William Woolf 's The Mark On The Wall Essay

William Woolf 's The Mark On The Wall Essay

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“Perhaps it was the middle of January in the present that I first looked up and saw the mark on the wall” (Woolf 1).
-- Narrator


The narrator opens the story by trying to recall the specific instance of when they saw the reputed “mark on the wall.” They reflect back to the moment, hypothesizing that it was January—late winter, perhaps evening time after tea. They were smoking a cigarette, reading a book in front of the fire and echoing back to childhood fantasy. The narrator recaptures the moment—the way the fire reflected yellow upon her book, the chrysanthemums on her mantle piece, and how in her mind the burning coals remind her of the crimson flag of the red knights “riding up the side of the black rock.” The mark interrupts this thought process, bringing the speaker to halt in her “fancy” and launching the story into a whirlwind of cognizance (Woolf 1). Virginia Woolf’s 1921 version of The Mark on the Wall is filled with carefully worded metaphor that provides a perfectly painted picture of her thought process. Modernist ideals are woven through vivid imagery pertaining to the chaos of life and the mystery of what comes after, as well as the nature of war and its masculine qualities. She relies upon the natural world and complex sentences heavy used to effectively reflect her train of thought, directing readers in a multiplicity of directions before returning to her point of origin: the mark. The narrator, whom we may assume is Virginia Woolf herself, reflects inward, using the mark on the wall not only as a focal point for her stream of conscious, but as a paintbrush to illustrate her thoughts.
Woolf specifically emphasizes color and nature in her writing, taking special care in specifying that the mark is “black upon th...


... middle of paper ...


...sely the mark is. In between, Woolf focuses on reality and nature, emphasizing color on multiple occasions to enhance the vibrancy of her literary style. In the end, as a second figure makes an appearance, the narrator gets her answer. It isn’t a hole or the remnants of a rose, nor the jutting head of a nail. As it so happens, the inspiration behind the narrator’s thought process is all due to a small, inconsequential snail, made important only by the catalytic qualities it has on Woolf’s prose (Woolf 16).


Works Cited
Parker, Raetta. "The Meaning of Colors." OnCourse. Indiana University. Web. 9 May 2016. .

Reece, Steve. "Homer 's Asphodel Meadow." Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Duke University, 2007. Web. 8 May 2016. .

Woolf, Virginia. "8. The Mark on the Wall. Woolf, Virginia. 1921. Monday or Tuesday." Bartleby.com. W.W. Norton, n.d. Web. 8 May 2016. .

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