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Extra resources for Oeuvres, Tome 4
What else contributes to lulling her, then? The fact that her children are in bed has set her free from 'all the being and the doing, expansive, glittering, vocal,' and a number of the words describing her state convey the removal of things and reduction of her life: 'evaporated', 'shrunk', 'shed', 'sank down', 'pushing aside' and 'losing'. There is also another repetitive action, her knitting, which allows her mind to 'be silent; to be alone'. Notice that the knitting continues without interfering with her thoughts ('Although she continued to knit, and sat upright, it was thus that she felt herself').
There is one more feature of Woolf's style that appears in this extract, which is worth remarking. In Mrs Dalloway we found that a subtle ironic connection was established between Peter Walsh's ideal woman, and the statue of Gordon, by the use of 'black' as a motif-word to describe both. In this case, the use of 'netted' and 'net' repays attention. It occurs three times: first as 'fruit was netted and covered over', then as a hostile image, 'hateful, like a net folding one's limbs in its meshes', and finally as Bernard's control over the formlessness of life when he 'netted them under with a sudden phrase'.
3. Classify the content of the extract into two opposing descriptions, and reduce these to clear summaries of the two sides. Then do the same for the mental 'actions' of the extract: what the character's mind does In this way you can define the conflict and the mental process you are studying. 4. Several features of style are useful pointers, helping us to locate the mental events we most want to understand: Analysing Virginia Woolfs Novels 46 • Long sentences tend to show a mental process in action either by • • • • • their features or in their structure.