the etcetera. Woolf claims that “the masculine point

the criticism to those people that don’t develop their ownideas, although they follow somebody’s thinking: ‘Everybody follows somebody,such is the philosophy of WhitakerThis literary pattern was very discussed by the modernists,because they defend that the reality and the man are changing all the time andit would be impossible to prove or know something in its totality.the recurring mention of Whitaker’s Table of Precedency.

This table (or “list,” as Woolf refers to it) is first mentioned when her maincharacter muses about the standards for men and women. The list is taken fromWhitaker’s Almanack and portrays the hierarchy for officials events. The Kingor Queen is at the top, followed by princes, archbishops, etcetera. Woolfclaims that “the masculine point of view” establishes this table and shecontinually expresses her hope that it will disappear. her need as a writer to create the shifting, vivid lifeas it is lived— the thoughts as they change from one subject to another,the connections between our minds, the subterranean life of which weremain largely unaware.

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The narrator for much of the story is lost in freeassociated thought, but the mark on the wall continues to bring her out of herthoughts and emotions.  Several times she mentions wanting to escape theconstraints of reality.  For example, she says “I want to sink deeper anddeeper away from the surface, with its hard, separate facts.

“1This stream of consciousness is achieved in several manners:long versus short sentences, the present participle, repetition of words andevents, and her use of punctuation. However, Woolf’s style is more important than the plot,mostly because there is no true plot. The sentences are part of a functionalunity, used for stylistic purposes Fragments, or sequences of fragments, tend to occur at thebeginning of paragraphs. They introduce a new thought or vision, a sudden jump fromone to the other. Some of the longer sentences contain jumps as well; however,they are less unexpected because the reader can see exactly how Woolf came tothese thoughts. returns to that one mark.

Whitaker and his Table ofPrecedency and the theme of nature are repeated throughout the story as well,to show the difference between man-made reality, which can and should changeover time, and true reality, which will always remain the same, even afterhumankind is gone. 1Virginia Woolf and Literary Impressionism, Linda Nicole Blair, University ofWashington


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