Mrs. Dalloway: Chapter 14 - Summary

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Clarissa’s Evening Party.

      Clarissa’s party is on and guests are arriving there. She is busy in welcoming them with common saying: “How delighted to see you.” Prime Minister is also there in the party When Peter reaches there, Mrs. Dalloway’s words seem to him very insincere. He starts thinking that he has committed a mistake in attending the party. Seeing him Clarissa at once understands his troubled thought. She thinks it is idiotic on his part. Meanwhile, Lady Bruton comes in and Clarissa gets surprised to see uninvited Sally Seton in the party. Bradshaw was also there.

      Clarissa is continuously feeling the presence of Septimus Warren Smith through the conversation of Bradshaws about him. She gets annoyed at the discussion of someone dead at her party. An accident or death makes Clarissa always unhappy. She comes to know that Septimus had committed suicide by throwing himself down from the window. “Up had flashed the ground; through him, Blundering, bruising, went the rusty spikes. There he lay with a thud, thud, thud in his brain, and then a suffocation, a blackness. So she saw it. But why had he done it?’’ She begins to flunk that Dr. Bradshaw is responsible for it. She comes to realize that life is made intolerable. She thinks that Bradsaw like people makes life intolerable for the men like Septimus. She feels a kind of emotional unity with Septimus. She had also wished to die but escaped; the young man has killed himself. She seems to admire him. She becomes glad to know that he had done it while others go on living.

      Reflecting in such a manner Clarissa leaves the party, enters a little room to be all alone with the thought of Septimus. Peter wonders at Clarissa’s absence and Sally explains to him that because a number of dignitaries have come into the party, she must be engaged in welcoming them.

      Now Peter Walsh and Sally start discussing the past life. Peter remembers some scene when he had wept by the side of fountain. Sally recalls that dreadful ridiculous scene when Clarissa had preferred Richard Dalloway to Peter. In his youth, Peter has thought of being a writer and he could not fulfill that Sally is happy in her home with five sons. Peter confesses it that his life is not easy going and simple for him because his relation with Clarissa is of a very critical nature. He says to Sally that Clarissa has cared more for Richard but she corrects him by saying that Clarissa has cared more for him than for Richard. Moreover, her married life is not happy.

      Thus “our last glimpse of Clarissa is of pity and understanding. She has gone away from her party, stepped aside into a little room, "to be alone with the thought of Septimus who killed himself.” Though Peter points out Clarissa’s faults and short-comings yet “all the time he is wanting her to come. Sally rises to go. “I will come,” says Peter, but he sits on for a moment. What is this terror? What is this ecstasy", he thinks to himself. He finds Clarissa causing such excitement in him. Thus he decides to take leave after talking with her And now she comes in and he finds her pure and adorable with all her faults and short-comings.”

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