Past in Mrs. Dalloway

“…and she couldn’t ask him, for he had changed. He was rather shrivelled-looking, but kinder, she felt, and she had a real affection for him, for he was connected with her youth…” (Woolf 184)

The notions of living in the past and being unable to cope with the evolution of human beings through time are established through the enduring relationships of the characters such as Clarissa, Peter, and Sally. The past and the present are repeatedly connected through the vivid memories the characters share at Bourton. The past life of their bonds is revived in their present thoughts made clear through the external narrator’s glimpses into the interiority of each character. This duality creates a tension in the novel by allowing the actions of the past to continue to influence the characters’ lives in the present.