Sunday, May 10, 2020

Virginia Woolf and the wandering imagination in "The Mark on the Wall"

While the narrator of Virginia Woolf's "The Mark on the Wall" wonders whether an unusual "mark on the wall" is a nail, a hole, or something else, she wanders through long trains of associations. When she considers getting up to check, she rejects the idea first because she couldn't "say for certain" and later because she can't see what she'd "gain". When she exhorts herself, her mind still wanders into questions: "I must jump up and see for myself what that mark on the wall really is – a nail, a rose-leaf, a crack in the wood?" Only when someone complains about the "snail" on the wall does her imaginative wandering end. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 10 May)

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