Virginia Woolf in her novel has emphasized the use of private thoughts to judge character as compared to most authors who use actions. In my view, this is because to Woolf, thoughts are uncorrupted – they reflect an individual’s immediate course of action before he or she evaluates things such as consequences, forcing to have alternative reactions. Most of what Sally feels about Clarissa and vice versa is generally reflected in their private thoughts.
We see that Clarissa views Sally as a dear friend. As a young girl, Clarissa spends a lot of her time with Sally who often used to run away from her home to avoid scandal. Through these interactions, they build a bond that will last throughout their lives. Thirty four years later, Clarissa is still as fond of Sally as she was before. Sally has the same view of Clarissa. She seems grateful for the time they spent together when they were young ladies. Though each of their lives took different routes in relation to each other, it is clear from their reflections on their past lives that what they had shared had formed so deep seated memories in both of them that even in their prime ages they still cherish.
Sally is also an inspiration to live life large on Sally’s account. In the book, there are instances where Sally is described as rouge in a sense of their world at that time. She is highly opinionated in a not so ladylike fashion. She smokes cigars, which is an activity not simply confined to men, but also considered to be extremely unladylike. From the reflections of her past, there was a time she ran naked to fetch her sponge bag. By doing this, she risked being seen naked by others and losing her dignity as a respectable woman. Clarissa in a way is portrayed as admiring Sally’s wit.
The author has fashioned Clarissa’s character as merely coping with her situation in life. She does all she can to create happy moments, perhaps, as a form of escapism from the harsh realities of life. The way in which Sally lives her life is a form of inspiration to Clarissa. She lives life large even in the face of all the shortcomings that it had afforded her.
Sally is also one of Clarissa’s role models. Even with Sally’s outgoing personality, she, in her later years, confined herself to the societal norms of their community. Clarissa does not seem happy with her life. She does not take much pleasure or interest in matters such as politics and forms of modern history. However, these are the walls she is confined to by both her husband and her daughter. Another clear indication of her unhappiness is her reaction when the news of young Mr. Smith’s death reached her. She felt somehow similar to him - the youthful man who had committed suicide.
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She was slightly happy that he had killed himself. The clock was striking and at the same time, the leaden circles dissolved in the air. He made her feel the beauty; made her have fun. However, she must go back, she must assemble. Sally is described by most critiques of this novel as one who is confined to the youthful whims of the soul. Nevertheless, years later she is married, performs wifely duties and has even given birth to five children. From the quoted text, we see that Clarissa sees death as a way out of misery and seems to be admiring Smith for choosing that path. Nonetheless, she cuts herself short by remembering that she has a world to go back to, Sally perhaps.
Clarissa also seems to love Sally a little more than a friend. “She (Clarissa) feels about women (Sally) as men feel,” but does not interpret them as feelings of homosexuality! She describes the kiss she had with Sally as the happiest moment of her life. However, it is exceedingly clear that she has had achievements in her life that are far more worth her happiness than a little kiss. Her husband, though distant, has tried to make her comfortable in every possible way. Moreover, we see that Peter Walsh is still in love with Clarissa, even after all these years. However, of all her three loves, Clarissa seems to be most fond of Sally in thought.
Sally, as compared to Clarissa, has a slightly less attached approach to their love relationship on the day that the novel is based. This is seen when she does not make a truly fond reference to their kiss. Secondly, she is more concerned with her trivia‘s with society in regard to her bashful character. She, however, views Clarissa a worthy companion and holds her in a respectful light. She also sees Clarissa as a person that compliments her weaknesses and her shortcomings because of her subtle ways.
Unlike her, she is ladylike and uses more socially accepted ways to reach out to people and her opinions. For instance, she was keen on throwing parties while she was keen on making vile almost inappropriate comments about issues. In this light Sally is seen to admire Clarissa. Her admiration can be seen in the choices she made in later years. She married a rich man just like Clarissa. She has also transformed into a devoted housewife and even gave birth to children. Sally reflects on Clarissa’s actions towards her, especially in the past, as those of kindness and appreciation.
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