" (25) . Convinced t h a t he has l o s t Katherine to Rodney, he " l e t the t i d e of d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t sweep through him" (162). As an image of the wasteland r i s e s before him i t seems t h a t , " a l l h i s l i f e was v i s i b l e , and the s t r a i g h t , meagre path had i t s ending soon enough" (16 2). B r u i s e d by h i s defeat, l i k e the o l d , t a t t e r e d tramp he meets, Ralph sees h i s f a i l u r e m irrored i n the " s w i f t race of dun-coloured waters" (163) of the r i v e r . R e f l e c t e d i n t h i s dark t i d e he sees the "very s p i r i t of f u t i l i t y and o b l i v i o n " (16 3) of l i f e , and he i s appal l e d by the need to t r y to make some sense i n a world where there i s nothing anyone can t r u s t : '"Not i n men and women. Not i n one's dreams about them. There's n o t h i n g — n o t h i n g , nothing l e f t at a l l 1 " ( 1 6 3 ) . Unable to bear the d e s o l a t i o n of a world without love, Ralph's f i r s t impulse i s to r e t r e a t from the demands of s o c i e t y t o a l i t t l e cottage i n the country where he can w r i t e about l i f e r a t h e r than confront i t . He seems remote and i s o l a t e d to Mary Dachet when she sees him alone on a London s t r e e t bench, l o o k i n g "as i f he were s i t t i n g i n h i s own room" (165). However, the s e c u r i t y of the room, "an a f f a i r of four w a l l s , whose objects e x i s t e d only w i t h i n the range of l i g h t s and f i r e s " (373), i s an i l l u s i o n . Having been exposed to the "arrows of sensation" (285), i t i s impossible f o r the i n d i v -i d u a l to deny those f e e l i n g s and s t i l l l i v e . To Ralph and Katharine, caught i n the " t e r r i b l e extremes" (407) of t h e i r emotions, t o r n asunder, f i r s t by love and then by f e a r , i t seems as i f they have plunged " i n 33 disorder . . . upon rocks" (407). T e r r i f i e d of Ralph's desire to possess her completely, there are moments when Katharine fears that i n sharing her esse n t i a l "loneliness" (521) with him, she has s a c r i f i c e d her own i n d i v i d u a l i t y . While for Ralph, although there are glorious calm s p e l l s when he feels in control of his l i f e , at other times, i n a storm of confu-sion and doubt, he has an image "of a lighthouse besieged by the f l y i n g bodies of l o s t birds, who were dashed senseless, by the gale, against the glass" (417). In his imagination i t seems to him that he "was both lighthouse and b i r d ; was stead-fast and b r i l l i a n t ; and at the same time he was whirled, with a l l the other things against the glass" (418). The image of l i g h t , which has created the sense of warmth and security of the daylight side of l i f e , now becomes an "opaque substance" (534) r e f l e c t i n g the uncertainties of the night, containing within i t s flaming depths the threat of destruction. As Ralph stands alone i n the darkness, i t appears that both Katharine and her house are "bathed i n that steady flow of yellow l i g h t " (419), and he i s being drawn toward them as i r r e s i s t i b l y as a moth or l o s t b i r d "by the splendor of the blaze" (419). To Katharine, suddenly seeing him "is o l a t e d i n the l i t t l e c i r c l e of l i g h t " (532) on the pavement, Ralph appears "to be blazing splendidly i n the night, but so obscure" (534) that he seems out of her reach. She feels that i n spite of t h e i r love, they may never penetrate that obscurity and r e a l l y know each other: "She might speak to him, but with that strange tremor i n his voice, those eyes b l i n d l y adoring, 34 whom d i d he answer? What woman d i d he see? And where was she walking, and who was her companion?" (537) Suddenly i t seems to Katharine so t e r r i b l y f r a g i l e , t h i s "globe which we spend our l i v e s i n t r y i n g to shape, round, whole, and e n t i r e from the confusion of the chaos" (533). Having l e f t the s e c u r i t y of the innocent world, the young couple c l i n g to each other i n an attempt to p r o t e c t t h e i r v i s i o n of a happy ending. For once the i l l u s i o n s h a t t e r s , a l l t h a t remains are only "moments, fragments, a second of v i s i o n , and then f l y i n g waters, the winds d i s s i p a t i n g and d i s s o l v i n g " (5 37). And to sink beneath the dark waters of the abyss i s to be faced w i t h the r e a l i t y of an exist e n c e where "a skeleton world and blankness alone remained-—a t e r r i b l e prospect f o r the eyes of the l i v i n g t o behold" (437). While Katharine and Ralph t r y to reassure themselves t h a t , "they were v i c t o r s , masters of l i f e " (535), i r o n i c a l l y , i t i s l i f e i t s e l f t h a t r e l e n t l e s s l y consumes them since they are "at the same time absorbed i n the flame, g i v i n g t h e i r l i f e to increase i t s b r i g h t n e s s " (535). As the f i n a l scene of the novel seems to s w e l l i n a hymn of p r a i s e to the c r e a t i v e power of lov e , the r i v e r , "which bore i t s dark t i d e of waters, e n d l e s s l y moving beneath them" (538), i s an ominous reminder to the young couple t h a t beyond the f a i r y - t a l e world of i l l u s i o n l i e s the dark wood of experience. 35 JACOB'S ROOM In Night and Day, V i r g i n i a Woolf t r i e d to s t i f l e the nightmare of the voyage out w i t h a v i s i o n of the warmth and compassion of l o v e , however f r a g i l e t h a t dream might be. But i n Jacob's Room, the i n d i v i d u a l i s never able to form a l a s t i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p and remains i s o l a t e d i n a world where "Nobody sees 4 3 any one as he i s . " As the images of v i o l e n c e i n the novel assume the measured r e s i g n a t i o n of an elegy, Jacob, i n h i s r e s t l e s s , f u t i l e quest f o r i d e n t i t y , becomes a symbol of modern man, doomed to wander through the desert of l i f e i n a hopeless search f o r meaning amid the r u i n s of the past. Lost b r i e f l y , as a c h i l d , when he runs away at the seashore, Jacob Flanders i s , i n r e a l i t y , l o s t f o r the r e s t of h i s l i f e , unable to f i n d any reason f o r l i v i n g . As h i s brother c a l l s Jacob's name, h i s voice expresses "an e x t r a -o r d i n a r y sadness" (7). I t sounds l i k e the cry of a l l men 44 who journey alone and h e l p l e s s i n the "stony rubbish" of the wasteland: "pure from a l l body, pure from a l l p a s s i o n , going out against the world, s o l i t a r y , unanswered, breaking ag a i n s t rocks — so i t sounded": (7) . In Mrs. Flanders we , hear an echo of what E l i o t i n The Waste Land c a l l s t h a t 45 "murmur of maternal lamentation." A young widow, " l o n e l y and unprotected" ( 6 ), she faces the harsh n e c e s s i t y of r a i s i n g three sons alone,appearing to her neighbours l i k e one of those poor creatures who must " s t r a y s o l i t a r y i n open f i e l d s , p i c k i n g up stones, gleaning a few golden straws" ( 6 ) . 36. Jacob, rebe l l i o u s and d i f f i c u l t to understand, i s his mother's greatest worry. He i s "so obstinate already" (9) and such a "naughty l i t t l e boy" (9), attempting to leave the security of the nursery i n spite of her e f f o r t s to control him. As he wanders alone, determined to explore the mysteries of the sea, Jacob finds i t a t e r r i f y i n g experience, however. Coming without warning upon an "enormous man and woman . . . stretched motionless" (7) l i k e two corpses i n the sand, the l i t t l e boy i s suddenly stricken with the knowledge that he i s l o s t . As he runs away from the horror of the "large red faces" (8) looking up at him, Jacob stumbles upon an "old sheep's s k u l l " (9) half-buried among the broken st i c k s and straw i n the sand. The lovers, l y i n g amid the wreckage of the sea, seem to r e f l e c t the f u t i l i t y of love i n a world where the f i n a l embrace i s death. In spite of man's re s t l e s s struggle to f i n d some reason for l i v i n g written i n the dust of the wasteland, he finds only bones, "clean, white, windswept, sand-rubbed" (9), which i n e v i t a b l y turn "to powder" (9). When Betty Flanders hears her son's voice mingle with the ringing of the church b e l l s i n the evening, i t seems to her that the two sounds "mixed l i f e and death i n e x t r i c a b l y " (14). The inevitable s p i r a l to the grave which man i s destined to follow, i s mirrored i n the pathetic world of the helpless crab, a prisoner, trapped i n the tiny sea of Jacob's p a i l . Alone and forsaken, "beaten to the earth" (12) l i k e the purple flower by the storms of nature, "the opal-shelled crab slowly c i r c l e d round the bottom, t r y i n g with i t s weakly legs 37 to climb the steep side; t r y i n g again and f a l l i n g back, and tr y i n g again and again" (12). Jacob sleeps through the storm, "profoundly unconscious" (12) i n his innocence of the price of experience embodied i n the grinning s k u l l , with i t s "big yellow teeth" (12), which l i e s at the foot of his bed. Having once been admitted to his room, however, the f a t a l image of the s k u l l remains with him for l i f e , appearing, at l a s t , l i k e a death's head carved i n wood above the door of his empty room i n London (176). As Jacob moves r e s t l e s s l y from room to room tryi n g "again and again," l i k e the crab, to f i n d some way to survive the agony of his disillusionment, i t i s obvious that death i s the only r e l i e f . F i n a l l y , the ghostly r e l i c s of his l i f e are a l l that remain of Jacob i n his empty, s i l e n t room, where l i k e a tomb, " l i s t l e s s i s the a i r . . . just swelling the curtain; the flowers i n the j a r s h i f t . One f i b r e i n the wicker arm-chair creaks, though no one s i t s there" (37). In an e f f o r t to protect himelf from the dark terrors of the quest, Jacob, l i k e a frenzied moth, t r i e s to f i n d some comfort r e f l e c -ted i n the glowing halo of l i g h t surrounding, f i r s t Cambridge, then London and f i n a l l y Greece. He arrives at Cambridge, ce r t a i n that he w i l l f i n d some g l i n t of understanding where the l i g h t of learning shines l i k e a beacon, "not only into the night but into the day" (30). However, with a growing sense of disillusionment, he r e a l i z e s that the flame which "burns steady even i n the wildest nights," i s only "a lantern under a tree" (30) where, lured, l i k e 38 himself, by the glowing promise, "every insect i n the forest creeps up to i t — a curious assembly, since though they scramble and swing and knock t h e i r heads against the glass, they seem to have no purpose—something senseless inspires them" (30). Neither the e x c i t i n g discussions with friends nor the melancholy beauty of Keats and Byron, can drown for Jacob, the sound of the "weakly creak and screech of brains rinsed i n cold water and wrung dry" i n the "sixpenny weeklies written by pale men" (33). Forced to face the fact that such a deso-late world i s "capable of e x i s t i n g " (33), Jacob r e a l i z e s , b i t t e r l y , that once "face a teacher with the image of the taught.and the mirror breaks" (40). With the shattering of his i l l u s i o n s at Cambridge, nature seems to echo his despair with the ominous f a l l of a tree l i k e an execution i n the dark wood, where "a t e r r i f y i n g v o l l e y of pistol-shots rings o u t — cracks sharply; rip p l e s s p r e a d — s i l e n c e laps smooth over sound. A t r e e — a tree has f a l l e n , a sort of death i n the forest" (30. This " f a t a l image" of the f a l l e n tree, i n f a c t , marks the death of Jacob's innocence. But with the r e s i l i e n t courage of youth, he i s " o f f " again, " c i r c l i n g higher and higher" (35) l i k e the g a i l y painted b u t t e r f l i e s who, i n t h e i r eagerness to f l y , overlook a world in which they feed on "bloody e n t r a i l s " (22) and s e t t l e to rest "on l i t t l e bones" or "beneath a ruin" (22). While t h i s sense of impending death spreads out to cover the land Jacob t r i e s to ignore i t by turning to the sea. However, even here, as he s a i l s along the coast of Cornwall with Tim Durrant, he i s 39 overwhelmed with the "pungent" scent of " v i o l e t s " (47) waft-ing across the water from "Land's End" (48) as i f coming from 46 the " f i e l d s of death." Turning to gaze at the "white cottages" (47), Jacob i s reassured, at f i r s t , by t h e i r "extra-ordinary look of calm, of sunny peace" (4 7) as they c l i n g to the c l i f f s above the sea, but suddenly he notices that "imperceptibly the cottage smoke droops, has the look of a mourning emblem, a f l a g f l o a t i n g i t s caress over a grave" (47). Once again overcome with a sense of the f u t i l i t y of the struggle, Jacob wonders why l i f e begins with such innocent hope only to be crushed by "overpowering sorrow" (47). For as man perceives that the pattern f i n a l l y leads to the i n e v i t -able darkness, l i f e becomes "but a procession of shadows, and God knows why i t i s that we embrace them so eagerly, and see them depart with such anguish, being shadows" (70). Disheartened once more, Jacob feels that i t i s useless to attempt to deny the r e a l i t y of th i s sorrow which l i e s at the heart of l i f e , for " i t i s brewed by the earth i t s e l f . I t comes from the houses on the coast. We s t a r t transparent, and then the cloud thickens. A l l history backs our pane of glass. To escape i s vain" (47). Preferring not to look too clo s e l y at t h i s dark image i n which the past becomes a meaningless record of f u t i l e r e p e t i t i o n , he moves toward the c i t y , hoping to f i n d some peace while "the lamps of London uphold the dark as upon the points of burning bayonets" (96). But, for Jacob, the elusive answer to the ri d d l e of l i f e seems to remain just out of reach i n the 40 darkness, "always impelling one to hum v i b r a t i n g , l i k e the hawk moth, at the mouth of the cavern of mystery" (72). Instead of bringing a sense of balance and order, the glowing c i r c l e of l i g h t above the c i t y seems to r e f l e c t the f i r e s of destruction, where man, the eternal Guy, his 47 "headpiece f i l l e d with straw," i s doomed to burn year a f t e r year. In an e f f o r t to maintain the i l l u s i o n of gaiety and hold back the "checkered darkness" (73), the i n d i v i d u a l , wearing his f o o l i s h cap l i k e " p i e r r o t " (75), becomes part of the endless masquerade b a l l . While beneath the f r a n t i c dancers, "sunk i n the earth, hollow drains l i n e d with yellow l i g h t " (65) spread out l i k e the c o i l s of a vast labyrinth carrying passengers through the underworld of the damned. The l i g h t on the narrow pavement above the abyss does not "carry far enough" (80) into the heart, of the shadows where, "voices, angry, l u s t f u l , despairing, passionate, were scarcely more than the voices of caged beasts at night" (80). In spite of the looming darkness, for Jacob, who "could not dance" (74), the masquerade i s impossible. I r o n i -c a l l y , although garlanded l i k e a "beautiful" (74) Dionysus with "paper flowers" and "glass grapes" (74), he i s unable to f i n d i n the i l l u s i o n of love any promise of l i f e . He seems so "unwordly" (69) to Clara Durrant, who loves him but lacks the courage to rebel against the conventions of society h e r s e l f . Finding his s i n c e r i t y "frightening" (70), a threat to her passive acceptance of the i l l u s i o n s , she remains a captive of l i f e , l i k e "a v i r g i n chained to a rock . . . e t e r n a l l y pouring 41 out tea" (122). Aware that i t i s impossible to communicate with Clara, although "of a l l women, Jacob honoured her most" (122), he turns for company to the l i t t l e p rostitutes of London. With them he finds physical release even while he i s repelled by the "indecency" (91) and the mindless passion of the "obscene thing" (91) done behind closed doors. This Jacob r e a l i z e s , i s one of l i f e ' s "insoluble" problems, that "beauty goes hand i n hand with stupidity" (81). I r o n i c a l l y , he r a t i o n a l i z e s that behind the s i m p l i c i t y of t h i s kind of love, there i s an honesty, "an i n v i o l a b l e f i d e l i t y " (9 3) that gives the relationships some meaning afte r a l l . Having been caught up i n the i l l u s i o n i n spite of himself, Jacob's f e e l -ing of betrayal when he sees Florinda with another man i s overwhelming. His face in the l i g h t of the street lamp looks "as i f a stone were ground to dust, as i f white sparks flew from a l i v i d whetstone" (9 3). A reminder of the b i t t e r truth of l i f e , Jacob's despair seems to be r e f l e c t e d by.the harsh s t e r i l i t y of the winter landscape where "clumps of withered grass stood out upon the h i l l top; the furze bushes were black, and now and then a black shiver crossed the snow as the wind drove f l u r r i e s of frozen p a r t i c l e s before i t . . . The sky was sull e n grey and the trees black iron . . . . The day had gone out" (97). B i t t e r l y d i s i l l u s i o n e d , Jacob decides to leave the darkness of England. S t i l l hopeful of finding a reason for l i v i n g , he turns to Greece and the wisdom of the past. However, 42 his r e s t l e s s wanderings do nothing but increase his feelings of i s o l a t i o n and loneliness. Overcome by "an intol e r a b l e weariness" (135), Jacob finds that the "Greek s p i r i t " (137) , so long the f a b r i c of his romantic imagination, now seems to be merely another i l l u s i o n . And yet, s t i l l r e s t l e s s l y search-ing for the beauty i n l i f e , he i s fascinated by the s u p e r f i c i a l loveliness of Sandra Wentworth Williams, overlooking the truth of her n a r c i s s i s t i c nature. Although to Sandra, Jacob seems as e a s i l y deceived "as a small boy" (169), she i s aware of "the seeds of extreme disillusionment" (158) i n him, which w i l l eventually force 48 him, l i k e "Alceste" (169), to see r e a l i t y as i t i s " i n skeleton outline, bare of f l e s h " (162). But when the aston-ishing g i f t for i l l u s i o n i s f i n a l l y l o s t and the violence of l i f e overwhelms Jacob, there i s only one action possible and that i s to die; "to surrender to the dark waters which lap around us" (137) i n the midst of "the ebb and flow of the tide of l i f e " (AWD,15). When the voyage out i n search of the s e l f f a i l s to reach the shores of understanding, the i n d i v i d u a l i s pulled r e l e n t l e s s l y into the vortex of loneliness and i s o l a t i o n u n t i l , l i k e the "dozen young men i n the prime of l i f e , " who "descend . . . into the depths of the sea" (155), he dies. Thus, with Jacob gone and his room an empty s h e l l , the novel ends where i t began, i n the wasteland. A l l that remains are the l i f e l e s s r e l i c s of Jacob's dreams; love l e t t e r s and books of poetry, and his "old shoes" (176) looking " l i k e 43 boats burnt to the water's rim" (37), l e f t on the beach by the receding t i d e . His f r i e n d , Bonamy, sorting through Jacob's possessions feels that t h i s l a s t i l l u s i o n i s the ultimate irony: "did he think he would come back?" (176) But Jacob i s dead, a vic t i m of l i f e as the "darkness drops l i k e a knife over Greece" (175), and the quest has come f u l l c i r c l e ending as i t started with man l o s t i n the wilderness and "such confusion everywhere" (176). A l l that can be heard as the novel ends, i s a "harsh and unhappy voice" crying "something u n i n t e l l i g i b l e " (176)—the name—perhaps of someone with whom to share the loneliness and terro r of the journey. MRS. DALLOWAY The images of violence i n Mrs. Dalloway once again create an impression of existence as a l i v i n g death where the i n d i v i d u a l , enslaved by convention, i s no longer able to communicate with others. In an attempt to ease the pain of t h i s i s o l a t i o n i t i s e s s e n t i a l to ignore the bleak r e a l i t y and accept the i l l u s i o n s of society for the truth. As the novel indicates, to sink beneath the surface and gaze upon 49 the awful void, i s to f a l l "down into flames" l i k e Septimus, and be forced either to accept that nothing i s there or to go mad. C l a r i s s a Dalloway, the central figure i n the novel, i s seen during the course of one day moving through the fashionable streets of London and the cool, shining rooms of her house, outwardly composed and serene. 44 Although claiming to be exhilarated and sustained by "waves of that divine v i t a l i t y " (13) which she sees r e f l e c t e d "here, now, i n front of her" (16), i n r e a l i t y the demands of l i f e often t e r r i f y C l a r i s s a , giving her a sense of being "far out to sea and alone" (15). In a v a l i a n t e f f o r t to bridge the dark abyss where "death ended absolutely" (16), a l l her beauty and creative energy i s spent maintaining the kind of world i n which she feels secure. Her home and servants, her family and friends, a l l are brought together and c a r e f u l l y interwoven i n order to create the exquisite f a b r i c of her p a r t i e s . They are her "of f e r i n g " (184) to l i f e , an attempt to achieve order and balance so that she can ignore the chaos which threatens to engulf her. Whenever the truth endangers her security, making i t "wobble" (90), she retreats, l i k e Katharine Hilbery, to the cold, v a u l t - l i k e s t e r i l i t y of her room. T e r r i f i e d of dying, her existence becomes a l i v i n g death, an emotional suicide, which i s mirrored i n the actual suicide of Septimus Smith. Driven mad by the awful r e a l i t y of l i f e which C l a r i s s a t r i e s to ignore, Septimus f l i n g s himself to his death, impaling himself upon the iron r a i l i n g s of the fence, a symbol of separation and imprisonment. I r o n i c a l l y , C l a r i s s a hears about Septimus during her party, her celebra-ti o n of l i f e . The i n i t i a l shock and dismay she feels forces her to leave her guests and withdraw to the bare, l i t t l e room where she r e l i v e s his death i n her imagaination. Forced to accept the fact that death l i e s at the heart of her party, 45 C l a r i s s a begins to see that, death rather than being destruc-t i v e , i s the ultimate creative act. With an almost orgasmic pleasure, she imagines the climax of death as an exquisite embrace and dying i t s e l f as a triumphant v i c t o r y over the ter r o r of l i f e . Having spent her childhood i n the comfortable, sheltered environment of Bourton, i s o l a t e d from the facts of l i f e by her aunt, C l a r i s s a i s at f i r s t excited by the a r r i v a l of S a l l y Seton and Peter Walsh i n her world. Although fas-cinated by t h e i r f i e r y , a l l night discussions about the problems of l i f e , she never allows facts to take the place of her daydreams, caring "much more for her roses than the Armenians" (182). Loving to dance and ride as a g i r l , C l a r i s s a feels that l i f e i s an exhi l a r a t i n g adventure i f only one has the courage to take the "plunge" (7). However, as she stands safely inside Bourton looking through the window, she has an intimation of the dangers of the voyage out. Sensing that there i s something " c h i l l and sharp" (7) beneath the "kiss of the wave" (7), she has a solemn f e e l i n g "that something awful was about to happen" (7). Turning away from t h i s disturbing v i s i o n outside, C l a r i s s a i s outraged when Sa l l y and Peter i n s i s t on bringing the sordid d e t a i l s of l i f e into her pa r t i e s . Choosing the safety of the shore rather than brave the uncertainties of the impetuous sea, she rejects Peter Walsh who "made her see herself" (252) and, instead, marries dependable Richard Dalloway with his love for "horses and dogs" (114). With his 46 help she finds the protection from r e a l i t y that she needs and her home becomes a sanctuary from the f r e t outside. Her l i f e seems a shining mirror where, l i k e Narcissus, she gazes enrap-tured by the endless r e f l e c t i o n of order, becoming both s u p p l i -cant and i d o l , "blessed and p u r i f i e d " (45) i n her i s o l a t i o n l i k e "a nun who has l e f t the world" (45). The house, "cool as a vault" (45) and remote from the bustle of the street, becomes the magic tower of her c h i l d -hood where alone, sheltered from the harsh l i g h t of the sun, she can barely hear the "thin and c h i l l " (72) sounds of l i f e i n the distance. But i n the c a r e f u l l y polished c r y s t a l and s i l v e r of her home, C l a r i s s a Dalloway, l i k e the Lady of Shallot, sees only the pale r e f l e c t i o n of l i f e . I t i s a b r i t t l e image e a s i l y shattered whenever the violent world, with i t s "brutal monsters" (20) the Lady Brutons and Miss Kilmans who refuse to be ignored, looms l i k e "those spectres with which one battles i n the night" (20). At moments l i k e these, C l a r i s s a i s forced to recognize the terrors that l i e beneath the g l i t t e r i n g sur-face of her world, fe e l i n g as threatened "as a plant on a r i v e r bed feels the shock of a passing oar and shivers: so she rocked: so she shivered" (42). With her confidence shaken, she sees herself suddenly " s h r i v e l l e d , aged and breastless" (48), conscious that i n r e a l i t y there i s a dreadful "emptiness about the heart of l i f e " (48). Reminded once again of the "leaden c i r c l e s " (9) of time that draw us a l l , i n evitably, into the grave, C l a r i s s a , i n 47' spite of her e f f o r t s to maintain the i l l u s i o n of "gaiety" (72), finds herself l e f t alone to stand "a single figure against the appalling night" (47) . As she turns for comfort to the safety of her l i g h t e d a t t i c room, i t becomes an image of the tomb with candles "half burnt down" (48) and the cold, white sheets " t i g h t stretched" (4 8) where, l i k e Antigone, she must f i n a l l y l i e while "narrower and narrower would her bed be" (48). Although she has "always had the f e e l i n g that i t was very, very dangerous to l i v e even one day" (15) , C l a r i s s a i s sadly aware that i n marrying Richard Dalloway without r e a l l y loving him "she had f a i l e d him" (49). "Turned almost white" (49) since her i l l n e s s , which has, i r o n i c a l l y , affected her heart, she seems increasingly to embody death within her "cold s p i r i t " (49). Intent on preserving her s o c i a l image, she gazes into the looking glass t r y i n g to see i n her r e f l e c t i o n "one centre, one diamond . . . a radiancy no doubt i n some d u l l l i v e s , a refuge for the lonely to come to" (57), so that she i s able to ignore the "sudden spasm" (57) and the grip of "the i c y claws" (57) which threaten to tear o f f the mask and reveal " a l l the other sides of h e r — f a u l t s , jealousies, v a n i t i e s , suspicions" (58). Refusing to look at l i f e , C l a r i s s a becomes i t s b r i t t l e r e f l e c t i o n , threatening slowly to "turn to glass" (244) as her aunt has and "die l i k e some b i r d i n a f r o s t gripping her perch" (244). It i s t h i s c h i l l denial of l i f e , "the death of her soul" (91), that Peter r e l e n t l e s s l y opposes, opening and 48 shutting his knife as i f subconsciously t r y i n g to cut through her "impenetrability" (9 3) to some hidden warmth beneath. But i n t h e i r f i n a l , t e r r i b l e quarrel i n the garden at Bourton, he r e a l i z e s , as she remains "contracted, p e t r i f i e d " (98), that " i t ' s no use. This i s the end" (98). I r o n i c a l l y , i n spite of his desire to f i l l her l i f e with meaning, Peter i s equally g u i l t y of hiding from r e a l i t y . An incurable romantic, he spends his l i f e chasing an elusive dream of the perfect love. The broken fountain i n the garden of t h e i r youth, "dri b b l i n g water incessantly" (98), becomes a symbol of both C l a r i s s a ' s and Peter's wasted p o t e n t i a l . Preferring the i l l u s i o n to r e a l i t y , Peter "had never done a thing that they talked of; his whole l i f e had been a f a i l u r e " (14), while C l a r i s s a s p i l l s her "divine v i t a l i t y " (13) i n an e f f o r t to create a fantasy world where she can l i v e l i k e a princess "surrounded by an enchanted garden" (28 7). Her party, which l i e s at the heart of the novel, i s C l a r i s s a ' s " o f f e r i n g " (184) to l i f e and her attempt to "kindle and illuminate" (10) the darkness which i s just beyond the "few f a i r y lamps" (287) i n the garden. Determined to make the i l l u s i o n seem r e a l , she uses her power "to combine, to create" (184) the order and permanence of "a world of her own" (116) where a l l could see "how unbelievable death was!" (185) But the noise and "roar of voices" (25 8) f a i l s to drown out the sound of the clock s t r i k i n g the hours and, as the "leaden c i r c l e s dissolved i n the a i r " (281), C l a r i s s a faces the hollow-ness of f a i l u r e . Sensing that Peter finds her "at her worst" 49 (252), she i s overcome with anguish aware that having once exposed herself to the heat of his scorn was to "seek pinnacles and stand drenched i n f i r e " (252). With her " g i f t " rejected she r e a l i z e s b i t t e r l y that, " l i f e was t h a t — h u m i l i a t i o n , renunciation" (253). However, i t i s through S i r William Bradshaw, the "great doctor" (278), that death f i n a l l y comes to C l a r i s s a ' s party. Listening to him talk about the suicide of Septimus Smith, she knows that there i s something "obscurely e v i l " (278) about S i r William with his devotion to "Proportion" and "Conversion" (151), that makes him "capable of some indescrib-able outrage" (278). To C l a r i s s a he i s a reminder of the "odious Kilman" (20) who, l i k e some spectre, wants to "stand astride us and suck up half our l i f e - b l o o d " (20). Despising the i n d i v i d u a l who does not conform, Dr. Bradshaw rut h l e s s l y crushes him: "he swooped, he devoured. He shut people up" (15 4). Once the Bradshaws have dared "to talk of death at her party" (2 77), C l a r i s s a leaves her guests and i n the privacy of the l i t t l e room, r e l i v e s i n her imagination the e x c i t i n g r e a l i t y of the act of death: He had k i l l e d h i m s e l f — b u t how? Always her body went through i t , when she was t o l d , f i r s t , suddenly, of an accident; her dress flamed, her body burnt. He had thrown him-s e l f from a window. Up had flashed the ground; through him, blundering, bruising, went the rusty spikes. There he lay with a thud, thud, thud i n h i s brain, and then a suffocation of blackness. So she saw i t . But why had he done i t ? (277) 50 Identifying with Septimus Smith, C l a r i s s a Dalloway sees the wasteland of her own l i f e r e f l e c t e d i n the demonic landscape of hi s madness. Septimus, i n an e f f o r t to escape the agony of memory, t r i e s to convince himself that he feels no pain over the death of hi s f r i e n d , Evans, k i l l e d during the war. But as the inescapable truth threatens to plunge him "into the flames" (102) of destruction, he i s shaken by "sudden thunderclaps of fear" (132), r e a l i z i n g that by denying r e a l i t y he i s g u i l t y of "the s i n for which human nature had condemned him to death; that he did not f e e l " (138). In his dreadful i s o l a t i o n , "alone, exposed on t h i s bleak eminence" (219) , Septimus i s shut o f f from l i f e and seems to be looking out l i k e C l a r i s s a from "behind a pane of glass" (219). T e r r i f i e d of exposing himself to the anguish of his feelings, Septimus loses contact with r e a l i t y u n t i l i t seems to him as "he looked at people outside," that they seemed happy, "but he could not taste, he could not f e e l " (133). In his delirium, he descends into the demonic world of the Inferno convinced that, "once you f a l l " (148), you become the victim of a re l e n t l e s s society: "They scour the desert, they f l y screaming into the wilderness. The rack and the thumbscrew are applied. Human nature i s remorseless" (148). Lost i n t h i s i n f e r n a l region, where seas of neither f i r e nor water can redeem him, Septimus feels that he i s the " l a s t r e l i c who gazed back at the inhabited regions, who lay l i k e a drowned s a i l o r , on the shore of the world" (140). 51 Having married Rezia i n a moment of ter r o r at being alone, Septimus i s cer t a i n that, because of the unforgivable sin of not loving, he i s now "so pocked and marked with vice that women shuddered when they saw him i n the street" (138). As his feelings of g u i l t increase, he decides to o f f e r his l i f e as a s a c r i f i c e , to become "the scapegoat, the eternal sufferer" (40) , i n an e f f o r t to renew society. However, i n his moments of c l a r i t y he sees the world as a madhouse where " b r u t a l i t y blared out on placards; men were trapped i n mines; women burnt a l i v e " (136), and he i s suddenly aware that we are a l l madmen tormenting one another; "a maimed f i l e of lunatics being exercised or displayed for the diversion of the populace" (136). Unable to bear t h i s v i s i o n of r e a l i t y , Septimus retreats again into delusion, seeing himself as an oracle possessing a l l the secrets of l i f e and, f i n a l l y , becoming one with nature so that "his body was macerated u n t i l only the nerve f i b r e s were l e f t . I t was spread l i k e a v e i l upon a rock . . . The very earth t h r i l l e d beneath him. Red flowers grew through his f l e s h " (104). But the message he gives to society makes no more sense than the old woman babbling l i k e "an ancient spring from the earth" (123) as 50 i f drunk with mephitic vapours. F i n a l l y , no longer able to endure a world where those who profess to be the guardians of society, l i k e Bradshaw and Holmes, destroy rather than protect man, Septimus turns his back on "human nature . . . the repulsive brute, with blood red n o s t r i l s " (140), and leaping through the window which has separated him from r e a l i t y , he of f e r s himself to death. At l a s t C l a r i s s a understands that his death i s a s a c r i f i c e of love, an o f f e r i n g to l i f e . He has triumphed over the tyranny of "human cruelty" which "tears us to pieces" (212), destroying i n d i v i d u a l i t y and making l i f e i n t o l e r a b l e . To give oneself to death and become a part of the endless "ebb and flow of things" (16) she r e a l i z e s , i s a creative act of courage and, l i k e her parties, an e f f o r t "to combine . . to bring together" (185) a l l the r i c h variety of l i f e . No longer a f r a i d of dying, C l a r i s s a i s comforted by the sight of the old lady i n the room opposite putting out the l i g h t , aware at l a s t that "Death was a defiance. Death was an attempt to communicate . . . There was an embrace i n death" (280) . Although her s a c r i f i c e i s to go on l i v i n g , o f f e r i n g her g i f t to others, C l a r i s s a no longer fears "the heat of the sun" (280) and the inevitable passing of time which turns a l l to dust. F i n a l l y able to face the scorching l i g h t of r e a l i t y without f l i n c h i n g , she r e a l i z e s that i t i s the challenge of l i v i n g "even one day" (15) which gives one the courage to go on with the struggle: "Kilman her enemy. That was s a t i s f y i n g ; That was r e a l . . . She hated her: She loved her. I t was enemies one wanted, not friends" (263) . In choosing to l i v e with the knowledge of death's ultimate victory, she feels i t i s possible to restore order and mean-ing to the i l l u s i o n which "obscured her own l i f e . . . i n corruption, l i e s , chatter" (277). As "the clock began s t r i k i n g (280), C l a r i s s a i s aware, l i k e Septimus, that i t i s t h i s acceptance of death which makes l i f e t o l e r a b l e : "She f e l t somehow very l i k e him—the young man who had k i l l e d himself. She f e l t glad that he had done i t " (281). But she f e l t that she "must go back" (281) to the party, the necessary i l l u s i o n which makes bearable the "long, long voyage of l i f e " (245). TO THE LIGHTHOUSE Although i n Mrs. Dalloway, C l a r i s s a must "go back" to the endless creative process, i n TO The Lighthouse the party i s over long before the story has finished. With the unexpected death of Mrs. Ramsay, whose " g i f t " has seemed to o f f e r a beacon of warmth and security for those engaged on the voyage out, the novel plunges into the darkness and confusion of the night. 51 Having l o s t the glowing "torch of her beauty," with which "barbarity was tamed, the reign of chaos subdued" (74), Mrs. Ramsay's family and friends are no longer able to ignore the fact that l i f e i s harsh and "uncompromising" (11) and death, the ultimate v i c t o r . In an attempt to restore some di r e c t i o n and order to the lonely confusion of t h e i r l i v e s , Mr. Ramsay and his two youngest children f i n a l l y make the long delayed t r i p to the lighthouse. Resenting t h e i r father for having imposed his w i l l upon them and destroyed t h e i r childhood with his i n s a t i a b l e demands for "sympathy" (225), James and Cam f e e l i t i s too late for the expedition to have any meaning for them. Sensing t h e i r reluctance to go with him, Mr. Ramsay i s suddenly enraged that they "are not ready" (218), and for a moment wonders him-s e l f , "what's the use of going now?" (218) Lef t behind on the shore, the a r t i s t s L i l y Briscoe and Augustus Carmichael, stand on the c l i f f s above the sea try i n g to give some meaning to the quest as Mr. Ramsay and his children are "swallowed up i n that blue, that distance" (284) while a "great s c r o l l of smoke" (2 80) from a vanished ship "drooped l i k e a f l a g mourn-f u l l y i n v a l e d i c t i o n " (280) above them. But even a f t e r ten years, L i l y ' s picture i s s t i l l a blur, an ambiguous " c r i s s -52 cross" of l i n e s and shadows which no one w i l l ever bother to look at. Beside her, the inscrutable Carmichael, reconciled to the fact that a l l must "pass and vanish" (267), seems to be dropping "a wreath of v i o l e t s and asphodels" (309) upon 53 the earth i n a s i l e n t t r i b u t e to death. In her obedience to the conventions of her society which i n s i s t s that, for a woman, marriage and children are the only f u l f i l l m e n t , Mrs. Ramsay, the mother of eight, assumes the image of a f e r t i l i t y godess, re l e n t l e s s i n her dedication to the endless process of renewal. Driven by "this mania of hers for marriage" (261) which she feels i s a l l that gives l i f e any p o s s i b i l i t y of permanence, Mrs. Ramsay ru t h l e s s l y manipulates the l i v e s of those around her. B l i t h e l y d i s -regarding t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l i t y , she bends and shapes people to her w i l l as i f they were inanimate patches of paint on L i l y * canvas: "clods with no l i f e i n them now, yet she vowed, she would in s p i r e them, force them to move, flow, do her bidding" (76). Seemingly unconcerned with the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y inherent 55 i n her tremendous capacity to inspire others, Mrs. Ramsay holds t h e i r l i v e s i n her hands, moulding them to f i t her v i s i o n as i f they were merely an old pa i r of gloves that she wears. L i l y Briscoe, disturbed by Mrs. Ramsay's insistence that "an unmarried woman missed the best i n l i f e " (77), i s aware that her in s a t i a b l e desire to " a d r o i t l y shape; even maliciously twist" (76) other people's l i v e s , i s "the glove's twisted finger" (78). Having "only escaped by the skin of her teeth" (262), L i l y becomes somewhat h y s t e r i c a l at the thought of Mrs. Ramsay "presiding with immutable calm over destinies she completely f a i l e d to understand" (78). It i s with th i s w i l l f u l lack of understanding that Mrs. Ramsay encourages Paul Rayley i n his courtship of Minta Doyle, ignoring the basic incompatibility which f i n a l l y turns t h e i r marriage into a disaster. Asking Minta to marry him i s , for Paul, the "worst moment of his l i f e " (118), but, i r o n i c a l l y , he i s grateful to Mrs. Ramsay for she i s "the one who made him do i t " (119), encouraging him to f e e l that he has the power to "do what ever he wanted" (119) . However, as he comes out of the darkness returning to Mrs. Ramsay and the house " a l l l i t up" (119) l i k e the lighthouse, he seems l i k e a moth drawn i r r e s i s t i b l y into the f a t a l flame. Dazed by the " l i g h t s , l i g h t s , l i g h t s " (119), Paul ignores the "appalling experience he had been through" (118) blinded instead by his v i s i o n of the future: "his marriage, his children, his house" (118). The "astonishing power that Mrs. Ramsay had over one" (262), l i k e the beacon of l i g h t with i t s intermittent 56. strokes, promising safety one moment and then disappearing into the depths of the night the next, i s "frightening" (152) to L i l y , for she always "got her own way in the end" (152) . With mixed feelings of fear and adoration, L i l y watches Mrs. Ramsay "put a s p e l l on them a l l " (15 2) u n t i l i t seems she i s leading them l i k e "victims" to be s a c r i f i c e d on the " a l t a r " (152) of convention i n an attempt to appease the appetite of a rapacious society. Although Mrs. Ramsay appears driven by an i n s a t i a b l e need to impose a sense of order or pattern on the l i v e s of others, "wishing to dominate, wishing to i n t e r f e r e , making people do what she wished" (88), whenever she allows herself to glimpse "the inadequacy of human relationships" (62) she i s reminded of the ultimate f u t i l i t y of her e f f o r t s . Aware that even the "most perfect" marriage was "flawed" (62) , her f e e l -ings are p a i n f u l l y ambiguous: "two emotions were c a l l e d up i n her, one profound—for what could be more serious than the love of man for woman, what more commanding, more impressive, bearing i n i t s bosom the seeds of death; at the same time these lovers, these people entering into i l l u s i o n , g l i t t e r i n g eyed, must be danced around with mockery, decorated with gar-lands." (151). Mrs. Ramsay's desire to create a sense of permanence i s roused most deeply, however, by the need to s h i e l d her family from the harsh r e a l i t i e s of l i f e . Looking at her two youngest children, James and Cam, she yearns for them to remain innocent forever, "netted i n t h e i r cots" (91) so that they w i l l never have to "grow up and lose i t a l l " (91). In spite of her longing to protect them, Mrs. Ramsay r e a l i z e s that l i f e i s a d i f f i c u l t and uncompromising journey we a l l must make alone: She took a look at l i f e , for she had a clear sense of i t there, something r e a l , something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband. A sort of transaction went on between them, i n which she was on one side, and l i f e was on another, and she was always t r y i n g to get the better of i t , as i t was of her . . . but for the most part, oddly enough, she must admit that she f e l t t h i s thing she c a l l e d l i f e t e r r i b l e , h o s t i l e , and quick to pounce on you i f you gave i t a chance. . . . And yet she had said to a l l these children, You s h a l l go through i t a l l . . . . For that reason, knowing what was before them—love and ambition and being wretched alone i n dreary p l a c e s — s h e often had the fe e l i n g , Why must they grow up and lose i t a l l ? And then she said to herself, brandishing her sword at l i f e , Nonsense. They w i l l be pe r f e c t l y happy. (92) Determined to hold back the dark truth and maintain the i l l u s i o n of a happy ending, Mrs. Ramsay croons a f a i r y - t a l e to James i n an e f f o r t to d i s t r a c t him from the threatening storms which w i l l prevent him from reaching the lighthouse a f t e r a l l . And yet, she i s dismayed at herself for having "raised his hopes" (173), aware that he w i l l remember his disappointment " a l l his l i f e " (95). But when Cam i s unable to sleep, t e r r i f i e d of the boar's s k u l l which James i n s i s t s on hanging on the bedroom wall, Mrs. Ramsay p e r s i s t s i n the fantasy, transforming i t with her shawl into an imaginary world of beautiful mountains and valleys where i t seems possible to l i v e happily for ever and ever. She has created a v i s i o n of an innocent garden where i t i s possible for Cam to take refuge from r e a l i t y even on the 58 f i n a l t r i p to the lighthouse when, looking back at the land, a l l she can see i s "a pale blue censer swinging rhythmically t h i s way and that across her mind. I t was a hanging garden; i t was a valley, f u l l of birds, and flowers, and antelopes" (303). However, Mrs. Ramsay reassures James "who could not sleep without a l i g h t " (172), that the s k u l l i s s t i l l there 54 behind the shawl. To Mr. Ramsay, his wife's dishonesty i s outrageous; "she flew i n the face of fac t s , made his children hope what was ut t e r l y out of the question, i n e f f e c t , t o l d l i e s " (50) . I n s i s t i n g that his family face r e a l i t y , Mr. Ramsay congratulates himself on his own i n t e g r i t y , f e e l i n g that, i n spite of great temptation, "he was incapable of untruth" (10). Uncompromising when i t comes to destroying the i l l u s i o n s of others, he appalls Mrs. Ramsay with his vio l e n t disregard for her desire to create a haven "immune from change" (158) for her loved ones. Having dedicated herself to hiding the " s i n i s t e r " (92) aspects of l i f e from her family, she feels that: To pursue truth with such astonishing lack of consideration for other people's feelings, to rend the thin v e i l s of c i v i l i s a t i o n so wantonly, so b r u t a l l y , was to her so h o r r i b l e an outrage of human decency that, without replying, dazed and blinded, she bent her head as i f to l e t the pe l t of jagged h a i l , the drench of d i r t y water, bespatter her unrebuked. (51) B l i t h e l y ignoring other people's fears, Mr. Ramsay t r i e s to convince himself that he has "courage, truth, and the power to endure" (11) l i f e without the i l l u s i o n s . While he 59 imagines himself standing alone on "some crag of rock" (55) facing the desolate truth "of human ignorance and human fate" (69), i n r e a l i t y , Mr. Ramsay i s aware that he has f a i l e d to do "the thing he might have done" (70). He r e a l i z e s , sadly, that his daydreams are "a disguise . . . the refuge of a man a f r a i d to own his own feelings" (70). "So brave a man i n thought" but "so timid i n l i f e " (70), Mr. Ramsay craves constant reassur-ance and praise from his wife, wanting "to be assured of his genius, f i r s t of a l l , and then to be taken within the c i r c l e of l i f e , warmed and soothed, to have his senses restored to him, his barrenness made f e r t i l e " (59). I n s i s t i n g that Mrs. Ramsay t e l l everyone else the truth, he forces her to hide i t from him; to t e l l him stories that soothe his fears u n t i l , l i k e James and Cam, he i s " f i l l e d with her words, l i k e a c h i l d who drops o f f s a t i s f i e d " (60). Exhausted by her tremendous e f f o r t to create an image of permanence and maintain the endless flow of l i f e l i k e a "fountain of white water" (34), Mrs. Ramsay i s drained of v i t a l i t y u n t i l there i s "scarcely a s h e l l of herself l e f t for her to know herself by" (60). But, sustained by the exquisite sense of power which accompanies the "rapture of successful creation" (61), she i s w i l l i n g to become l i f e ' s victim; s a c r i f i c i n g herself on the a l t a r of society's craving for i l l u s i o n . Her dinner party, l i k e C l a r i s s a Dalloway's " g i f t , " i s Mrs. Ramsay's ultimate creative e f f o r t i n defiance of the chaos outside. Adorned with jewels i n a nightly r i t u a l by her adoring children, she descends, glowing " l i k e some queen 60 who, finding her people gathered i n the h a l l . . . accepts t h e i r devotion and t h e i r prostration before her" (124). As the dinner party progresses, however, she becomes aware of the e s s e n t i a l loneliness and i s o l a t i o n surrounding each guest, r e a l i z i n g that beneath the surface, i n r e a l i t y l i f e 55 i s " a l l i n scraps and fragments" (136). Wearied with the end-less burden of creation, "the whole e f f o r t of merging and flow-ing and creating" (126), Mrs. Ramsay i s suddenly exhausted by the f u t i l i t y of i t a l l , seeing that, i n spite of her fondest dreams, "people soon d r i f t apart" (133). Like a t i r e d , o l d s a i l o r , she yearns for the end of the voyage because i t means that a f t e r "the ship sunk" (127), she would f i n d "rest on the f l o o r of the sea" (127). Appalled by t h i s temptation to surrender to the dark waters, she struggles to stay a f l o a t , aware^ l i k e Septimus, that i n her despair she i s i n danger of "drowning i n seas of f i r e " (138) and having her creation "run upon the rocks" (12 8). As the party hovers on the brink of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n , with Mr. Ramsay unwilling i n his impatience to "conceal his feelings" (145) l i k e everyone else, Mrs. Ramsay, once again, triumphs over the darkness. Refusing to submit to the chaos which threatens to overwhelm her, she summons a l l her energy, fusing i t into a force that, "burning and illuminating" (58), provides a sheltered haven for her guests. In the warm l i g h t of the candles i t seemed that "the night was now shut o f f by panes of glass" (147) while everything "inside the room, seemed to be order and dry land" (147). I r r e s i s t i b l y drawn 61 into the glowing c i r c l e of l i g h t , "they were a l l conscious of making a party together i n a hollow, on an is l a n d ; had t h e i r common cause against that f l u i d i t y out there" (147). In the centre of the table, r e f l e c t e d i n the beauti-f u l "yellow and purple dish of f r u i t " (146) , Mrs. Ramsay sees an image of the f a i r y - t a l e world she created for Cam, where, "one could take one's s t a f f and climb h i l l s . . . and go down into valleys" (146). Soothed by i t s exquisite order, she sees i n i t s glowing perfection the serenity of that happy garden of innocence and eternal youth. Although gazing i n rapture at the dish of f r u i t "united" Augustus Carmichael and Mrs. Ramsay, "his way of looking" at i t s beauty i s " d i f f e r e n t from hers" (146). While she i s anxiously "keeping guard . . . jealously, hoping that nobody would touch i t " (163), Carmichael, aware that "nothing stays" (267), "plunged i n , broke o f f a bloom there, a t a s s e l here, and returned, after feasting to his hive" (146). Suddenly, as "a hand reached out, took a pear, and s p o i l t the whole thing" (163), Mrs. Ramsay also r e a l i z e s , with a pang of regret, that nothing l a s t s ; time r e l e n t l e s s l y destroys any assurance of permanence, " l i k e the sea eating the ground we stand on" (69). Feeling a l l of a sudden aged and defenceless, "alone i n the presence of her old antogonist l i f e " (120), she avoids her face i n the mirror. Turning instead to gaze at the beams of the lighthouse, she comforts herself with the thought that within i t s persistent beauty and strength l i e s the true r e f l e c t i o n of her own r e l e n t l e s s determination to withstand 62 l i f e ' s challenges: "She was stern, she was searching, she was beautiful l i k e that l i g h t " (97). But the sound of the sea, which " l i k e a ghostly r o l l of drums remorselessly beat the measure of l i f e " (28), forces her to admit that i n the darkness beyond the " p i t i l e s s " l i g h t , there i s "no reason, order, j u s t i c e : but suffering, death, the poor" (98). Her determination to create the i l l u s i o n of order i n spite of her awareness that c i v i l i z a t i o n i s "a v e i l only t h i n l y and precariously covering the destructive forces b e n e a t h , i s at once her triumph and her treachery. In urging her husband and children to f e e l confident that i f they "put i m p l i c i t f a i t h " (60) i n the fantasy world of her imagination nothing i n l i f e can harm them, Mrs. Ramsay l i e s . I t i s Mr. Carmichael, the poet, who r e s i s t s her deceit, sensing' that " t h i s desire of hers to give, to help, was vanity, for her own s e l f - s a t i s f a c t i o n " (65). Having dulled the humiliation of his own f a i l u r e with drugs, he r e a l i z e s that her opiate against the chaos i s to manipulate the l i v e s of others. I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s only when Carmichael, a creator of i l l u s i o n l i k e Mrs. Ramsay, loses " a l l i n t e r e s t i n l i f e " (289) af t e r Andrew's death i n the war, that his poetry which i s "extremely impersonal" and "about death" (290), achieves success. Having trusted her completely to 'surround and protect" (60) them, the family i s l e f t dazed and bereft when Mrs. Ramsay dies "rather suddenly" (194) i n the night. As she leaves them, going l i k e Demeter, wreathed i n "white flowers . . . across the f i e l d s of death" (270), the bleak winter of 63 r e a l i t y destroys t h e i r innocence forever. In the darkness that remains, the house and garden become a wasteland, defenceless before the ravages of time and weather. Once f i l l e d with l i g h t and overflowing with gaiety and l i f e , the house be-comes an empty husk, l e f t for ten years " l i k e a s h e l l on a sa n d h i l l to f i l l with dry s a l t grains now that l i f e had l e f t i t " (208). Trying to hold back the dark "was beyond the strength of one woman" (207), and with Mrs. Ramsay's death, "the long night seemed to have set i n " (208). Like the vic t i m of some e v i l s p e l l her creation i s transformed into a nightmare world where "toads had nosed t h e i r way in. . . . A t h i s t l e thrust i t -s e l f between the t i l e s i n the larder. The swallows nested i n the drawing-room; the f l o o r was strewn with straw; the plaster f e l l i n shovelfuls; r a f t e r s were l a i d bare; rats c a r r i e d o f f th i s and that to gnaw behind the wainscots" (207). While outside i n the darkness, the "long stroke" (200) of the lighthouse seems to be tr y i n g desperately to provide some reassurance i n the "chaos and tumult of the night" (20 3), i t cannot prevent the storms from tearing apart the "thin v e i l s " (51) which Mrs. Ramsay has spent her l i f e t r y i n g to weave. As the violent darkness of Prue and Andrew Ramsay's deaths overwhelm the family, i t seems that with each shock "the rock was rent asunder; another f o l d of the shawl loosened" (200). Gone with Mrs. Ramsay i s her v i s i o n , that " c r y s t a l of int e n s i t y " (199) wherein she vainly looked for some assurance that "good triumphs, happiness p r e v a i l s , order rules" (199). And i n i t s place i s the r e a l i z a t i o n that there i s no pattern 64 or meaning i n a world where the "dream of sharing, completing, of finding i n solitude on the beach an answer, was but a r e f l e c t i o n i n a mirror" (202). With Mrs. Ramsay dead, "the mirror was broken" (202); the i l l u s i o n shattered, for " d i r e c t l y she went a sort of d i s i n t e g r a t i o n set i n " (168). In the f i n a l scene of the novel, the t r i p to the l i g h t -house planned so many years before i s f i n a l l y undertaken. Mr. Ramsay, refusing to allow the "folds of blackness" (214) to s t i f l e his i n s t i n c t for s u r v i v a l , i s determined to complete the voyage. In an attempt to stay "the corruption and the rot" (209) of ten years of neglect, the house i s rescued just as i t seems about to plunge "to the depths to l i e upon the sands of o b l i v i o n " (209). But as the two old, cleaning women "bobbled and ambled, dusting, straightening" (205) l i k e energetic gnomes trying to undo a wicked curse; accompanying the renewal of l i f e i s an ominous reminder that, within the inevitable cycle there i s "a force working; something not highly conscious; something that leered, something that lurched; something not i n s p i r e d to go about i t s work with d i g n i f i e d r i t u a l or solemn chanting" (209) . For James and Cam, who no longer have any desire to go to.the lighthouse, t h e i r father's insistence of reviving memories of the past i s just one more instance of the "crass blindness and tyranny" (25 3) with which he "poisoned" t h e i r "childhood" (253). Reminded of the rage he f e l t as a small boy when his father's demands deprived him of his mother's attention, James i s determined to r e s i s t Mr. Ramsay's "enormous need" (225) for sympathy which had "fed on the treasure of the house, greedily, disgustingly" (261). Once again James feels that " i f there had been an axe handy, a knife, or any-thing with a sharp point he would have seized i t and struck his father through the heart" (277). No longer a c h i l d , how-ever, James rea l i z e s that i t i s not his father he wants to k i l l , but rather that r e l e n t l e s s "despotism" (274) which was l i k e a " f i e r c e sudden black-winged harpy, with i t s talons and i t s beak a l l cold and hard, that struck and struck at you" (273). Forced to look at the past whether he wants to or not, James peers "into the heart of that forest where l i g h t and shade so chequer each other that a l l shape i s distorted . . . .Every-thing tended to set i t s e l f i n a garden where there was none of t h i s gloom" (275). Suddenly, i n the midst of t h i s happy r e f l e c -t i o n , another image r i s e s to the surface of the boy's mind: 'it was i n t h i s world" (276) that he had seen a wagon wheel r o l l over "someone's foot" leaving i t "purple, crushed" (275). To his son, Mr. Ramsay seems to be l i k e that wheel, "ignorantly and innocently" (275) crushing his children's i l l u s i o n s , destroying "the leaves and flowers even of t h i s happy world and making i t s h r i v e l and f a l l " (276). In spite of his resentment, James recognizes that both he and his father are a l i k e i n t h e i r desperate awareness of r e a l i t y , and i n that "waste of snow and rock . . . there were two pairs of footprints only; his own and his father's. They alone knew each other" (274). Unable to " f l i c k o f f these 66 grains of misery which s e t t l e d on his mind one af t e r another" (279), James i s f i n a l l y reconciled to the "loneliness which was for both of them the truth about things" (301). As they f i n a l l y reach the lighthouse, James i s at l a s t able to accept the fact that the " s i l v e r y , misty-looking tower with the yellow eye" (276) of his childhood dreams, i s r e a l l y "a stark tower on a bare rock. I t s a t i s f i e d him. I t confirmed some obscure fe e l i n g of his about his own character" (301). But for his s i s t e r , s t i l l caught i n the world of i l l u -sion, the t r i p to the lighthouse becomes an ex c i t i n g adventure as she t e l l s "herself a story about escaping from a sinking ship" (283). In her desire for "adventure and escape" (280) a l l Cam's own anguish has "streamed away" (280) and, l i k e a c h i l d , she i s confident that her father w i l l prevent her from f a l l i n g over the "precipice" or being "drowned" (304). And yet, watching him absorbed i n reading his book "quite unconscious of what they thought" (302), she suddenly r e a l i z e s that t h i s was how he "escaped . . . . You might t r y to lay hands on him, but then l i k e a b i r d , he spread his wings, he floated o f f to s e t t l e out of your reach somewhere far away from one on some desolate stump" (302). Unable to understand where her father i s "leading them" (303), Cam wonders what he i s looking at; "what could he see . . . It was a l l a blur to her . . . . What was i t he sought, so fi x e d l y , so i n t e n t l y , so s i l e n t l y ? " (307) As they f i n a l l y reach the lighthouse and Mr, Ramsay springs onto the rocky shore looking, for a moment, " l i k e a young man" (308), i r o n i c a l l y , his children's f e e l i n g are s t i l l equivocal. To James, his 67 father, looking i n his loneliness " l i k e some old stone l y i n g on the sand" (301), seems to be saying that "'There i s no God'" (308), while to Cam he appears to be "leaping into space" (308) as i f he were divine himself. L e f t behind on the c l i f f s watching t h e i r lonely t r i p to the Lighthouse, L i l y Briscoe i s suddenly overwhelmed with longing for Mrs. Ramsay: "to want and not to have—to want and want—how that wrung the heart, and wrung i t again and again I" (266) Without her g i f t for creating beauty and order, her a b i l i t y to make "of the moment something permanent" (241), i t seems to L i l y that there i s "no safety" (268) l e f t i n l i f e . Having f a l l e n victim, i n spite of herself, to Mrs. Ramsay's vi s i o n of a world where, " i n the midst of chaos there was t h i s shape" (241), L i l y i s once again aware that l i f e i s " s t a r t l i n g , unexpected, unknown" (26 8). Tempted i n her anguish to "acqui-esce and resign" (214) herself to the darkness, L i l y f e e l s , for a moment, as i f she has stepped "off her s t r i p of board into the waters of a n n i h i l a t i o n " (269). In spite of her sense of f u t i l i t y at t r y i n g to create any pattern i n l i f e when i t i s apparent "how aimless i t was, how chaotic, how unreal" (219), she i s , nevertheless, impressed by Mr. Ramsay's determination to complete the voyage despite his awareness of the " b i t t e r waters of despair" (222) which constantly threaten to engulf him. No longer able to see the boat or the Lighthouse which have "melted away into a blue haze" (308), L i l y feels that, l i k e Mr. Ramsay, afte r standing "on some windy pinnacle and exposed without protection to a l l 68 the blasts of doubt" (237) she has f i n a l l y glimpsed the truth which "evaded her" (287) for so long. Determined to f i n i s h her painting and "achieve that razor edge of balance between two opposite forces" (287), she r e a l i z e s that i t i s Mr. Ramsay's vi s i o n that "she wanted" (300). However, the v i s i o n she glimpses i s f r a g i l e , "as i f she saw i t cl e a r for a second" (310) before i t vanished. Her picture i s s t i l l a blur of "greens and blues, i t s l i n e s running up and across" (309), while the l i n e she moves to the centre remains an ambiguous shadow. Although L i l y feels that " i t would be hung i n a t t i c s . . . i t would be destroyed" (310), she has found the i n s p i r a -t i o n to f i n i s h her painting. Exhausted but relieved, she r e a l i z e s that she has had her v i s i o n l i k e Mr. Ramsay and landed: " [ i ] t was done; i t was finished" (310). As Augustus Carmichael stands beside her on the c l i f f , "looking l i k e an old pagan god" (309) , i t seems to L i l y that he i s "spreading his hands over a l l the weakness and suffering of mankind" (309). Resigned to the f a c t that "'you' and 'I' and 'she' pass and vanish; nothing stays; a l l changes; but not words, not paint" (267) , he appears to be dropping "from his great height a wreath of v i o l e t s and asphodels which, f l u t t e r i n g slowly, lay at length upon the earth" (309). Having " l o s t a l l i n t e r e s t i n l i f e " (289), i t i s "death" (290) that his poetry celebrates. With Mrs. Ramsay gone, and L i l y ' s picture hopelessly "blurred" (310) ,, the ultimate v i s i o n which "crown[s] the occasion" (309) i s Augustus Carmichael's. When the "thin v e i l s " of i l l u s i o n are destroyed f i n a l l y , the only r e a l i t y i n l i f e i s an acceptance of death; t h i s i s man's " f i n a l destiny" (309). 69 THE YEARS Published i n 1937, The Years was to be V i r g i n i a W o o l f s penultimate novel and one which took a l l her courage and deter-mination to complete. Deeply saddened by the deaths of several close friends, e s p e c i a l l y those of Lytton Strachey and Roger 57 Fry, she f e l t the "inane pointlessness" (AWD,180) of l i f e and, f i l l e d with despair, was overcome by "the old treadmill f e e l i n g , of going on and on and on, for no reason" (AWD,180). But the very challenge seemed to give her the strength to f l i n g herself, l i k e Bernard, "unvanquished and unyielding" (W^ 297) against death, the r e l e n t l e s s enemy. Determined to s t i l l the incessant pounding of the waves, she attempted to create order out of the chaos i t s e l f : "the violence and unreason crossing i n the a i r : ourselves small; a tumult outside: something t e r r i f y i n g : unreason" (AWD,181). But the incredible e f f o r t i t required to struggle against the darkness plunged her into a serious breakdown and thoughts of suicide once more, bringing her nearer "the precipice to[her] own f e e l i n g since 1913" (AWD,268). I t i s not surprising that the book which she created out of her feelings of "complete despair and f a i l u r e " (AWD,269), should seem to Leonard Woolf 5 8 a novel of t e r r i b l e sadness, where death casts i t s shadow over, every chapter u n t i l , as Josephine Schaefer maintains, ' 5 9 i t appears that " i n a very r e a l sense, a world has died." S u p e r f i c i a l l y The Years resembles a chronicle of three generations i n the Pargiter family but, i n r e a l i t y , 70 death i s the central character and the novel a p o r t r a i t of man's struggle to f i n d l i f e meaningful i n spite of his t r a g i c awareness, as Swinburne points out, that "the glass of the 6 0 years i s b r i t t l e where i n we gaze for a span." In f i n a l l y changing the t i t l e from "The Pargiters" to The Years, V i r g i n i a Woolf confirmed her sense of the f u t i l i t y of looking for any reassurance i n the recurring pattern of the family. Even Eleanor Pargiter who has watched over the family l i k e a mother from the beginning of the novel, i s unable to see any order i n the endless cycle and can only wonder i f there i s "a pattern; a theme, recurring, l i k e music; half remembered, half fore-61 seen?" The answer eludes her, but i f there i s some great design, who i s responsible? "Who makes i t ? Who thinks i t ? " (398) The only course for the in d i v i d u a l i s to j o i n i n the endless party u n t i l , caught i n the c o i l s of the "eternal waltz" (138), he i s consumed by l i f e " l i k e a serpent that swallowed i t s own t a i l " (138). The Pargiter family becomes an image of a society where the young, b i t t e r and d i s i l l u s i o n e d with the present, desperately seek for some assurance that a meaningful pattern existed i n the l i v e s of t h e i r parents and the past. As the Pargiters reminisce about t h e i r youth, however, i t i s apparent that "under the surface of the outward action of the novel l i e 6 2 the c r i p p l i n g horrors of the past, entombed i n memory." There i s no comfort to be found i n the example of the older generation which, having f a i l e d to f i n d the answer, i s l e f t l i k e Eleanor with "no notion how she was going to f i n i s h her 71 sentence" (398). Meanwhile, time, passing l i k e the "scourg-ing" March wind with " i t s power to peel o f f the bark, the bloom, and show the bare bone" (157), r e l e n t l e s s l y destroys the present. In the l a s t chapter, "Present Day," the family f i n a l l y gathers together at Delia's party, but no r e a l f e e l i n g of communication develops. Instead, r e f l e c t e d i n each of t h e i r l i v e s i s the increasing s t e r i l i t y and i s o l a t i o n of modern society where, doomed l i k e Antigone to a l i v i n g death, they must continue the dance "gyrating i n time to the tune . . . as i f some animal were dying i n a slow but exquisite anguish" (414). But i t i s Peggy and North, Morris Pargiter's children, no longer friends now that they are adults, who most symbolize the h o s t i l -i t y of the younger generation trapped i n a modern wasteland, endlessly " t o i l i n g , grinding, i n the heart of darkness, i n the depths of the night" (418). To Peggy i t seems u t t e r l y f u t i l e to look for happiness s "in a world bursting with misery. On every placard at every street corner was Death; or worse-tyranny; b r u t a l i t y ; torture; the f a l l of c i v i l i z a t i o n ; the end of freedom" (418). With the promise of youth revealed as an i l l u s i o n , the garden becomes a ."Hell" surrounded by "those fa n t a s t i c laughers, the many-clawed gargoyles" (50) who watch with amused indifference mankind "sheltering under a leaf, which w i l l be destroyed" (418). North, recently returned from the African jungle, i s equally pessismistic about the darkness of modern l i f e . He r e a l i z e s sadly that i t i s hopeless to look for "what he longed for—assurance, certainty" (409), from eith e r family or friends. In a society 72 where "we are a l l deformed" (409) there i s no way we can help each other. Instead, by making " i d o l s of other people" (410) and giving them "the power to lead us" (410), we merely "add to the deformity, and stoop ourselves" (410). This image of the i n d i v i d u a l , mutilated and entombed by society, condemned by b i r t h to a l i v i n g death, i s central to the novel and apparent from the f i r s t chapter where the Vic t o r i a n household of the Pargiters i s enveloped i n an atmosphere of i l l n e s s , deceit and death. As the family waits impatiently for t h e i r mother to die, Colonel Pargiter, out-wardly a concerned and d u t i f u l husband and father, i s secretly maintaining a mistress i n another part of the c i t y . I r o n i -c a l l y , a f t e r his death, i t i s the image of t h e i r father's mutilated hand with i t s "shiny knobs" l i k e "the claw of some aged bi r d " (12) that his children r e c a l l . While t h e i r home, Abercorn Terrace, i s remembered as a " H e l l " (450), a place of confinement which s t i f l e d t h e i r youthful dreams. Delia feels p a r t i c u l a r l y resentful as she waits, trapped i n "some borderland between l i f e and death" (25), for her mother to die so that she, herself, can begin to l i v e . In her f r u s t r a t i o n i t seems to Delia that her mother, "soft, decayed but everlasting" (22), i s deliberately destroying her dreams by staying a l i v e , " l y i n g i n the c l e f t of the pillows, an obstacle, a prevention, an impediment to a l l l i f e " (22). While M i l l y , jealous of her s i s t e r , feels i t i s her father who leaves her neglected and "snubbed" (13), as i f she were 73 "a mousy, downtrodden, i n e f f i c i e n t l i t t l e c h i t , compared with Delia, who always gets her way" (13). With the rest of the family preoccupied with t h e i r own concerns, Rose, the youngest c h i l d , ventures out into the forbidden night alone. F i l l e d with c h i l d i s h dreams of the quest as she runs up the street to Lamley's store, she imagines that she i s ' " P a r g i t e r of P a r g i t e r 1 s Horse . . . galloping across the desert'" (2 7) to the r e l i e f of besieged garrisons. But the glowing street lamp of f e r s no reassurance or protection, reveal-ing instead, the "horrid face: white, peeled, pock-marked" (25) of real danger and e v i l i n the outside world. Although she manages to elude the "leeri n g " (28) pervert and return home, the l i t t l e g i r l discovers that the terrors of the dark-ness remain as her dreams become f i l l e d with menacing night-mares where she i s "alone with something h o r r i b l e . . . sh u f f l i n g i n the passage" (41). Meanwhile, her brother, Martin, who has quarreled with Rose, forcing her to go o f f alone, s i t s sulking i n his room wrestling with ghosts of his own. Enraged by his father's domination and lack of r e a l i n t e r e s t i n him, Martin remembers his childhood a l l his l i f e and how, l i k e Delia, he "hated i t too" (450) . Yet i t i s Eleanor, the eldest daughter, who i s v i c -timized most by the home. Assuming the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of caring for the family now that t h e i r mother i s dying, she uns e l f i s h l y devotes herself to becoming "the soother, the maker-up of quarrels" (13). Saddened by the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n and unhappiness of the others, she i s esp e c i a l l y distressed 74 by her favourite brother, Morris, who i s already "losing his boyish look" (33) through his "dreary work".in the "vast funereal mass" (115) of the Law Courts. Unable to share t h e i r dreams as they did when young, Eleanor r e a l i z e s sadly that now they "always talked about f a c t s — l i t t l e facts" (35). Disturbed by his reserve, she remembers Morris as a c h i l d " s i l e n t l y b o l t i n g his food with nobody making a fuss of him" (34) when his brother Edward brought home a l l the prizes from school. Suddenly wearied by the endless demands of the family, Eleanor feels crushed by her r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as i f "a weight seemed to descend on her . . . .She seemed to be alone i n the midst of nothingness; yet must descend, must carry her burden" (44). The innocence of childhood blighted by a careless adult world i s p a r t i c u l a r l y obvious i n the l i v e s of Sara and Maggie Pargiter, cousins of the family at Abercorn Terrace. Left i n poverty by the sudden deaths of t h e i r parents, the two young women are forced to s e l l t h e i r home and move to a tiny f l a t on a "depressing l i t t l e street" (185). I t i s Sara who i s most twisted by l i f e . S l i g h t l y c r i p p l e d when her father dropped her as a baby, she t r i e s to ignore the ugly r e a l i t i e s of l i f e , l i v i n g instead i n a world of her imagina-t i o n , "'singing her l i t t l e song'" (399). Resenting her father for monopolizing her mother's attention, however, Sara can s t i l l picture him "pirouetting up and down with his sword between his legs" (154), a tyrant who has deprived her of the chance to l i v e as surely as Creon deprives Antigone. Feeling that she has "no l i f e of her own" (399) l e f t , Sara neglects 75 herself, staying i n a "cheap lodginghouse" (338) on a " d i r t y . . . sordid" (334) street and wearing tattered clothes u n t i l she resembles "an old woman worn out by a l i f e of c h i l d b i r t h , debauchery and crime" (203). Whenever she stops weaving her dreams or singing her l i t t l e songs, she r e a l i z e s b i t t e r l y that i n t h i s modern waste-land they are a l l condemned to a l i v i n g death, buried a l i v e l i k e Antigone i n "thi s cave, t h i s l i t t l e antre, scooped out of mud and dung" (20 3). To Maggie i t suddenly seems that th i s dark v i s i o n of l i f e i s true; "they were nasty l i t t l e creatures, driven by uncontrollable l u s t s . The night was f u l l of roaring and cursing; of violence and unrest" (20 3) . Perhaps, as Sara maintains, i t i s better to'"bring up your children on a desert island'" (205) or , Mhave none'" (205) at a l l , rather than subject them to the "'awful l i v e s children live'" (171) . For i n r e a l i t y , family l i f e i s "abominable" (239) because "we're a l l a f r a i d of each other . . . of c r i t i c i s m ; of laughter, of people who think d i f f e r e n t l y " (447) . I r o n i c a l l y , i t i s Delia, "ravaged" (380) by the past, who gathers the family together i n the 'Present Day 1, l a s t chapter. However, her party does not resemble C l a r i s s a Dalloway's c a r e f u l l y created " o f f e r i n g " ; rather i t remains a fragmented and chaotic mixture of people who f a i l to com-municate i n the confusion and "babble of voices" (377). For the younger generation of Pargiters, p a r t i c u l a r l y Peggy and 76 North, i t i s merely a family obligation which they f e e l they "must" (376) attend. Peggy, drawn, i n spite of her reluctance, by the f a i n t hope that through "sharing things" (379) the pain w i l l lessen, t r i e s unsuccessfully to get her aunt Eleanor to talk about the past: " I t was so i n t e r e s t i n g ; so safe; so u n r e a l — t h a t past of the eighties; and to her so b e a u t i f u l i n i t s unreality" (358). Eleanor, who has watched them a l l grow up, refuses to dwell on the past and the burdens which "suppressed" (361) her, preferring to confront "the present" (361) where, as she t e l l s her niece, "'your l i v e s are much more in t e r e s t i n g than ours were'" (35 8). But for Peggy the past seems to hold the only reassurance that l i f e , which as a doctor she i s dedicated to preserving, i s not u t t e r l y f u t i l e . B i t t e r about the death of her favourite brother i n the war, she feels "plated, coated over with some cold skin" (377) while she watches the other guests pretending to enjoy themselves, "making believe . . . that something pleasant i s about to happen" (378). Unable, l i k e Septimus, to endure the anguish of caring so much, Peggy c y n i c a l l y prescribes a remedy for herself to d u l l the f e e l i n g : "Take notes and the pain goes" (378). Looking at the other members of the family, Peggy re a l i z e s that they are a l l taking part i n a "farce" (380) where, i n order to maintain the i l l u s i o n , i t i s e s s e n t i a l "to smile, to bend, to make believe you're amused when you're bored" (382). This i s the t e r r i b l e r e a l i t y of l i f e she f e e l s , that "pain must outbalance pleasure by two parts to one . . . 77 i n a l l s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s " (381). Watching her aunt Delia, the f i e r y supporter of "Parnell" and "The Cause" (384), Peggy finds i t impossible to believe that she was ever "once i n love" (383) with the "battered" (381) looking Patrick who resembles a "faded snapshot" (380) of the past; or that her uncle Martin i n his desperate pursuit of "one love aft e r another love--his gallant clutch upon the f l y i n g t a i l , the slippery t a i l of youth" (384), has succeeded i n forgetting his "dread of cancer" (385) and his t e r r i b l e fear of death. As she looks at them a l l going "round and round . . . i n a c i r c l e " (387), Peggy i s aware of the f u t i l i t y of t h e i r struggle for "they could only go back and repeat the same thing over again" (387). Certain that "nothing she did mattered" (388), Peggy r e a l i z e s i t i s useless to keep on tryi n g to f i n d any meaning i n a world where man endlessly repeats the pattern, trapped beneath an "inscrutable, eternal, i n d i f f e r e n t " (388) sky i n which the stars g l i t t e r above l i k e " l i t t l e b i t s of frosty s t e e l " (388). The only way to endure the pain i s "not to l i v e ; not to f e e l " (382), for "thinking was a torment; why not give up thinking and d r i f t and dream" (419) rather than care about people "who had not even the courage to be themselves, but must dress up, imitate, pretend" (419). Aware that his s i s t e r disapproves of him, North has a "vague f e e l i n g of h o s t i l i t y toward her" (425) as well. "She seemed to him b i t t e r , d i s i l l u s i o n e d , and very c r i t i c a l of every-one, e s p e c i a l l y of himself" (425). Once he had read her his 78 poetry and they had shared t h e i r dreams for the future, but no longer able to communicate with each other, they must " f a l l back on c h i l d i s h slang, on c h i l d i s h memories, to cover t h e i r distance, t h e i r h o s t i l i t y " (426). This sense of i s o l a t i o n , of being an "outsider" (4 35) leaves North f e e l i n g he i s s t i l l " i n the middle of the dark forest" (446) although A f r i c a i s far behind him. Surrounded by his family, he has "never f e l t so lonely" (435) and longs to escape from a world where "human beings reject one" (435) and return to impersonal nature. F a i l i n g to f i n d any reassurance i n the l i v e s of the older generation, North, l i k e Peggy, i s dismayed by the "con-tamination of family l i f e " (407) he sees r e f l e c t e d i n them. P a r t i c u l a r l y h o r r i f y i n g to him are his aunt M i l l y and her husband who have become so swollen with t h e i r possessions, so "gross, obese, shapeless" (409), that they no longer seem human but, instead, "a parody, a travesty, an excrescence that had overgrown the form within" (409). Turning with r e l i e f to his favourite cousin, Maggie, North i s disturbed to f i n d that she i s also caught i n the c o i l s of domesticity, appearing "glazed" and "insincere" (407) l i k e the Gibbses. As he l i s t e n s to her tal k i n g possessively about '"my* children" (409), North r e a l i z e s that " i t would be one r i p down the b e l l y ; or teeth i n the soft fur of the throat" (409) as she fought savagely to keep them. He feels t h i s i s the destruc-t i v e "conspiracy" (407) of love, " t h i s i s the steamroller that smooths, o b l i t e r a t e s ; rounds into i d e n t i t y ; r o l l s into b a l l s " (407). People are not interested i n others, "only i n 79 the i r own; t h e i r own property; t h e i r own f l e s h and blood, which they would protect with the unsheathed claws of the primeval swamp" (408). Repelled by t h i s v i s i o n of domestic l i f e where even Maggie seems "deformed" (409) , North t r i e s to talk to his uncle Edward, the scholar, certain that there i s "something behind that mask . . . something that's kept him clear of th i s muddle. The Past? Poetry?" (440) But there i s nothing beneath the cool, detached exterior, because i n shutting out l i f e , Edward has become an empty husk resembling an "insect whose body has been eaten out, leaving only the wings and the s h e l l " (4 37). North r e a l i z e s that no answers are to be found in the cold and s t e r i l e i s o l a t i o n where Edward s e l f i s h l y hoards his treasures l i k e "a p r i e s t , a mystery monger . . . this guardian of be a u t i f u l words" (441). Able only to trans-late the thoughts of others rather than create himself, there i s "something f i n a l " about Edward, "something sealed up, stated" (439). Peggy and North, unable to f i n d any promise of happiness r e f l e c t e d i n the l i v e s of the Pargiters, are forced to accept the b i t t e r truth that, as "the younger generation following i n the wake of the old" (425), they are doomed to repeat the past. United, i n spite of themselves, by t h e i r feelings of despair, the brother and s i s t e r gaze i n horror at t h i s f a t a l image which shatters t h e i r dream of meaningful l i f e ; " i t was over, i t was destroyed . . . d i r e c t l y something got together, i t broke" (423). 80 Eleanor seems to be the only one who offers them any reassurance that there i s wholeness and meaning at the centre of l i f e . A symbol of continuity throughout the novel, she becomes the central mother-image of the Pargiter family around whom the others radiate. However, although she appears "a fine o ld prophetess" (352) to Peggy, for Eleanor, herself, l i f e i s s t i l l an unfathomable mystery: "How did they compose what people c a l l e d a l i f e . . . Perhaps there's 'I' at the middle of i t , she thought; a knot; a centre" (395). Completely unselfconscious, she ignores the r e f l e c t i o n of herself i n the glass unwilling to look back over "the long s t r i p " that "lay behind her" (395), or worry about the future. I t i s "the present moment" (39 5) that engages her; caught up i n the exc i t i n g d a i l y struggle, "here she was a l i v e , now" (395). Determined aft e r her father's death "to be quit" (233) at l a s t of the burdens of the past, Eleanor s e l l s Abercorn Terrace, the family home. She i s delighted to be free but for Crosby, forced to leave the Pargiter's a f t e r forty years of service, i t i s "the end of everything" (232) that has f i l l e d her world with meaning. Watching her as she leaves his f l a t " l i k e a frightened l i t t l e animal peering around her before she ventured to brave the dangers of the street" (240), Martin i s appalled by the tyranny and deceit of the home. Seeming to o f f e r love and security, instead " i t was an abominable, system, he thought; family l i f e ; Abercorn Terrace . . . there a l l those d i f f e r e n t people had l i v e d , boxed up together, t e l l i n g l i e s " (239). 81 I r o n i c a l l y , Eleanor, who has cast o f f the past and sentenced Crosby to the loneliness and i s o l a t i o n of " s o l i t a r y confinement, the greatest torture we i n f l i c t " (333), seems to Peggy "as i f she s t i l l believed with passion—she, o ld Eleanor--in the things that man had destroyed. A wonderful generation" (357). D r i f t i n g o f f to sleep during the party, Eleanor's memories of the past mingle with the present and she i s suddenly bewildered by the endlessly recurring pattern; "where was she? In what room? In which of innumerable rooms? Always there were rooms; always there were people: Always from the beginning of time" (460). Although grateful to be a l i v e , she feels c e r t a i n there must be another chance at l i f e : "not i n dreams; but here and now, i n t h i s room, with l i v i n g people. She f e l t as i f she were standing on a precipice with her hair blown back; she was about to grasp something that evaded her. There must be another l i f e . . . this i s too short, too broken" (461). But for a moment as Eleanor looks at her family s i t t i n g with " t h e i r heads i n a c i r c l e " (460), she i s unable to recognize them with the "curious p a l l o r on a l l t h e i r faces" (260) which the morn-ing l i g h t has cast. Suddenly i t seems f u t i l e to t ry to hold i t a l l together or understand what l i f e means when "we know nothing about ourselves" (461). In spite of her courage and determination to l i v e , Eleanor r e a l i z e s "It's useless . . . I t must drop. It must f a l l . And then? . . . for her too there would be the endless night; the endless dark" (462) . 82 Trying to ignore t h i s v i s i o n where "she saw opening i n front of her a very long dark tunnel" (462), Eleanor watches a young couple i n the street below. Standing "for a moment on the threshold" (469) of l i f e as the dawn r i s e s , they seem to contain the promise of the regenerative power of love. But the image of the couple i s reminiscent of a disturbing and c r u c i a l scene early i n the novel where Sara Pargiter s i t s alone i n the darkness of her. room looking across her "empty and s i l e n t " (14 3) garden at the party next door. Kept awake by the music she peeks through the window at a couple standing below. Unable to hear t h e i r conversation she watches the "black-and-white figures" (143) s t r o l l i n g i n the moonlight and, l i k e Eleanor, imagines them t a l k i n g of love. Excited by the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of l i f e she sees mirrored i n her fantasies, Sara feels l i k e a great, vibrant tree reach-ing for the sunlight with i t s leafy branches while i t s huge roots spread down into the earth. But as she glimpses the tree i n the garden, she r e a l i z e s , with a shock of d i s i l l u s i o n -ment, that " f a r from being dappled with sunight, i t had no leaves at a l l . She f e l t for a moment she had been contradicted. For the tree was black, dead black" (142). S t a r t l e d out of her dream, Sara no longer finds the music e x c i t i n g , instead i t becomes a "boring and f i n a l l y i n t o l e r a b l e " (144) int r u s i o n , as i t repeats "the same rhythm again and again" (143). With the destruction of her i l l u s i o n s , the moonlit garden becomes a cold and s t e r i l e wasteland where amid the "white trees" and "i c y hollows" (14 3) the couple seem to be 83 hopelessly " c a l l i n g each other across the valleys" (143)' while the mocking music "coarsened" and "destroyed" (14 3) t h e i r words. As Sara watches them going up the "iron s t a i r -case" (144) back to the party, for they "scarcely knew each other" (14 3), she sees i n the iron r a i l i n g s , the barri e r s which separate us a l l i n our search for love. When the young man stoops to pick, not a flower, but a piece of glass from the ground, i t seems to Sara that i t i s r e a l l y "*'a fragment of [ h i s ] heart"' (144) he offers the g i r l . B i t t e r l y she re a l i z e s that what remains of our "wasted youth" (145) when the i l l u s i o n shatters, i s "t h i s broken glass, t h i s faded heart" (145). Turning from the desolation of the garden, Sara glances through "the l i t t e r of broken words" (145) of The  Antigone. But r e f l e c t e d i n the violence of the play she sees again the dreadful image of l i f e where the i n d i v i d u a l , condemned to a l i v i n g death by society, remains l i k e "the unburied body of a murdered man . . . l i k e a f a l l e n tree-trunk, l i k e a statue, with one foot stark i n the a i r " (145). As the laughter of the party mingles with the words of the play, i t seems to Sara, f i n a l l y d r i f t i n g o f f to sleep beneath the "cold smooth sheets" (146), that "her body dropped suddenly; then reached ground. A dark wing brushed her mind, leaving a pause; a blank space" (146). Like Eleanor, Sara i s aware that i t i s death that waits i n the dark void at the end of the "tunnel" (462) , while the journey, i t s e l f , forces the in d i v i d u a l into an ever 84 increasing sense of fear and i s o l a t i o n unable to see any reason for l i v i n g r e f l e c t e d i n either the past or the present. As Delia's party ends, the "old brothers and s i s t e r s " (467), standing amid the remnants, "the smeared plates, and the empty wine-glasses; the petals and the bread crumbs" (466) , l i k e l i f e l e s s r e l i c s themselves, look "as i f they [are] carved i n stone" (467). None of them understands one word of the strange song sung by the l i t t l e children from the basement. Listening, " i t was impossible to f i n d one word for the whole" (465) as the children, looking so " d i g n i f i e d " (465) yet crying with the " s h r i l l . . . discordant" (464) voice of youth, made such a "hideous noise" (465) that "the grown-up people did not know whether to laugh or cry" (464). Although "nobody wants to l i s t e n " (454) , Nicholas t r i e s to sum i t a l l up, to give a "peroration" (466) to the party, but he can f i n d nothing to say except that the "dawn" (465) has arrived again. As the other guests echo his words i t sounds l i k e an incantation used to ward o f f the terrors of the night. While the flowers which Maggie has gleaned from the wreckage of the party seem a reminder of the f i e l d s of death where "pink, yellow, white with v i o l e t shadows . . . They f a l l and f a l l and cover a l l " (457). As she offers them to Eleanor the f a t a l image ris e s of the old flower s e l l e r with her faded v i o l e t s and mutilated face "seamed with white patches" and with "red rims for n o s t r i l s " (253). For i m p l i c i t i n the b i r t h of a new day i s the inevitable darkness of the night as the pattern repeats i t s e l f . Looking at the young 85 couple on "the threshold" (469) of t h e i r l i v e s , Eleanor r e a l i z e s there i s no answer to her "And now?" (469) other than to accept the endless process of b i r t h and death while, "slowly wheeling, l i k e the rays of a searchlight, the days, the weeks, the years passed one afte r another across the sky" (2) . 86 CHAPTER III BITTER WATERS OF DESPAIR: THE THREE-FOLDED MIRROR In Between the Acts V i r g i n i a W o o l f s f i n a l and most 63 profound novel, according to Northrop Frye, the images of violence well up as i f from the layers of mud at the bottom of the cesspool to spread i n ever-widening c i r c l e s , p u l l i n g each one of the characters r e l e n t l e s s l y into the vortex of loneliness and i s o l a t i o n . The voyage out i n search of the s e l f , f a i l i n g to reach the shores of understanding and acceptance, becomes instead, an endless s p i r a l of senseless r e p e t i t i o n . The demonic wasteland of man's dreams, l i e s at the centre of the novel flooding i t with images of imprison-ment, torture and destructive passion. In t h i s world of bondage and pain the i n d i v i d u a l sees his suf f e r i n g r e f l e c t e d i n nature where, l i k e an ouroboros c o i l e d i n an orgy of self-destruction, there i s " l i f e , l i f e , l i f e , without 64 measure, without stop devouring the tree." Held i n the " b i t t e r glass" of t h i s novel i s the f a t a l image of an existence where the innocence of childhood i s destroyed so that the world becomes a " d i r t y " (90) place, and where adults, bound i n chains of t h e i r own forging, are forced, l i k e Prometheus, to behold the unending pageant of l i f e between the acts of b i r t h and death. F a i l i n g to f i n d some consolation i n either b l i n d f a i t h or the cold "caves" 87 (240) of reason, a l l that remains for the i n d i v i d u a l i s to attempt to create the i l l u s i o n of order. However, unable to remain "skimming the surface" (237) i n d e f i n i t e l y , he plunges through the murky depths to confront the darkness of the mud beneath. As the thin v e i l s of imagination are torn apart they reveal that the harsh r e a l i t y of l i f e i s death. The inescapable truth that i s r e f l e c t e d i n the glass "the demons hold," i s ourselves, not whole but separate and i n fragments. From the opening l i n e i n the novel, the cesspool becomes an image of that mirror i n which society, l i k e Narcis-sus, cannot r e s i s t i t s r e f l e c t i o n . Water, instead of being a source of l i f e , "a beaker surrounded by walls of shining glass" (82) becomes a "tangle of d i r t y duckweed" (10) dragging the unwary swimmer to the bottom to die. "Pointz H a l l , " the o r i g i n a l name of the novel, extends t h i s image of the pool as a mirror r e f l e c t i n g l i f e . B u i l t " i n a hollow, facing north" (12) and exposed to the damp rains i n winter, the house becomes choked with "dead leaves" (12) l i k e the cesspool, and separated by "a sea of mud" (12), from the world outside. Reflected i n these opaque waters i s a three-fold v i s i o n of l i f e where the i n d i v i d u a l , society and nature mirror each other i n ever-diminishing c i r c l e s , u n t i l , at the centre, "the barr i e r s which should divide Man the Master from the Brute were dissolved" (215). I t i s here, i n the mud beneath, where i l l u -sion f a i l s that man must face the darkness i n himself and 65 "either be reborn or f i n a l l y die." 88 This c y c l i c a l movement i n the novel where the innocence of childhood, which seems so secure " i s o l a t e d on i t s green i s l a n d " (20), passes through the dark wood where the " b i t t e r herb" (243) of experience grows, i s seen i n the l i v e s of the Oliver family of Pointz H a l l and t h e i r guests at the pageant. I t i s apparent, however, that although i t s serenity soothes the terrors of the outside world, the nursery i s only a temporary refuge. In spite of the temptation, i t i s impossible to remain there and l i v e . When c u r i o s i t y about l i f e entices the i n d i v i d u a l into leaving the security of the room, the world outside exacts a t e r r i b l e p r i c e . With know-ledge comes the awareness that l i f e , with i t s b i t t e r d i s i l -lusionment, i s a journey man makes alone and i n fear to the grave. Beneath i t s blushing promise, the f r u i t the great tree bears i s "hard as stone" (182), and i n the garden below the nursery window "no words grow . . . nor roses either" (24 3). To William Dodge, as he tours the house with Bart Oliver's s i s t e r , Lucy Swithin, the children's room seems so safe from the cares and f r e t of l i v i n g . However, as he looks i n , he becomes aware that the children are gone and that the cot i s "empty" (88). I t seems to him as i f the room i s " l i k e a ship deserted by i t s crew" (88) and only the remnants of l i f e , the toys, damp clothes and pictures, and the warm, sweet smell of b i s c u i t s and milk, remain l i k e ghostly skele-tons. Through the open door there comes an ominous "rushing sound" (88) from the world outside threatening to c h i l l the "warm water" (88) of innocence. For i n the r e a l world, 89 f a i r y - t a l e s where children get t h e i r wishes and horses and dogs remain "Good Friends" (88), have h o r r i b l e , unhappy endings. But for the present, her children seem so protected to Isa Oliver as she waves to them from her window above the garden. Blowing them kisses which they do not see, she com-forts herself with the thought that they are safely absorbed in a d i f f e r e n t world; " i s o l a t e d on a green i s l a n d , hedged about with snowdrops, l a i d with a counterpane of puckered s i l k " (20). And yet, her l i t t l e son, George, already "lagged behind" (20) anxious to explore the mystery of l i f e at the roots of the great tree. In his eagerness to know the glowing flower he tears i t "membrane af t e r membrane" (16) u n t i l " i t blazed a soft yellow, lambent l i g h t under a f i l m of velvet" (16). Like the lighthouse, i t f i l l s his world with meaning for a moment as, " a l l the inner darkness became a h a l l , leaf smelling, earth smelling of yellow l i g h t " (17). For an instant, i t seems as i f he holds i n his hands "the flower complete" (17), when suddenly, the t r a n q u i l i t y of the garden i s destroyed by the "roar" and "hot breath" of "a peaked eye-less monster moving on legs, brandishing arms" (17). As George's fantasy world crumbles around him the "monster" turns into his Grandfather, Giles O l i v e r , lurking behind the tree with his " f a m i l i a r s p i r i t " (18), Sohrab, the Afghan hound. Gone i s the picture of the Newfoundland dog, the "Good Friend" of the nursery, and i n i t s place i s r e a l i t y 90 with i t s "hairy flanks . . . sucked i n and out" and "a blob of foam on i t s n o s t r i l s " (18). In the same manner that he "destroyed the l i t t l e boy's world" (236), Bart O l i v e r refuses to l e t his s i s t e r , Lucy, take refuge i n her memories of childhood. Shattering her daydreams, he reminds her of the r e a l i t i e s of that "very d i f f e r e n t world" (14) where her ••"mother • so" o f t e n 1 scolded'her in that very room. Forced to acknowledge the ugliness of the past, she r e c a l l s going f i s h i n g as a c h i l d and her brother growling at her to take the f i s h o f f the hook her s e l f . "The blood had shocked her" (28) and she remembers crying, "for the g i l l s were f u l l of blood" (28). Trying to d i s p e l these ghosts r i s i n g up i n the meadows of her memory, Lucy hums "an old chil d ' s nursery rhyme used to help a c h i l d " (87) as she shows William Dodge the bedroom where she was born. Suddenly, sensing that she w i l l understand and craving her sympathy, Dodge has the urge to "kneel before her, to kiss her hand" (90) and share the horrors of his childhood with her. He yearns to t e l l her how, despised for being homo-sexual, he was tormented at school and held "under a bucket of d i r t y water" so that when he "looked up, the world was a d i r t y place" (90) , and he saw himself "a f l i c k e r i n g , mind-divided l i t t l e snake i n the grass" (90). This image i n the novel of the world of experience as a contagion staining the innocence of childhood i s seen i n the l i v e s of a l l the major characters and i n the acts of the pageant i t s e l f , where youth i s exposed to the rapacious greed 91 of society. Unable or unwilling to discern the difference between i l l u s i o n and r e a l i t y , the i n d i v i d u a l becomes a vic t i m of his fantasies l i k e the young g i r l who "had gone skylarking with the troopers. She had screamed. She had h i t him . . . What then?" (25 3). As the demonic v i s i o n of the wasteland pervades the novel, there i s an increasing sense of the f u t i l i t y of the quest. When dreams of the past become a mockery, and attempts to f i n d some reassurance r e f l e c t e d i n art or nature f a i l , then each member of the audience i s l e f t to face the inescapable truth; the image of ourselves as we are, "arts, scraps and fragments" (225), alone i n the approaching darkness. However, of a l l the characters i n the novel, Lucy Swithin i s most successful i n maintaining the f a b r i c of i l l u s i o n . To Isa, the old lady's courage i n the face of her brother's relentless attacks on "her f a i t h " (31) i s astonish-ing; "What an angel she was—the old woman! Thus to salute the children; to beat up against those immensities and the old man's irreverences her skinny hands, her laughing eyes'." (31). With her gaze fixed on some unseen God, Lucy d r i f t s i n the misty world of her imagination dreaming about the past. Nicknamed "Old Flimsy" (35), she seems to be out of touch with the flow of l i f e , suspended as i f "between two f l u i d i t i e s , caressing her cross" (239), while above her "the a i r rushed" and "beneath was water" (239). Temporarily protected from r e a l i t y as she reads her favourite book, "The Outline of History," the world of "heaving, surging, slowly writhing" (13) 92 monsters appears safely immersed i n the swamps of the past. Whenever she lays the book aside, however, they suddenly loom before her s t a r t l e d eyes and, as i f awakened by a night-mare, she i s unable to distinguish the maid with her tray from a "leather-covered grunting monster" (14) which seems about to "demolish a whole tree i n the green steaming under-growth of the primeval forest" (14). Like a c h i l d h e r s e l f , Lucy i s f i l l e d with a tender concern for the helplessness of children, waving to them as they play or peeking i n on them while they sleep. I t i s t h i s awareness of the hurt c h i l d i n William Dodge which prompts her to take him away from the pain and humiliation of Giles's scorn to the t r a n q u i l i t y of the'nursery. Yet, when they reach the top of the s t a i r s , she seems suddenly "old and f r a i l " (86) to William, as i f a f t e r "the s t a i r s " and "the heat" (86) of the journey, the truth overwhelms her; "I was born. In t h i s bed" (86) . Dismayed by the t e r r i b l e r e a l i t y of b i r t h , she "sank down on the edge of the bed" (86), l i k e a c h i l d , "swinging her l i t t l e legs" (86) while she sings a nursery rhyme to drive the bad dreams away. It i s her brother, Bart, who forces Lucy to face the facts . Respecting his unswerving devotion to l o g i c , she i s s t i l l torn by the feelings of love and fear that he aroused i n her as a c h i l d . Seeking to protect her b e l i e f i n an ess e n t i a l beauty and goodness ordering l i f e , she t r i e s to ignore his voice of reason accusing her of "superstition" (33), as he "once more struck a blow at her f a i t h " (33). In her 93 e f f o r t to protect "her private v i s i o n " (240), she seems " v i r g i n a l " (241) to William Dodge, as i f , untouched by the r e a l i t y of the pageant, she i s s t i l l playing the role of "a g i r l i n a garden i n white, among roses . . . an unacted part" (241). I t i s only when her brother, who l i e s " i n the depths of her l i l y pool" (241), r i s e s to the surface forcing her to look at the "grey waters" (240), that she i s unable to ignore "the ba t t l e i n the mud" (237) beneath. Although t h e i r a f f e c t i o n for each other remains, brother and s i s t e r l i v e i n t o t a l l y d i f f e r e n t worlds of the imagination, for "what she saw he didn't; what he saw she didn't—and so on, ad infinitum" (33). Impatient with Lucy's distracted gaze, Bart finds her refusal to accept r e a l i t y mystifying and unforgiveable, f e e l i n g that by "skimming the surface" (237) of l i f e , her r e l i g i o n had made her "impercep-t i v e " (237). Determined to "carry the torch of reason t i l l i t went out i n the darkness of the cave" (240), Bart i s unable to believe that Lucy has ever r e a l l y been married or had children of her own. F a i l i n g to f i n d a l o g i c a l explana-t i o n for the mystery, he begins to i d e n t i f y her with the elusive swallows she loves and which return, year a f t e r year, to Pointz H a l l only to disappear "when winter storms wept i t s damp upon the panes" (17). As i f seeking some kind of answer he keeps repeating the l i n e s : "0 s i s t e r swallow, 0 s i s t e r swallow,/How can thy heart be f u l l of the spring?" (137), u n t i l the tr a g i c image of Philomela decends l i k e the 6 6 swallows themselves i n the gathering darkness of evening. 94 This sense of the destructive rel a t i o n s h i p between parent and c h i l d when the world of experience shatters the i l l u s i o n s of innocence, i s reinforced as the image of the Afghan hound, Sohrab, o ld Bart's " f a m i l i a r s p i r i t " (138), becomes intertwined with the legend of Rustum. The dog, refusing a l l " t i e s of domesticity" (25), epitomizes untamed youth r e b e l l i n g against the r e s t r i c t i o n s of a society which i n s i s t s on conformity. While the old man sympathizes with his dog's desire for freedom? his "veins swelled with rage" (238) at the thought of i t s being chained, s t i l l he re l e n t -l e s s l y imposes his w i l l on the "wild beast" (18) so that, "as he cringed at the old man's feet, a s t r i n g was slipped over his c o l l a r ; the noose that o l d Oliver always c a r r i e d with him" (18). Like his s i s t e r Lucy, Bart has dreams of the past and himself as a young sol d i e r i n India. However, even i n his dreams he i s unable to ignore the r e a l i t y of l i f e and i t i s as i f he sees himself " i n a glass, i t s lustre spotted" (24). Just as Rustum i n his ignorance destroyed Sohrab i n the desert, so Bart feels he has f a i l e d his son. F i l l e d with anguish at not knowing how to soothe Giles's pain i t seems to him that "he could not f i n d his son. He had l o s t him i n the crowd" (137). Unable to ease his son's unhappiness, the o l d man feels that his existence has become the wasteland of his dream where, there i s "no water; and the h i l l s l i k e grey s t u f f pleated; and i n the sand a hoop of r i b s ; a bullock maggot-eaten i n the sun; and i n the shadow of the rock, 95 savages" (24). Having spent a l i f e t i m e c l i n g i n g tenaciously to the facts stored i n books, he r e a l i z e s that they provide cold comfort i n times of sorrow and that, "compared with his son, he did not give a damn" (138) for a l l the reason i n the world. Old and weary, his veins swollen with only a "brownish f l u i d now" (24), he knows that he needs the young "to continue him" (24). Although annoyed with Isa when she wakes him, "destroying h i s dreams of youth" (24), i n r e a l i t y he i s grateful that, i n caring, she has "persisted i n stretching his thread of l i f e so f i n e , so far" (24). Mrs. Manressa, that "wild c h i l d of nature" (5 2), also embodies for him the beauty and excitement of the past, reminding him for a moment of the sensuous "spice islands" of "his youth" (52). Over-flowing with bountiful energy and self-confidence, she i s l i k e a f e r t i l i t y goddess possessing the power to renew his l i f e . I t seems to Bart that "she s t i r r e d the stagnant pools of his old heart even—where bones lay buried" (142). When the pageant ends, however, he i s dismayed to see that the makeup Mrs. Manressa has been putting on her face a l l day, now looks harsh and "plated" (236) i n the "sunset l i g h t " (236). D i s i l l u s i o n e d , he suddenly feels mutilated, as i f , i n destroying his v i s i o n of l i f e , she has "ripped the rag d o l l and l e t the sawdust stream from his heart" (236) leaving him a hollow man. When the bleakness of r e a l i t y becomes apparent, Bart feels t e r r i b l y c h i l l e d u n t i l , with the spark of hope extinguished, "he was l e f t with the ash grown cold and no glow, no glow on the log" (236) . Alone 96 i n the gathering darkness, he wanders through the garden pausing to stand under the great tree. I t was here, he r e a l i z e s , where the v i o l e t s grow among i t s great roots, that early t h i s morning "he had destroyed the l i t t l e boy's world" (238) . Unable to protect his v i s i o n by "kneeling" l i k e his s i s t e r Lucy, Bart Oliv e r i s forced to face the inescap-able truth that man's existence i s an endless sentence where he i s "Condemned i n l i f e ' s i n f e r n a l mine, condemned i n solitude to pine . . ." (138). With no r e a l reason to struggle against the oncoming night, i t i s only his inherent stubbornness that forces him to go "on with the hobble, on with the limp, since the dance was over" (236). While the old couple, admitting that "the game's, over" (117), become resigned to the inevitable cycle of l i f e , for Giles and Isa, torn between "love and hate" (252), i t i s s t i l l an endless journey through the wasteland of t h e i r dreams. Feeling "damnably unhappy" (205) and unable to communicate with each other, they surrender themselves to daydreams about the romantic p o s s i b i l i t i e s of l i f e . For Isa, "pegged down" (25) i n a marriage that i s disappointing, her fantasies about the elusive "man i n grey" (115) help to heal "the rusty fester of the poisoned dart" (243) of jealousy caused by her husband's " i n f i d e l i t i e s " (132). Giles Oliver, seeing his own sense of f a i l u r e r e f l e c t e d i n Isa's scorn, basks l i k e "a l i t t l e boy" (133) i n the glowing admiration of Mrs. Manressa. 97 Having out of necessity become a stockbroker i n the c i t y , when he would have preferred being "a gentleman farmer" (9), l i k e Rupert Haines, Giles feels entangled by convention just as Isa does. Like an a i l i n g Fisher King, he sees l i f e 68 as an a f f l i c t i o n which he i s impotent to cure. Without freedom of choice, he r e a l i z e s that "the conglomeration of things pressed you f l a t ; held you f a s t , l i k e a f i s h i n water" (59). No longer free to stand casting with "the stream rushing between his legs" (60), he f e e l s , i n his helpless f r u s t r a t i o n , that he i s the one caught f a s t , twisting desperately on the end of the l i n e . Haunted by the "ghost of convention" (5 8) which r i s e s to the surface before his h o r r i f i e d gaze, Giles sinks into a nightmare world, where even words "ceased to l i e f l a t i n the sentence. They rose, became menacing and shook t h e i r f i s t s at you. This afternoon he wasn't Giles O l i v e r come to see the v i l l a g e r s act t h e i r annual pageant; manacled to a rock he was, and forced passively to behold indescribable horror" (74). Disgusted at his i n a b i l i t y to act, to be part of the re a l world which i s " b r i s t l i n g with guns, poised with planes" (66), Giles can barely contain "his impatience with the old fogies" (66) he blames for his f a i l u r e . Ashamed of himself as a man, he projects his disgust onto William Dodge whose homosexuality he i n s t i n c t i v e l y senses. Enslaved by the conventions he despises, Giles feels that Dodge i s unnatural, "not a downright p l a i n man of his senses" (75) and i s not f i t to be mentioned " i n public" (75). 98 Unable to contain his rage any longer, G i l e s , l i k e a sulky l i t t l e boy, reverts to the childhood game of "stone-kicking" (118). As he kicks the "barbaric stone" (118) which looks "as i f cut by a savage for an arrow" (118), the game takes on the ominous overtones of a r i t u a l s a c r i f i c e i n which he becomes the victim of his own cowardice and impotence. Reaching the gate that seems to be locking him i n , Giles d i s -covers a snake and a toad linked i n a t e r r i b l e l i f e and death struggle. "There, couched i n the grass, curled i n an o l i v e green ring, was a snake. Dead? No, choked with a toad i n i t s mouth. The snake was unable to swallow; the toad was unable to die. A spasm made the ribs contract; blood oozed. It was b i r t h the wrong way round—a monstrous-inversion" (119). Appalled at the sight of t h i s s e l f - d e s t r u c t i o n i n nature, Giles i s shocked into acting at l a s t and " r a i s i n g his foot, he stamped on them. The mass crushed and s l i t h e r e d . The white canvas on his tennis shoes was bloodstained and sticky. But i t was action. Action r e l i e v e d him" (119) . To the romantic c h i l d i n Mrs. Manressa, anxious to sample a l l the sensations that l i f e has to o f f e r , his action seems heroic. She sees Giles as a slayer of dragons, bring-ing trophies to lay at her feet. However, to his wife, t i r e d of his sulking rages, his " l i t t l e t r i c k s " (133) are no longer admirable. For Isa he has become nothing more than "a s i l l y l i t t l e boy, with blood on his boots" (133). She has to keep reminding herself that he i s "the father of my children" (19) in an e f f o r t to bridge the awful chasms of misunderstanding 99 between them, where according to him, " i t made no difference; his i n f i d e l i t y — b u t hers did" (132). As Isa's feelings of loneliness and despair increase so do the images of imprisonment and suffering. Caught i n a marriage which i s no longer s a t i s f y i n g , she feels bound " l i k e a captive balloon, by a myriad of h a i r - t h i n t i e s into domesti-c i t y " (25). S i t t i n g i n the garden aft e r lunch, day-dreaming of the past, she t r i e s to suppress the pangs of regret which, "through the bars of the prison, through the sleep haze that deflected them" (82), were l i k e "blunt arrows, bruising her; of love, then of hate" (82). She remembers Giles as she f i r s t saw him, f i s h i n g i n Scotland, r i s i n g from the clear water of the stream l i k e some v i r i l e and triumphant God u n t i l she was caught as i r r e s i s t a b l y as the s i l v e r f i s h and pulled to shore. Yearning now, "above a l l things" (83), to escape the wasteland and return to the cool freedom of the stream, Isa longs for "cold water, a beaker of cold water" (83). Instead, as she glimpses her r e f l e c t i o n i n the "shining walls of glass" (82) of the "three-folded mirror" (19) i n her bedroom, her romantic dreams become clouded by the f i l t h y water of the cesspool. Trapped l i k e the mysterious Rupert Haines, his "ravaged face" (9) an image of his s u f f e r i n g , Isa feels tangled i n the " d i r t y duck weed" (TO), weighed down by the rules of convention u n t i l her "desire petered out, suppressed by the leaden duty she owed to others" (83). Recognizing with i n f i n i t e weariness the dreadful price of losing her i l l u s i o n s , Isa sees ahead the barren 100 wastes through which she i s doomed to wander; a place "Where the eyeless wind blows. And there grows nothing for the eye. No rose. To issue where? In some harvestless dim f i e l d where no evening l e t s f a l l her mantle; nor sun r i s e s " (181). She r e a l i z e s that to have to remain chained to the endless wheel of l i f e , tormented by "memories" and "possessions" (182), i s "the burden . . . l a i d on me i n the cradle" (182). The only escape i s to surrender to the "eyeless dark" (Myl3) that leads eventually to the peace of the grave: " a l l ' s equal there. Unblowing, ungrowing are the roses there. Change i s not" (181). Only death i t s e l f can end the lonely journey, "not.the f r a n t i c c r i e s of leaders who i n that they seek to lead desert us" (183). For Isa the v i s i o n of heaven that she kneels to i n private i s "a stone blue sky" where i n the f l a s h of " l i g h t n -ing . . . the thongs are burst that the dead t i e d " (183). Left to patter her l i f e out i n Pointz H a l l l i k e the b u t t e r f l y on the window pane, Isa gazes at the o l d pear tree i n the garden doomed to send i t s great roots ever deeper i n an endless search for water. Bearing "hard," b i t t e r f r u i t , i t becomes for Isa a symbol of her f u t i l e l i f e ; : longing for death, she seems a "withered tree that sighs when the Rider gallops" (183). Like a c h i l d she dreams of finding her answer i n the wishing well but the wish that she makes i s for death: "that the waters should cover me . . . there would the dead leaf f a l l , when the leaves f a l l , on the water" (124) . When the r a i n f a l l s during the pageant i t seems to Isa that her wish has come true. Drenched i n the great drops 101 she feels they are tears of sorrow shed on the a l t a r of l i f e "for human pain unending" (211) . With a sudden f e e l i n g of ecstasy, Isa longs, l i k e Septimus, to o f f e r herself to death, fe e l i n g i t w i l l bring r e l i e f from the anguish of l i v i n g : "0 that my l i f e could here have ending . . . i f so be tears could be ended" (211). But the s a c r i f i c e that she must lay down "on the a l t a r of the rain-soaked earth" (211), i s to go on l i v i n g , to continue the endless journey through the desert of her dreams. Doomed to "patiently stumble" (18 3) under the burden of l i f e l i k e the " l a s t l i t t l e donkey" (182) i n the caravan, she must force h e r s e l f to go on: "Rise up, donkey. Go your way t i l l your heels b l i s t e r and your hoofs crack" (182). A l l that remains for Isa when the i l l u s i o n f a i l s i s to s i t " i n the s h e l l of the room" (252) and watch "the pageant fade" (252), as darkness f a l l s . I t i s only by maintaining t h i s i l l u s i o n of order that nature can induce man to go on l i v i n g . Once we become aware of the truth that, i n spite of our desperate struggles, "there's no retreating or advancing" (136) against the "doom of sudden death hanging over us" (136), then l i f e becomes a hopeless "criss-cross of l i n e s making no pattern" (136). Appalled by the " l i t t l e s t r i p of pavement" (AWD,29) which man must t r a v e l over the abyss, V i r g i n i a Woolf f e l t i t was the task of the a r t i s t to attempt to weave some meaning into the f a b r i c of l i f e . She r e a l i z e d once we f a l t e r and plunge to the bottom, that, faced with the r e a l i t y that only bones l i e i n the mud beneath, we must either drown or go mad. 102 In Between the Acts, i t i s Miss La Trobe, the a r t i s t , who desperately t r i e s to create the i l l u s i o n with her annual production of the pageant at Pointz H a l l . Inevitably recurring "this year, l a s t year, next year" (240), l i k e the seasons, "the pageant and the weather" (29) seem a part of the great design of Nature. However, when the audience, s t a r t l e d from i t s trance i s made to face themselves-in the l a s t act, Miss La Trobe r e a l i z e s with horror that "something was going wrong with the experiment" (209). In spite of her e f f o r t s they "were s l i p p i n g the noose" (210), l i k e the wild beast, Sohrab. Unable to hold the crowd as i t disperses between the acts, she can only curse them i n her f r u s t r a t i o n , for "she f e l t everything they f e l t " (209). Aware that " r e a l i t y " i s "too strong" (209), she i s overwhelmed by the agony of f a i l u r e : "Panic seized her. Blood seemed to pour from her shoes. This i s death, death, death, . . . when i l l u s i o n f a i l s " (210). In spite of her suffering, Miss La Trobe, l i k e the Ancient Mariner, seems destined to repeat her ta l e to anyone who w i l l l i s t e n , for "another play always lay behind the play she had just written" (78). Although an "outcast" (247) from society and "set apart from her kind" (247) by nature, she knows that as an a r t i s t she i s destined to be "the slave of my audience" (247). However, unlike Narcissus, she i s aware that to look too deeply into the r e f l e c t i o n i s to drown i n i t . Nevertheless, as an a r t i s t i t i s impossible for her to ignore the r e a l i t y i n the "black cushion of mud" (54) beneath the surface. Inevitably i t i s there that she must plunge " l i k e 103 a great stone: (79), shattering the " c r i s s - c r o s s " of the "fine mesh" (79) whether she chooses to or not. It i s the a r t i s t who becomes the ultimate scapegoat i n a society that needs i t s i l l u s i o n s i n order to survive. Thus, standing against the tree i n the fading l i g h t , Miss La Trobe i s seen as a Christ - f i g u r e : "She had suffered triumph, humiliation, ecstasy, despair — for nothing" (245) . Feeling that her g i f t of l i f e i s a f a i l u r e , she gazes at the place among the gnarled roots where, i n her agony, "her heels had ground a hole i n the grass" (245). While, above her, a heedless nature continues the endless pageant; birds, i n a h a i l of "winged stones" (245), attack the tree i t s e l f u n t i l , " b i r d -blackened" (245), i t resembles " l i f e , l i f e , l i f e , without measure, without stop devouring the tree" (245). Although she i s overwhelmed by "the horror and terr o r of being alone" (247), Miss La Trobe cannot r e s i s t the "voyage away from the shore" (246) . Even as the "earth green waters seemed to r i s e over her" (24.6) , she gazes courageously into the mysterious depths searching for those "wonderful words" (248) i n the f e r t i l e mud beneath. But the t e r r i b l e v i s i o n she glimpses, s i t t i n g i n i s o l a t i o n i n the ambiguous whiteness of the smoky pub, i s the awful r e a l i t y of man turning l i k e Ixion on the re l e n t l e s s rack of l i f e : "There was the high ground at midnight; there the rock; and two scarcely perceptible figures . . . She heard the f i r s t words" (248) . 104 This image of the dark and rocky wasteland as the garden of man's beginning creates a f e e l i n g of desolation and the sense that i f there i s a God, he i s remote and i n d i f f e r e n t . Only Lucy Swithin, gazing vaguely at the "white summit of cloud" (204), seems able to gain some kind of reassurance of heaven. Although the pageant i s being performed i n an e f f o r t to "illuminate" the church, i r o n i c a l l y , the Reverend Streat-f i e l d , the church's spokesman, i s unable to explain the meaning of the play to the audience. Attempting to see i n the pageant an affirmation of the e s s e n t i a l unity of man and nature, he finds i t impossible to avoid the image of himself and the audience, caught i n the mirrors, fragmented and i s o l a t e d from one another. Disconcerted by having to include the r e f l e c -tion of the i d i o t i n his v i s i o n , the Reverend, at a loss for "Whom to thank?" (227), i s l e f t speechless. The majority of the spectators, f a i l i n g to f i n d the l i g h t of understanding i n the church, are l e f t wondering i f there i s any meaning to the pageant at a l l . The Oliver family and the v i s i t o r s who return each year to Pointz H a l l become an image of society desperately seeking some reassurance of a meaning to be found i n the drama of l i f e . Like a congregation hoping for an answer to t h e i r prayers, they come to praise the i l l u s i o n only to become i t s victims: " a l l caught and caged; prisoners; watching a spectacle" (205). With the voice of the church s i l e n t , the audience can only gaze longingly into the past as i t , passes before them on the terrace of Pointz H a l l . 105 "Against a background of sky" (9 3) and flanked by great trees " l i k e p i l l a r s " (93), the pageant begins with a l l the music and excitement of the Elizabethan Age. But as the play unfolds, i t becomes obvious that beneath a l l the g l i t t e r -ing colour l i e s the darkness of treachery and deceit. In the increasing noise and confusion, " i t didn't matter what the words were; or who sang what"(113). As the "Great E l i z a " (113) and her courtiers leave the stage with "Albert the i d i o t playing i n and out" (113) among them, i t seems to the audience that only death brings peace i n the struggle between love and hate as "the corpse on i t s bier concluding the procession, the Elizabethan age passed from the scene" (113). Between the acts of the play, the spectators scatter l i k e fragments of broken glass while the music seems to mourn for them i n t h e i r i s o l a t i o n . Isa r e a l i z e s sadly that, when the i l l u s i o n fades: " A l l i s over. The wave has broken. L e f t us stranded, high and dry. Single, separate on the shingle. Broken i s the three-fold ply . . . " (115). As she hums her mournful song, i t seems f u t i l e to Isa to i n s i s t on t r y i n g to repair the torn shreds of v i s i o n with " t h i s sham lure" (116) when the r e s u l t i s always a f a i l u r e . But for Miss La Trobe th i s f i n a l anguish i s the price that the a r t i s t must pay to ease the pain, for "a v i s i o n imparted was r e l i e f from agony . . . for one moment . . . one moment" (117). Gathering for the second act, the audience i s lured by music which promises the merry dance of May but, as the song ends, i t brings instead the ice of winter which f i l l s 106 "the grate with ashes" (141) but leaves "no glow on the log" (141). Trying to ignore "the i n f e r n a l , agelong and eternal order issued from on high" (142), the audience gazes eagerly into the Age of Reason, attempting to "see the hidden, j o i n the broken" (14 3). However, with the assurance that "Where there's a W i l l there's a Way" (174), the play reveals yet another layer of the corruption at the heart of society. As the scene ends i t i s obvious that i n spite of " a l l the fine words" (172), they are merely " t i n s e l wrapped around a Christmas cracker" (172). As the audience disperses once more, i t i s with the sense that i t i s a l l an i l l u s i o n a f t e r a l l : "There's no t r u s t i n g man nor woman; nor fine speeches; nor fine looks. Off comes the sheep's skin; out creeps the serpent" (172). While the a r t i s t , Miss La Trobe, works feverishly to hold the crowd l e s t they s l i p through her fingers, Lucy Swithin i s shaken by t h i s v i s i o n of the past. Trying to comfort herself with thoughts of "her childhood" for a moment, she "then gave i t up" (178), losing her sense of any purpose i n " t h i s d a i l y round; t h i s going up and down s t a i r s " (179). Suddenly "old-aged" (179) again, she i s unable to f i n d any meaning i n the past and gazes desper-ately at Miss La Trobe for help. "Their eyes met i n a common e f f o r t to bring a common meaning to b i r t h . They f a i l e d " (179). Art has helped Lucy only to r e a l i z e how i n s i g n i f i c a n t her l i f e has been and'"what a small part I've 107 had to p l a y 1 " (179). Suddenly her dreams rescue her once more and she fe e l s , "'I could have played . . . Cleopatra'. 1" (179) With the i r r e s i s t i b l e magic of an alchemist "who seethes wandering bodies and f l o a t i n g voices i n a cauldron" (180), Miss La Trobe gathers her audience with the promise of "a recreated world" (180). Gratefully they return to the dimly remembered peace and security of the V i c t o r i a n age where the home was a shrine with convention as i t s God. However, as the scene slowly unfolds, i t becomes apparent that the price of this order i s the death of the i n d i v i d u a l , because the "r u l e r of an Empire must keep his eye on the cot; spy too in the kitchen; drawing room; l i b r a r y ; wherever one or two, me and you, come together" (190). And should anyone dare to oppose authority or go against convention: "Let 'em sweat at  the mines; cough at the looms; r i g h t l y endure t h e i r l o t " (191). With t h e i r nostalgic memory of the past destroyed, the audience i s unable to ignore the r e a l i t y of the decay which festers beneath c i v i l i z a t i o n . The play has revealed the very heart of society," the home, to be "unhygenic" (202) l i k e "a b i t of meat gone sour" (202), and they are suddenly able to glimpse, "through the golden glory perhaps a crack i n the b o i l e r ; perhaps a hole i n the carpet" (230). Nature, as i f appalled at providing the setting for a world " f i l l e d with dumb yearning" (165), seems for a moment to take a part i n the play. While the a r t i s t i c v i s i o n f a l t e r s , a great storm cloud gathers unnoticed above them. Suddenly,"[tjhere i t was, black, swollen, on top of them. 108 Down i t poured l i k e a l l the people i n the world weeping. Tears, Tears, Tears" (210). F i n a l l y forced to gaze into the sorrowful depths, the audience sees themselves, the f i n a l act r e f l e c t e d i n the cruel glass. They squirm and twist i n an e f f o r t to avoid the " d i s t o r t i n g and upsetting" (214) r e f l e c t i o n , while the children, l i k e malicious "imps—elves—demons" (214), hold a l o f t the broken b i t s of mirror. In a wild confusion of barking dogs and bellowing cows a l l seem caught, l i k e the i d i o t , i n the c o i l s of some mad dance where, "the b a r r i e r s which should divide Man the Master from the Brute were dissolved" (215) . I t seems impossible that order can be restored while the "mirror bearers squatted; malicious, observant; expectant; expository" (217). Desperate to avoid t h e i r fragmented image i n the cracked and wavy mirror, the audience becomes resent-f u l , f e e l i n g sure "that's c r u e l . To snap us as we are, before we've had time to assume . . . And only, too, i n parts . . . That's what's so d i s t o r t i n g and upsetting and u t t e r l y unfair" (214). Sof t l y the music begins again, l i k e the calm a f t e r the storm, bringing with i t s soothing waves, "as they crashed; solved; united" (221), a f e e l i n g of security once more. But as the "scraps, orts and fragments" (221) of the audience gather i n renewed determination, the waters suddenly recede, revealing the Reverend S t r e a t f i e l d " l i k e a tramp's old boot" l e f t on the shore, a reminder of the fragmented wreckage of t h e i r hopes. In his hopeless fumbling for some 109 words or reassurance, they see re f l e c t e d t h e i r own absurdity: The whole l o t of them, gentles and simples, f e l t embarrassed for him, for themselves. There he stood; themselves; a butt, a clod, laughed at by looking-glasses; ignored by cows, condemned by clouds which continued t h e i r majestic rearrangement of the c e l e s t i a l landscape; an ir r e l e v a n t forked stake i n the flow and majesty of the summer s i l e n t world (222). As the roar of war planes shatters the calm evening with the r e a l i t y of man's vi o l e n t nature, the audience f i n a l l y r e a l i z e s that the world i s without meaning and asks: "Whom could they make responsible? Whom could they thank for t h e i r entertainment? Was there no one?" (227) Alone i n the coming darkness of evening, they long for "a centre. Something to bring us a l l together" (231). However, as they disperse for the l a s t time, the gramaphone, l i k e an exhausted oracle, 69 creates an xmage of Dante's dreadful c i t y of death as with i t s l a s t breath, " I t gurgled Un . . dis . . . And ceased" (235). Reluctant to stop, i t seems to be playing upon the words, sighing that l i f e i s a disease or, at best, merely a case of being undeceased. With the pageant over, the family, alone at l a s t , i s encased i n the " s h e l l of the room" (252) as evening comes on once more. The c i r c l e of l i g h t above them offers no warmth or comfort as they s i t l i k e i n s i g n i f i c a n t insects, each alone i n the desert of his or her dreams: "that hollow of sun-baked f i e l d where congregated the grasshopper, the ant, and the 110 beetle, r o l l i n g pebbles of sun-baked earth through the g l i s t e n i n g stubble" (25 3). Suddenly the creaking, o l d house seems "very b r i t t l e , very dry" (253), as i f i t i s the skele-ton of some r e l i c from the grave. Framed i n the great square of the open window" (255) which i s dark now, "drained of l i g h t , severe, stone cold" (255), old Bart Oliver s i t s l i k e a corpse shrouded i n his "great hooded chair" (251). As the shadows cover him, he appears " l e a f l e s s " and "spectral" (255) , an old "withered tree" (255) longing for the sound of the "Rider" (183) to gallop past. Meanwhile, his s i s t e r Lucy i n an e f f o r t to reassure herself, s i t s beside him " l i k e a c h i l d " (251), gently cares-sing her cross and d r i f t i n g o f f into her dreams of the past once more. However, as h e r " c i r c u l a r tour of the imagination" (204) r e l e n t l e s s l y returns her to the beginning, where man "half-human, half-ape roused himself from his semi-couching position and raised great stones" (255), she appears to Isa " l i k e the tragic figure from another play" (251) . Suddenly, as the image returns to Isa's mind of the screaming g i r l dragged down and raped by the troopers, i t seems to her that she i s also an innocent v i c t i m of the r e l e n t l e s s violence of l i f e . In her anguish, she f e e l s torn "asunder" by "love" and "hate" (252) as i f h e l p l e s s l y caught i n a tide which "rushed out embracing" and then "contracted" leaving her cast aside l i k e an "old boot on the shingle" (251). With her romantic dreams swept away, Isa s i t s watching the "pageant fade" as the "flowers flashed and faded" (252), i n I l l the shadows of the garden, f e e l i n g that " i t was time someone invented a new plot, or that the author came out from the bushes . . . " (252) . Alone at l a s t i n the darkness, Isa and Giles confront each other i n silence across the sea of bitterness which separates them. With the play over, they face the r e a l i t y that "before they slept, they must fi g h t ; a f t e r they had fought, they would embrace" (255). In spite of t h e i r f r a n t i c struggles they are bound i n the f a t a l c o i l of l i f e from which "another l i f e might be born" (256). Out of t h e i r reluctant merging with the darkness, the inevitable cycle w i l l be renewed i n the barren wasteland of man's beginning where, under a "sky without colour, the house had l o s t i t s shelter. I t was night before roads were made, or houses" (256). As the curtain r i s e s once again, i t reveals man c i r c l i n g i n a great void where "nothing's s o l i d " (232), u n t i l lured by his r e f l e c t i o n i n the " b i t t e r glass" he plunges to the bottom,aware, too late, that the " f a t a l image" of l i f e i s "the e c l i p s i n g Curse of b i r t h . " 7 0 112 NOTES William Butler Yeats, "The Two Trees," i n Selected Poetry, ed. A. Norman Jeffares (London: MacMillan and Company, 1963), p. 21. 2 V i r g i n i a Woolf, The Voyage Out (London: Hogarth Press, 1965), p. 18. After the f i r s t reference, a l l subsequent quotations from Woolfs novels w i l l be followed by page numbers in the text. 3 See A l i c e Van Buren Kelley,. The Novels of V i r g i n i a  Woolf: Fact and Vision (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1973), also N. C. Thakur, The Symbolism of V i r g i n i a Woolf (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), both of whom fe e l that the novels end with u p l i f t and renewal, affirming the b i r t h of a new, vigorous c i v i l i z a t i o n . 4 Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m (Princeton: University Press, 1957), p. 61. 5 . . Lee M. Whitehead, "The Shawl and the S k u l l : V i r g i n i a Woolf s 'Magic Mountain'.," Modern F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 413. Leonard Woolf, The Journey Not the A r r i v a l Matters (London: Hogarth Press, 1969), p. 71. 7 E. M. Forster, " V i r g i n i a Woolf," i n V i r g i n i a Woolf: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. C l a i r e Sprague (New Jersey: Prentice H a l l , 1971), p. 20. g Harvena Richter, V i r g i n i a Woolf: The Inward Voyage (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), p. 12. 9 Richter, p. 18. "^Leonard Woolf, Downhill A l l the Way (London: Hogarth Press, 1967), p. 55. "'""'"Carl Gustav Jung, Psyche and Symbol, ed. V i o l e t S. de Laszlo (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1958), p. 31. 12 J. Mooney, In. Recognition of Edgar A l l e n Poe, (Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press, 1964), p. 278. 13 Leonard Woolf, Beginning Again (London: Hogarth Press, 1964), p. 150. 14 Jonathan Baumbach, The Landscape of Nightmare (New York: New York University Press, 1965), p. 69. 113 15 P h y l l i s Webb, "Lament," i n Even Your Right Eye (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1956), p. 36. 16 Leonard Woolf, The Journey Not the A r r i v a l Matters, p. 73, 17W. B. Yeats, p. 21. 18 Josephine O'Brien Schaefer, The Three-Fold Nature of  Reality i n V i r g i n i a Woolf (London: Mouton and Company, 1965), p. 20. 19 V i r g i n i a Woolf, A Writer's Diary, p. 156. Woolf herself c a l l e d The Waves a "mystical, eyeless book," noting i n her diary that i t had "such a vague yet elaborate design; whenever I make a mark I have to think of i t s r e l a t i o n to a dozen more" (p. 146). C r i t i c s have been intrigued and challenged by i t s density and ambiguity which James Hafley argues i s W o o l f s "furthest exten-sion of the form of the novel proper" (p. 105). Frank McConnell c a l l s i t her "strangest and ri c h e s t novel" (p. 118). While, James Naremore, stating that i t i s "one of the most personal and i d i o s y n c r a t i c books i n English l i t e r a t u r e , " feels that i t i s a " f a i l u r e " where the reader "almost drowns i n the language" (p. 189). 20 Richter, p. 93. 21 James Naremore, The World.Without A Se l f : V i r g i n i a  Woolf and the Novel (New Haven: Yale University Press, 197 3), p. 9. 22 James Hafley, The Glass Roof (New York: Russell and Russell, 1954), p. 15. 2 3 R i c h t e r , p. 92. 24 Irving Malin, New American Gothic (Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1962), p. 106. 25 Richter, p. 25. 2 6 R i c h t e r , p. 25. 2 7 V i r g i n i a Woolf, The Voyage Out (London: Hogarth Press, 1965), p. 259. A l l other quotations from th i s novel w i l l be followed by a page reference within the text. 2 8 A l l e n McLaurin, V i r g i n i a Woolf: The Echoes Enslaved (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), p. 51. 29 R. T. Chapman, "The Lady i n the Lookmg-Glass: Modes of Perception i n a Short Story by V i r g i n i a Woolf," Modern F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 336. 114 Malm, p. 15. 31 C. G. Jung, Man and His Symbols (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1964), p. 170. 32 See The Voyage Out, p. 347 and pp. 404-405, for a recur-rence of t h i s image of nightmare. 33 The "Dance of Death" i s an a l l e g o r i c a l representation of the power of death over a l l ages and ranks and was a favourite subject with a r t i s t s of the Middle Ages. 34 Al f r e d Lord Tennyson, "The Lady of Shalott," i n V i c t o r i a n  Poetry and Poetics (Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n Company, 1959), p. 15. 35 M i t c h e l l A. Leaske, " V i r g i n i a W o o l f s The Voyage Out: Character Deduction and the Function of Ambiguity," V i r g i n i a  Woolf Quarterly, Vol. I (Winter 1973), No. 2, pp. 18-41. See an i n t e r e s t i n g analysis of W o o l f s altered text i n the Holograph and subsequent typescripts dealing with ambiguity i n the character of Helen Ambrose. John Milton, "Comus," i n The Student's Milton, ed. F. A. Patterson (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 19 30), pp. 6 3-•64. 3 7 M i l t o n , "Comus," p. 47. 38 Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Adonais," i n English Romantic  Poetry and Prose, ed. Russell Noyes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1956), p. 1081. 39 Quentin B e l l , V i r g i n i a Woolf: A Biography (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972), pp. 2 39-247. 40 V i r g i n i a Woolf, Night and Day (London: Hogarth Press, 1966), p. 358. A l l other quotations from t h i s novel w i l l be followed by a page reference within the text. 41 Hafley, p. 27. 42 Forster, p. 16. 4 3 V i r g i n i a Woolf, Jacob's Room (London: Hogarth Press, 1954), p. 28. A l l other quotations from t h i s novel w i l l be followed by a page reference within the text. 4 4 T . S. E l i o t , "The Wa.ste Land," i n Collected Poems (London: Faber and Faber, 1949), p. 61. 4 5 E l i o t , "The Waste Land," p. 75. 115 46 V i o l e t s and asphodel are a consistent image of death i n Romantic and Vi c t o r i a n poetry and also appear as an image of death i n every one of Wo o l f s novels. 4 7 E l i o t , "The Hollow Men," p. 87. 48 \ Alceste i s the hero of Moliere's Le Misanthrope and i s depicted as a frank man distressed at the d u p l i c i t y of society. 4 9 V i r g i n i a Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway (London: Hogarth Press, 1929), p. 102. A l l other quotations from t h i s novel w i l l be followed by page numbers within the text. 50 Mephitic vapours which are int o x i c a t i n g and foul smelling fumes r i s i n g from openings i n the earth, supposedly, inspir e d the oracular utterences of the Pythian priestess of Apollo at Delphi. 51 V i r g i n i a Woolf, To The Lighthouse (New York: Harcourt-Brace, 1927), p. 64. A l l other quotations from t h i s novel w i l l be followed by page numbers within the text. 52 V i r g i n i a Woolf, Between the Acts, p. 79. Miss La Trobe, the a r t i s t , refusing to be involved i n the i l l u s i o n s of society while desperately trying to create the i l l u s i o n of order through art: "splashed into the fine mesh l i k e a great stone into the l i l y pool. The cri s s - c r o s s was shattered." 5 3 Tennyson i n his poem "Demeter and Persephone" i n V i c t o r i a n  Poetry and Poetics, pp. 146-148, depicts Demeter 1s sorrowing search for Persephone i n images which r e f l e c t death and society without f a i t h or hope as the young g i r l leaves the world barren without her: "When here thy hands l e t f a l l the gathered flower," (1.9) and went "Along the s i l e n t f i e l d of Asphodel." (1.151) 54 Whitehead, pp. 401-415. See Mr. Whitehead's excellent a r t i c l e on To The Lighthouse and his discussion of Mrs. Ramsay's awareness of and at t r a c t i o n to "the all-pervading darkness that l i e s behind the v e i l s of l i f e " (p. 407). 55 Foreshadows Between the Acts and V i r g i n i a W o o l f s sense that beneath the surface of society i n r e a l i t y a l l was "Scraps, orts and fragments" (p. 225). 5Whitehead, p. 403. 57 Schaefer, p. 176. 5 8Woolf, A Writer's Diary, p. 272. 5 9Schaefer, p. 177. 6 0 Algernon Charles Swinburne, "Hymn to Proserpine" i n Vi c t o r i a n Poetry and Poetics, p. 646. 116 61 V i r g i n i a Woolf, The Years (London: Hogarth Press, 1958), p. 398. A l l subsequent quotations from t h i s novel w i l l be followed by page references within the text. ^ R i c h t e r , p. 178. 6 3 F r y e , p. 62. 64 V i r g i n i a Woolf, Between The Acts (London: Hogarth Press, 1969), p. 245. A l l subsequent quotations from t h i s novel w i l l be followed by page references within the text. ^ H a r r y Levin, The Power of Blackness (New York: Vintage Books, 1958), p. 164. 6 6 A. C. Swinburne, "Ity l u s " i n V i c t o r i a n Poetry and  Poetics, p. 643. 6 7 Matthew Arnold, "Sohrab and Rustum" i n V i c t o r i a n Poetry  and Poetics, pp. 450-461. 6 8 Jessica Weston, From R i t u a l to Romance (New York: Doubleday and Company, 1957), p. 135. 69 Dante, The Divine Comedy: I H e l l , trans. Dorothy L. Sayers (Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1949) , pp. 123-137. 70 Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Adonais ," p . 1083. 117: BIBLIOGRAPHY PRIMARY SOURCES Editions of V i r g i n i a Woolf Used i n This Study. Between the Acts. London: Hogarth Press, 1969. The Captain's Death Bed and Other Essays. London: Hogarth Press, 1950. Collected Essays: Volume I I . London: Hogarth Press, 1966. The Common Reader. London: Hogarth Press, 1929. The Common Reader: Second Series. London: Hogarth Press, 1932. The Death of the Moth and Other Essays. London: Hogarth Press, 19 42. Flush: A Biography. London: Hogarth Press, 1958. Granite and Rainbow. London: Hogarth Press, 1958. ^ Haunted House and Other Short Stories. London: Hogarth Press, 1953. Jacob's Room. London: Hogarth Press, 1954. The Moment and Other Essays. London, Hogarth Press, 1952. Mrs. Dalloway• London: Hogarth Press, 1929. Night and Day. London: Hogarth Press, 1966. Orlando: A Biography. Hogarth Press, 1958. A Room of One's Own. London: Hogarth Press, 1954. To The Lighthouse. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 192 7. V i r g i n i a Woolf and Lytton Strachey: Letters. London: Hogarth Press, 1956. The Voyage Out. London: Hogarth Press, 1965. The Waves. London: Hogarth Press, 1931. A Writer's Diary. Edited by Leonard Woolf. London: Hogarth Press, 1965. The Years. London: Hogarth Press, 1958. 118 SECONDARY SOURCES Araugo, Vi c t o r de. "'A Haunted House'—The Shattered Glass." Studies i n Short F i c t i o n , 3 (Winter 1966), 157-164. Alexander, Jean. The Venture of Form i n the Novels of V i r g i n i a  Woolf. New York: Kennikat Press, 1974. Alvarez, A. The Savage God: A Study of Suicide. Middlesex, England: Penguin Books, 1974. Baumback, Jonathan. The Landscape of Nightmare. New York: New York University Press, 1965. Bazin, Nancy. " V i r g i n i a W o o l f s Quest for Equilibrium." Modern Language Quarterly, 32 (September 1971), 305-319. B e l l , Quentin. V i r g i n i a Woolf: A Biography. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1972. Bennet, Joan. V i r g i n i a Woolf: Her Art As A Novelist. New York: Harcourt Brace, 194 5. Beja, Morris. "Matches Struck i n the Dark: V i r g i n i a W o o l f s Moments of Vision." C r i t i c a l Quarterly, 6 (Summer 1964), 137-152. Blackstone, Bernard. V i r g i n i a Woolf: A Commentary. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1949. Bodkin, Maud. Archetypal Patterns i n Poetry. New York: Vintage Books, 195 8. Brace, Marjorie. "Worshipping S o l i d Objects: The Pagan World of V i r g i n i a Woolf," i n Kerker Quinn and C. Shattuck eds., Accent Anthology. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1946, pp. 489-495. Brewster, Dorothy. V i r g i n i a Woolf. New York: Gotham Library, 1962. Chapman, R. T. "The Lady i n the Looking Glass: Modes of Perception i n a Short Story by V i r g i n i a Woolf." Modern F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 331-337. C o l l i n s , Robert G. Virginia' Woolf s Black Arrows of Sensation: "The Waves." Ilfracombe, England: A. H. Stockwell, 1962. Cummings, Melinda Feldt. "Night and Day; V i r g i n i a W o o l f s Visionary Synthesis of Reality." Modern F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 339-349. 119 Daiches, David. The Novel and the Modern World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939. Dante, The Divine Comedy, trans. Dorothy L. Sayers. Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1949. Edel, Leon. The Psychological Novel, 1900-1950. New York: Lippincott, 1955. Forster, E. M. "The Early Novels of V i r g i n i a Woolf." In his Abinger Harvest. New York: Harcourt Brace, 19 36, pp. 106-115. Fox, Stephen D. "The Fish Pond as Symbolic Centre i n Between  The Acts." Modern F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 467-473. Friedman, Norman. "The Waters of Ann i h i l a t i o n : Double Vi s i o n in To The Lighthouse." ELH, XXII (March 1955), 61-79. Frye, Northrop. Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays. Princeton: University Press, 1957. Garnett, David. The Flowers of the Forest. London: Chatto and Windus, 1955. Gorsky, Susan, "'The Central Shadow': Characterization i n The Waves." Modern F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 449-466. Guiget, Jean. V i r g i n i a Woolf and Her Works. London: Hogarth Press, 1965. Hafley, James. The Glass Roof: V i r g i n i a Woolf As Novelist. New York: Russell and Russell, 1954. Hartman, Geoffrey H. "Vir g i n i a ' s Web." Chicago Review, 14 (Spring 1961), 20-32. Hassan, Ihab H. "The Daydream and Nightmare of Narcissus," Wisconsin Studies i n Contemporary Li t e r a t u r e , I (Spring-Summer 1960), 6-14. Holtby, Winnifred. V i r g i n i a Woolf. London: Wishart,. 1932. Hulcoop, John F. " V i r g i n i a W o o l f s Diari e s : Some Reflections After Reading Them and a Censure of Mr. Holroyd." B u l l e t i n of the New York Public Library, 75 (1971), 301-310. Hume, Robert D. "Gothic Versus Romantic: A Revaluation of the Gothic Novel." PMLA, March 1969, 282-290. 120 Jung, Carl Gustav. Man and His Symbols. New York: D e l l Publishing Company, 1968. . Psyche and Symbol, ed., V i o l e t S. de Laszlo. New York: Doubleday and Company, 195 8. Kirkpatrick, B. J. A Bibliography of V i r g i n i a Woolf. London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 195 7. Leaska, M i t c h e l l A. V i r g i n i a Woolf s Lighthouse: A Study i n C r i t i c a l Method. New York: Columbia University Press, 1970. . " V i r g i n i a W o o lfs The Voyage Out: Character Deduction and the Function of Ambiguity," V i r g i n i a Woolf  Quarterly, I (Winter 1973), 18-41. Levin, Harry, The Power of Blackness. New York: Vintage Books, 1958. Love, Jean O. Worlds of Consciousness: Mythopoetic Thought  i n the Novels of V i r g i n i a Woolf. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1970. Lowry, Nelson. "Night Thoughts on the Gothic Novel." Yale  Review, 52 (Autumn 1962), 236-257. McConnell, Frank D. "'Death Among the Apple Trees': The Waves and the World of Things." Bucknell Review, 16 (December 1968), 23-39. Reprinted i n C l a i r e Sprague, ed., V i r g i n i a  Woolf: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays, pp. 117-129. McLaurin, A l l e n . V i r g i n i a Woolf: The Echoes Enslaved. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 197 3. McNichol, S t e l l a . Mrs. Dalloway's Party: A Short Story Sequence by V i r g i n i a Woolf. London: Hogarth Press, 197 3. Malin, Irving. New American Gothic. Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s University Press, 1962. Marder, Herbert. Feminism and Art: A Study of V i r g i n i a Woolf. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968. Mellers, W. H. " V i r g i n i a Woolf: The Last Phase." Kenyon  Review, IV (Autumn 1942), 381-387. Moody, A.D. V i r g i n i a Woo1f. New York: Grove Press, 1963. Mooney, J. In Recognition of Edgar A l l e n Poe. Ann Arbour: University of Michigan Press, 1964. Naremore, James. The World Without A S e l f : V i r g i n i a Woolf and the Novel. New Haven: Yale University Press, 197 3. 121 Nicolson, Nigel. P o r t r a i t of a Marriage• London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973. Pippett, Aileen. The Moth and the Star: A Biography of  V i r g i n i a Woolf. Boston: L i t t l e , Brown, 1955. Rantavaara, Irraa. "Romantic Imagery i n V i r g i n i a W o o l f s The Waves with a Special Reference to An t i t h e s i s . " Neuphilologische Mitteilungen, 60 (April 1959) , 72-89. Richter, Harvena. V i r g i n i a Woolf: The Inward Voyage. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970. Rosenberg, Stuart. "The Match i n the Crocus: Obtrusive Art i n V i r g i n i a W o o l f s Mrs. Dalloway." Modern F i c t i o n  Studies, 13 (Summer 1967), 211-220. Savage, D. S. The Withered Branch: Six Studies i n the Modern  Novel. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1950. Schaefer, Josephine O'Brien. The Three-Fold Nature of Reality  i n the Novels of V i r g i n i a Woolf. The Hague: Mouton and Company, 1965. Seelye, John. M e l v i l l e : The Ironic Diagram. Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970. Simon, Irene. "Some Aspects of V i r g i n i a W o o l f s Imagery." English Studies (Holland), 41 (June 1960), 180-196. Sprague, C l a i r e , ed. V i r g i n i a Woolf: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l  Essays. Englewood C l i f f s , New Jersey: Prentice H a l l , 1971. Stewart, Jack F. "Existence and Symbol in The Waves." Modern  F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 433-447. Thakur, N. C. The Symbolism of V i r g i n i a Woolf. London: Oxford University Press, 1965. T i n d a l l , William York. The L i t e r a r y Symbol. New York: Columbia University Press, 1955. VanBuren Kelly, A l i c e . The Novels of V i r g i n i a Woolf: Fact  and Vision. Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1973. Varma, Devendra P. The Gothic Flame. New York: Russell and Russell, 1966. Wagenknecht, Edward. Cavalcade of the English Novel. New York: Holt, 1943. 122 Webb, P h y l l i s . Even Your Right Eye. Toronto: Mc C l e l l a n d and Stewart, 1956. Weston, Jessica L. From Ri t u a l to Romance. New York: Doubleday and Company, 1957. Whitehead, Lee M. "The Shawl and the S k u l l : V i r g i n i a Woolf 1s * Magicc Mountain 1." Modern F i c t i o n Studies, 18 (Autumn 1972), 401-415. Wilkinson, Ann Y. "A P r i n c i p a l of Unity i n Between The Acts." C r i t i c i s m , 8 (Winter 1966) , 53-63. 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