George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

Summary

 

In the year 1984, London is the principal city of the Oceanian province known as Airstrip One. Oceania, alongside Eurasia and Eastasia, is one of the three totalitarian superpowers into which the world is now divided. The ruling power in Oceania is known as the Party and headed by the mysterious Big Brother, whose face appears all over the city on posters reading “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” The Party’s rule is supported by four Ministries: the Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Peace, the Ministry of Plenty, and the Ministry of Truth, where thirty-nine-year-old Winston Smith works in the Records Department. His job is to alter, or “rectify,” records and documents in order to make them agree with current Party policy, thereby ensuring that the Party always appears infallible. Engraved on the front of the huge white building that houses the Ministry of Truth are three Party slogans: “WAR IS PEACE,” “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY,” and “IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.” Through the telescreens installed in every Party member’s home and throughout the city, the Party is able to keep its citizens under constant surveillance while simultaneously subjecting them to an endless stream of propaganda. Most of Oceania’s populace is made up of the “proles,” or proletariat, whom the Party regards as natural inferiors. Meanwhile, the nation is perpetually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, though as they are currently at war with Eurasia, the Party claims they have never been at war with Eastasia. An equally important enemy is Emmanuel Goldstein, a discredited former leader of the revolution that brought the Party to power who supposedly now heads an underground resistance from abroad.

Winston still dimly remembers the time before the Party seized power and before his parents disappeared, and he secretly harbors unorthodox ideas. He begins a diary in which he writes “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” and other dangerous entries that could get him arrested by the Thought Police and executed for thoughtcrime. Though he doesn’t believe anyone but the Thought Police will ever read his diary, Winston feels he is addressing it to O’Brien, a high-ranking Inner Party member whom Winston believes might share his anti-Party sentiments. Meanwhile, Winston also becomes convinced that a young woman who works in the Fiction Department is spying on him. One evening he takes the risk of skipping the government-sponsored group activities at the Community Center to take a solitary walk. In a prole pub, he attempts to question an old man about whether life was better or worse before the revolution but receives only the man’s vague and disconnected recollections in answer. Afterward, Winston takes the further risk of going into the junk shop where he bought his diary and chatting with the proprietor, Mr. Charrington, from whom he buys a beautiful antique glass paperweight. On his way out, Winston sees the woman from the Fiction Department coming toward him and rushes home in terror. Sometime later, in a corridor at the Ministry of Truth, Winston sees the same woman trip and fall on her arm, which is in a sling. Winston feels empathy for her in spite of his suspicions, and as he helps her up, she slips him a note that says “I LOVE YOU.” The two arrange a clandestine meeting in the countryside and begin a love affair, although non-procreative sex between Party members who aren’t married to each other is strictly forbidden. Winston regards the first time he sleeps with the free-spirited, sexually liberated young woman, who is named Julia, as a political act and believes unfettered sexual desire has the power to destroy the Party.

Winston rents a room above the junk shop from Mr. Charrington, and this room becomes his and Julia’s sanctuary. The room is old-fashioned, lacks a telescreen, and prominently displays the antique glass paperweight that Winston bought at the shop and now imagines represents the private world he and Julia have created. They often hear a prole washerwoman singing in the courtyard below the shop. Winston comes to strongly believe that the only hope for the future of humanity lies in the proles’ becoming politically conscious and mounting a rebellion against the Party. He and Julia talk about rebelling against the Party as well but are unsure how to do so. Winston believes the two of them should think of themselves as “the dead” since there is no doubt that their transgressions will eventually lead to their arrest, torture, and execution in the Ministry of Love (the most terrifying of the Ministries, which deals with maintaining law and order). They agree that although they will be forced to confess under torture, the Party cannot truly “get inside” them or make them betray their feelings for each other.

One day at the Ministry of Truth, Winston is approached by O’Brien, who gives him his address. Winston is convinced that he has finally made contact with the rebellion he always dreamed of. When he and Julia visit O’Brien’s apartment, the Inner Party official indeed recruits them for the Brotherhood, the underground resistance led by Goldstein. Winston and Julia pledge to do whatever it takes on behalf of the Brotherhood, including murder and suicide, as long as they don’t have to be parted. O’Brien warns them that their crimes against the Party will inevitably lead to their arrest.

At the end of Hate Week, an event meant to stoke antagonism toward Oceania’s enemies, it is announced that Oceania is now at war with Eastasia rather than Eurasia (and therefore has always been at war with Eastasia). That same day, O’Brien sends Winston a copy of Goldstein’s book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism. Winston is finally able to read it in the room above the junk shop after the employees of the Ministry of Truth spend a grueling week altering documents to reflect that the Party is and has always been at war with Eastasia. The book explains how the Party claimed and maintains power, including its use of doublethink, a mental process by which an individual can accept whatever the Party says and then forget they ever believed anything different or engaged in this mental process at all. Winston finds the book a reassuring articulation of his own beliefs about Party doctrine and believes its final message must be that hope lies with the proles. Before he can finish it, however, he and Julia are arrested. It is revealed that an antique engraving on the wall of the rented room concealed a telescreen and that “Mr. Charrington” is actually a member of the Thought Police. Winston’s cherished paperweight is smashed and the lovers are separately dragged away.

Winston finds himself in the Ministry of Love, where he is kept in a windowless cell. Other prisoners come and go until Winston is left alone, at which point O’Brien enters and reveals that he has been loyal to the Party the whole time. For the next several weeks or months, Winston is brutally beaten by armed guards, then interrogated by Party intellectuals until he confesses to a long list of invented crimes. In the next phase of his torture, O’Brien delivers waves of pain and electric shocks to Winston while attempting to convince him to accept Party doctrine. This is all, O’Brien says, done in the interest of “curing” Winston of the insanity that prevents him from seeing the only true reality—the reality created by the Party. For a while after these “sessions,” Winston is left alone in a cell to recover, but when he involuntarily shouts Julia’s name and then confesses that he still hates Big Brother, he is taken to the ominous Room 101 for the final step in his “cure.” There, each prisoner faces the one thing they find completely unendurable, which in Winston’s case is a cage containing two rats set to devour his face. As O’Brien lowers the cage over Winston’s head, Winston finally betrays Julia by begging for his punishment to be transferred to her.

After his release, Winston is no longer of interest to the Party. He spends his days drinking copious amounts of gin at the Chestnut Tree Café, occasionally going to work at his new job on a pointless Ministry of Truth sub-committee. He and Julia see each other once in the park and confess that they betrayed each other. Rather than feeling the desire he once had for Julia, Winston wants only to return to his usual table at the Chestnut Tree. His final defeat comes when, after the telescreen in the café announces Oceania’s victory over Eurasia, Winston is overcome by love for Big Brother and a joyous hope that he will soon be executed.

(source: enotes.com)

 

 

 

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Dashiell Hammett: Red Harvest

Plot:

The Continental Op is called to Personville (known as “Poisonville” to the locals) by the newspaper publisher Donald Willsson, who is murdered before the Op has a chance to meet with him. The Op begins to investigate Willsson’s murder and meets with Willsson’s father, Elihu Willsson, a local industrialist who has found his control of the city threatened by several competing gangs. Elihu had originally invited those gangs into Personville to help him impose and then enforce the end of a labor dispute.

The Op extracts a promise and a signed letter from Elihu that pays the Continental Detective Agency, the Op’s employer, $10,000 ($140,000 in 2017 dollars) in exchange for cleaning up the city and ridding it of the gangs. When the Op solves Donald’s murder, Elihu tries to renege on the deal, but the Op will not allow him to do so.

In the meantime, the Op is spending time with Dinah Brand, a possible love interest of the late Donald Willsson and a moll for Max “Whisper” Thaler, a local gangster. Using information from Brand and Personville’s crooked chief of police, Noonan, the Op manages to extract and spread incriminating information to all of the warring parties. When the Op reveals that a bank robbery was staged by the cops and one of the mobs to discredit another mob, a gang war erupts.

But the Op wakes up the next morning to find Brand stabbed to death with the ice pick the Op handled the previous evening. There are no visible signs of forced entry. The Op becomes a suspect sought by the police for Brand’s murder, and one of his fellow operatives, Dick Foley, leaves Personville because he is uncertain of the Op’s innocence.

The Op, now wanted by the police, entices Reno Starkey, a gang lieutenant, to take on the last strong rival mob, led by Pete the Finn. The last gangs are whittled down by pipe bombs, arson, gun fights, and corrupt cops gunning down the survivors.

The Op tracks down Starkey, the only gang leader still alive. Starkey is bleeding from four gunshot wounds, having just killed mobster Whisper Thaler. Starkey reveals that he was the one who stabbed Brand, and that she had collided with the semi-conscious Op so he looked like the culprit.

The corrupt police chief Noonan and the gang leaders are all dead. The Op blackmails Elihu Willsson into calling the governor, who sends in the National Guard, declares martial law, and suspends the entire police force. Elihu Willsson gets back his town, as promised—although not in the way that he had anticipated. The Op returns to San Francisco, where the Old Man (the chief of the Continental Detective Agency’s office) gives him “merry hell” for his activities.

(source: Wikipedia)

 

Harper Lee: Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a Watchman covers four primary periods in the life of Jean Louise Finch:

1. Childhood Memories

Although Go Set a Watchman is set when Jean Louise is 26 years old, her flashbacks to childhood make up a significant portion of the novel. Jean Louise’s mother died when Jean Louise was 2 years old, and her father, Atticus, and her family’s black cook, Calpurnia, raised her. As a young girl, Jean Louise spent most of her time playing games of make believe with her brother, Jem, and their friend Dill. During this childhood, Atticus defended a black man accused of rape in a high-profile trial.

Hank proved to be a hero once again when Jean Louise attended her first high school dance. She wore a pair of false breasts underneath her dress that slipped out of place while she was dancing. Hank noticed and took her outside, where he threw the offending “falsies” into the darkness. The next day, the high school principal was furious after finding the falsies hanging from a school billboard and threatened to punish the owner. Hank cleverly managed to keep both himself and Jean Louise from getting into trouble.

2. Homecoming (Saturday)

Jean Louise travels by train from New York City to her childhood home of Maycomb, Alabama. At the train station, she is met by Hank, who has always loved her and asks her to marry him on their drive home. Jean Louise refuses but agrees to go on a date with him. They return home, where Jean Louise sees her father, Atticus, and her aunt Alexandra. The four of them make small talk, briefly discussing politics and recent court rulings undoing racial segregation in the South.

After Hank and Atticus leave for work, Alexandra tells Jean Louise that Hank would not be a suitable husband because he is of a lower social status. Alexandra’s prohibition makes Jean Louise more interested in marrying Hank than she has ever been. She and Hank go on a date that night, visiting a dock that the Finch family used to own. They flirt and push each other into the water.

3. Disenchantment (Sunday)

The next morning, town gossips claim that Hank and Jean Louise were swimming naked the night before. Alexandra is furious that Jean Louise has damaged the family’s reputation, but Atticus doesn’t mind. They attend church, where the music director, Herbert Jemson, tries to play new music because a Northerner told him to. Uncle Jack chides Herbert and insists that traditional Southern hymns are better.

After Sunday dinner, Hank and Atticus go to a citizens’ council meeting at the courthouse. Jean Louise finds a pamphlet about the inferiority of black people in the living room, and Alexandra tells her that it belongs to Atticus. Troubled, Jean Louise goes to the courthouse and eavesdrops on the meeting, where a pro-segregation speaker talks about black people by using the same offensive language as the pamphlet, and Atticus and Hank sit there seeming to approve of his words. Jean Louise can’t believe that her father and Hank would be part of such a group—especially not Atticus, who has always fought for justice for blacks.

Shocked by what she has seen and heard, Jean Louise wanders out of the courthouse and to the site of her childhood home, where an ice cream parlor now stands. She buys a pint of ice cream, eats it, and vomits. Then she goes home and goes straight to bed, asking Alexandra to cancel her date with Hank and to tell him she is having her period.

4. Coming of Age (Monday)

Jean Louise wakes up early on Monday and mows the lawn until her aunt yells at her to stop waking the neighbors. Hank comes over during breakfast to tell Atticus that Calpurnia’s grandson Frank hit and killed a white man while driving his father Zeebo’s car. Atticus says he will take the case to keep the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) from getting involved. Jean Louise goes to visit Calpurnia, hoping to console her and to be consoled in return. Calpurnia is polite but distant, treating Jean Louise as a “white person,” not as someone who is nearly family.

Jean Louise attends a “Coffee” (a women’s social event) that Alexandra holds in Jean Louise’s honor, where she listens to women talk about race and realizes that her community has always been far more racist than she realized. Afterward, she goes to visit Uncle Jack, who tells her that she needs to understand Southern history in order to understand the racial tensions around her. When she leaves, Jack calls Atticus to tell him about her crisis of belief.

Jean Louise goes downtown to confront first Hank and then Atticus. Although neither one totally agrees with the racist rhetoric of the citizens’ council, both of them have reasons for choosing to tolerate it. Jean Louise condemns them both and returns home to pack and leave Maycomb for good. Uncle Jack comes to stop her, and when she won’t listen, he hits her so hard she nearly passes out.

The blow calms Jean Louise, and she listens quietly as Jack tells her that the real root of her anger is that she has always relied on Atticus as a model of right and wrong, and now for the first time she is developing a conscience of her own. Jean Louise goes to pick up Atticus from work and asks his forgiveness, but he says he is proud of her for defending what she believes is right.

(source: cliffsnotes.com)

 

Alexander McCall Smith: Tears of the giraffe

The Tears of the Giraffe is an amusing book by Alexander McCall Smith about the lives of two people who become engaged in Gaborone, Botswana. Mma Ramotswe, the founder of the No. 1 Ladies’

Detective Agency, agrees to marry Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, the proprietor of the Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. This is the second time he had proposed marriage to her and he does not believe his good fortune. He worries that she changed her mind during the night. When he calls her in the morning, they agree to meet for lunch at the President Hotel to celebrate their engagement.

Both Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni and Mma Ramotswe are ethical people with deep roots in the traditional old fashioned Botswanan values and customs. For example, Mma Ramotswe becomes upset by people who shake hands without putting the free hand on the forearm or accept a gift with one hand instead of two. Both are kind and considerate people who appreciate each other and they both have a problem of being persuaded by people who they cannot say no to.

Mma Ramotswe is the only lady detective in Botswana. Her inability to say no to Mrs. Andrea Curtin results in her attempt to find out about the disappearance of Andrea’s son, Michael, ten years ago. She also becomes involved in uncovering the activities of her fiancee’s unscrupulous maid. Mma Ramotswe ends up promoting her secretary to the position of assistant private detective and investigating the philandering wife of the butcher, Mr. Badule, to see how she comes up with money to send their son to a private school.

In the middle of all this, her finance appears with two orphan children that he has been talked into accepting by the matron of the orphan farm. He wonders how he was persuaded to do this without consulting his fiancee, Mma Ramotswe. Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni feels that he cannot go back on his promise to the children to provide a good home for them. Instead of being angry about his impulsive actions, Mma Ramotswe says that she is lucky to be marrying such a kind man. So a few days after their engagement, they become a family of four.

This delightful book reveals some insights into Botswana’s changing society where the youth are losing the traditional values of their culture like youth everywhere in the world. Both Mma Ramotswe and Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni adhere to the old fashioned values. The reader will find this easy to read book very refreshing and will enjoy the reading of the book and the situations that the characters seem to find themselves in.

(source: bookrags.com)

 

 

Amy Tan: The Joy Luck Club

 

Note: without having read the book yet, it seems it has a lot of interrelated chapters difficult to sumarize, so I put here a brief introduction and a link to the chapters summary.

Ramon

link: https://www.shmoop.com/joy-luck-club/summary.html

Summary

We’re going to be honest here: there’s way too much going on in The Joy Luck Club to briefly summarize. You should definitely go check out the chapter summaries to get a better grasp on everything that happens…and everyone it happens to.

Here’s why: this book details a whopping eight perspectives on living a life that’s rich with both Chinese history and traditions and American life and traditions. The novel is comprised of sixteen chapters, with each woman (with the exception of Suyuan) getting two chapters with which to tell her story.

And, surprisingly, this novel isn’t several thousand pages long. (It weighs in at at relatively slim 288 pages.)

The novel opens after the death of Suyuan Woo, an elderly Chinese woman and the founding member of the Joy Luck Club. Suyuan has died without fulfilling her “long-cherished wish” to be reunited with her twin daughters who were lost in China. Suyuan’s American-born daughter, Jing-mei (June) Woo, is asked to replace her mother at the Joy Luck Club’s meetings.

At the first meeting, Jing-mei learns that her long-lost half-sisters have been found alive and well in Shanghai. The other three elderly members of the Club – her mother’s best friends and Jing-mei’s “aunties” – give Jing-mei enough money to travel to China and meet her sisters. Essentially, Jing-mei has the opportunity to fulfill her mother’s greatest wish. Jing-mei’s aunties assign her the task of telling her twin sisters about the mother they never knew. The only problem is, Jing-mei feels like she never really knew her own mother.

This simple premise allows the book to cast a much wider net—it raises the question of how well daughters know their mothers. The other three members of the Joy Luck Club – Ying-ying, Lindo, and An-mei – all have wisdom that they wish to impart to their independent, American daughters. However, their daughters – Lena, Waverly, and Rose – all have their own perspectives on life as Americans.

No shocker here: the moms and daughters don’t always see eye to eye, despite loving each other. They’re intelligent, complicated women whose lives are made even more complicated by the fact that they live at the intersection of different languages and cultures.

At the end of the book, Jing-mei flies to China to meet her half sisters. She’s extremely apprehensive about meeting them but, when the sisters do meet for the first time, they instantly hug and cry. Jing-mei’s mother’s wish has been fulfilled, and through the process, Jing-mei feels that she has come closer to her mother.

(source: shmoop.com)

 

Alan Bennett: The Uncommon Reader

The title’s “uncommon reader” (Queen Elizabeth II) becomes obsessed with books after a chance encounter with a mobile library. The story (follows the consequences of this obsession for the Queen, her household and advisers, and her constitutional position.

The title is a play on the phrase “common reader”. This can mean a person who reads for pleasure, as opposed to a critic or scholar. It can also mean a set text, a book that everyone in a group (for example, all students entering a university) are expected to read, so that they can have something in common. A Common Reader is used by Virginia Woolf as the title work of her 1925 essay collection. Plus a triple play – Virginia Woolf’s title came from Dr. Johnson: “I rejoice to concur with the common reader; for by the common sense of readers, uncorrupted by literary prejudices, after all the refinements of subtilty and the dogmatism of learning, must be generally decided all claims to poetical honours.”

In British English, “common” holds levels of connotation. A commoner is anyone other than royalty or nobility. Common can also mean vulgar, as common taste; mean, as common thief; or ordinary, as common folk.

(source: Wikipedia)

Donna Leon: suffer the little children

When Commissario Brunetti is summoned in the middle of the night to the hospital bed of a senior pediatrician, he is confronted with more questions than answers. Three men—a young Carabiniere captain and two privates from out of town—have burst into the doctor’s apartment in the middle of the night, attacked him and taken away his eighteenth-month old baby boy. What could have motivated an assault by the forces of the state so violent it has left the doctor mute? Who would have authorized such an alarming operation? At the same time, Brunetti’s colleague Inspector Vianello discovers a money-making scam between pharmacists and doctors in the city. But it appears as if one of the pharmacists is after more than money. Donna Leon’s new novel is as subtle and fascinating as ever, set in a beautifully-realized Venice, a glorious city seething with small-town vice.

(source goodreads.com)

 

Siri Hustvedt: The Summer Without Men

Mia Fredrickson, the wry, vituperative, tragic comic, poet narrator of The Summer Without Men,has been forced to reexamine her own life. One day, out of the blue, after thirty years of marriage, Mia’s husband, a renowned neuroscientist, asks her for a”pause.” This abrupt request sends her reeling and lands her in a psychiatric ward. The June following Mia’s release from the hospital, she returns to the prairie town of her childhood, where her mother lives in an old people’s home. Alone in a rented house, she rages and fumes and bemoans her sorry fate. Slowly, however, she is drawn into the lives of those around her — her mother and her close friends,”the Five Swans,” and her young neighbor with two small children and a loud angry husband — and the adolescent girls in her poetry workshop whose scheming and petty cruelty carry a threat all their own.

From the internationally bestselling author of What I Loved comes a provocative, witty, and revelatory novel about women and girls, love and marriage, and the age-old question of sameness and difference between the sexes.

(source: Sirreadinggroupguides.com)

 

Jo Nesbo: headhunters

Roger Brown, the main protagonist in Headhunters, is an intriguing guy. He is small: only 1 meter 68 centimeters – five and a half feet. Despite what some might view as an obstacle, he is extremely successful, very well-respected, and quite attractive to beautiful women. He has that certain “je ne sais quoi” – that extra-special something; the glitter in the eye, the wit, the sharp edge, the charisma. He is hands-down the best headhunter in Norway, and he knows it. His talent has led to stunning successes for some very fortunate corporations and has saved others from ruinous disasters.

Roger Brown is married to the stunningly beautiful and desirable Diana – definitely a sight for sore eyes but a very expensive woman to maintain. So, even though Roger makes a small fortune at his profession, he finds himself in deep financial trouble. He and his delightful and charming wife always manage to spend far more than even Roger is able to bring home.

So Roger needs to make some serious money on the side. Which he does. He has a second career where he is every bit as competent as he is in his “day” job. Roger Brown is an extremely adept art thief. In a sense, he has leveraged his job as a headhunter into this second, highly profitible career – Roger-the-Headhunter learns many things that are useful for Roger-the-Thief. And he doesn’t mind stealing from his clients, just as long as the chances of his being found out are minimal.

However, after breaking into the house of the ideal candidate for a very high-level position, he suddenly realizes he may have gone one step too far. Brown felt certain that the theft of the candidate’s Rubens would be the solution to his financial woes. The final solution, in fact. But in the house, he discovers something which leads him to believe that the relationship between him and his beloved Diana may not be exactly what it seems. Then, the next morning he finds his “partner in crime” dead in the front seat of his own car. Something is very wrong, indeed: The headhunter/art thief has now become the prey of a depraved but very smart and experienced man-hunter. If Roger is to come out of this in one piece, he will have to employ all of his considerable brainpower, wits and skills, and will need a very hefty dose of luck as well.

(source: bookblog.scandinavianbooks.com)

Virginia Woolf: Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway is not your typical day-in-the-life story, but it is a day-in-the-life story – a revolutionary one at that. It covers one day for Clarissa Dalloway (with some other central characters, too) as she prepares for a big party that will take place that evening.

Plot summary:

As the novel begins, Clarissa strolls through Westminster, her neighborhood in London, on her way to a flower shop. Along the way, a few big things go down: she runs into an old friend named Hugh Whitbread, an explosion comes from a diplomatic car on its way to Buckingham Palace, and an “aeroplane” does a little skywriting. (Wow, that’s way more than what typically happens to us on the way to get flowers.)

When she gets back from her errand, an old friend and former suitor, Peter Walsh, shows up unexpectedly. They’re happy to see each other, but there’s still some tension. Peter is clearly still in love with Clarissa, and she feels like he judges her for the decisions she’s made – among them marrying the conservative but loyal Richard Dalloway (instead of him). Numerous flashbacks – including one of Clarissa’s kiss with a girl named Sally – fill in the story as it happened years ago at her family’s country home, Bourton. Feeling desperate over his own unfulfilling life, Peter gets weepy and asks Clarissa if she really loves Richard. Before she can answer, Elizabeth (her daughter) interrupts, and Peter heads out to Regent’s Park.

We then move to the perspective of Septimus Warren Smith, a shell-shocked World War I veteran who saw Evans, his friend and officer, killed in war. Septimus’ wife, Lucrezia, is trying to distract him as they wait for an appointment with Sir William Bradshaw, a mean old psychiatrist.

The third person omniscient narrator takes us back to Septimus’ life before the war: he was an aspiring poet, read Shakespeare, and loved Miss Isabel Pole. After the war and Evans’ death, Septimus becomes emotionally numb – he can’t feel anything. On a total whim, he becomes engaged to Lucrezia, whose home he’s staying at in Milan, Italy. Back in the present day, Septimus is driven deeper into madness, including some crazy hallucinations. Lucrezia is also miserable, homesick for Italy, and tired of taking her husband to various soulless doctors. Whereas Dr Holmes thinks Septimus is just “in a funk,” Dr Bradshaw diagnoses that he “lacks Proportion.” Neither acknowledges the fact that the war has impacted Septimus (which seems pretty obvious to us).

While Clarissa rests and prepares for the party, Richard has lunch with the impressively rich and British upper crust Lady Bruton. After lunch, Richard wants to go home and tell Clarissa he loves her, but he cops out and just gives her flowers instead. Clarissa actually cherishes the independence she has in her marriage, knowing that she could never have that with Peter. In the meantime, Clarissa’s daughter goes off shopping with her friend Miss Kilman, whom Mrs Dalloway hates. And by hates, we mean despises, loathes, and absolutely cannot stand.

Meanwhile, Septimus and Lucrezia wait at their apartment for Sir William Bradshaw, who is coming to take Septimus to a psychiatric home. The couple shares a rare moment of joy, but before Bradshaw enters the apartment, Septimus throws himself out the window and is impaled on the fence outside. He would rather die than have the doctor steal his soul. Yikes.

When Clarissa’s party begins, she circulates, making sure to pay attention to every guest – especially the prime minister (um, yeah, we’d do the same). Peter and Sally patiently await some attention from Clarissa as they talk about their memories of Bourton. A late arrival, Sir William Bradshaw, shows up with his wife, who announces that Septimus has killed himself. Clarissa is annoyed that Lady Bradshaw mentioned death at her party, but she is envious of Septimus’ ability to embrace the moment. Finally, she returns to the party and her appearance fills Peter’s heart with joy.

 

(source: shmoop.com)