Like all the other stories in the Mrs Dalloway’s Party sequence, this is principally a study in social alienation, egoism, and the life of the imagination. It is yet another example of people interacting politely in what appears on the surface to be a civilized manner, whilst the narrative reveals the emotional and intellectual chasms that separate them.
Bertram Pritchard is an almost comic study of the crashing bore, even though he is ‘an esteemed civil servant and a Companion of the Bath.’
Written down what he said would be incredible — not only was each thing he said in itself insignificant, but there was no connection between the different remarks.
Sasha Latham on the other hand is ‘tall [and] handsome’ but inwardly feels lacking in confidence. Disattending to her fellow guest, she retreats into a series of imaginative speculations concerning the nature and the history of society.
There is no overt criticism of Pritchard, only deeply ironic counterpoint. Sasha Latham even manages to feel sympathetic towards him as she searches through a jumble of memories and sense impressions for some sort of meaningful insight.
And she finds it – very briefly – in the vision of a tree she sees in the garden. She also realises that the revelation might come by accident, and it does as she feels that the human soul ‘is by nature unmated, a widow bird; a bird perched aloft on that tree’ – before the revelation is shattered both by Pritchard guiding her back to what he sees as their social duty in the house, and by the inarticulate shriek she hears from the city that surrounds them.
Book year: 2016
Book pages: 8
Book language: en
File size: 531.15 KB
File type: epub
Published: 02 July 2020 - 22:00