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At Dan’s birthday, Laura becomes irritated when he spits on the cake while blowing out the candles. She feels a spasm of rage and feels trapped in her role as a domestic. The anger passes and she thinks about how Dan is steady and reliable. She asks Richie if he made a wish and if he wants to help cut the cake. Laura thinks of how the room is full of happiness and goodness, but the moment will pass and eventually disappear from memory.
After dinner, Virginia tries to read but keeps thinking about the fact that Leonard has agreed to move back to London. She thinks of the kiss she gave Vanessa and how it was full of the complexity and mystery that she associates with London. She realizes that Clarissa Dalloway must have loved a woman and have kissed her once and carried the memory of the kiss her whole life. Leonard interrupts Virginia’s thoughts to tell her to go to bed by eleven. As she stands in the living room watching the light play off the tabletop, she has a revelation about Clarissa’s suicide. She decides that someone other than Clarissa will commit suicide, someone who is sick in the mind and sees the whole world as meaningful.
Laura stands in the bathroom and brushes her teeth. She knows that Dan will want to have sex with her when she gets into bed and realizes that she won’t be able to have any time to read. A shadow crosses behind her in the mirror and she opens the medicine cabinet. She looks at a full bottle of sleeping pills and thinks about how easy it would be to use them to commit suicide.
Laura enters the bedroom and stands by the side of the bed while Dan asks her to get in. Her mind seems to detach from her body, and she feels as though she is floating above the scene. She feels as if she is reading the scene in the way a person would read a book. Even though she knows so much about the situation, she does not feel as if she is participates in it.
Laura Brown, now an old woman, comes into Clarissa’s apartment with Clarissa and Sally. Julia has put away all of the food purchased for the party, but the flowers are still there. Julia has fallen asleep on the couch, and they wake her up. Julia tells them that a few guests didn’t receive the message and showed up to the party. One of the guests was Louis, who broke down when he received the news that Richard had killed himself. Julia stayed and talked with him until he calmed down and left. Julia and Sally go to the kitchen to get food for Laura, while Laura and Clarissa sit in the living room.
Laura and Clarissa sit in awkward silence, and Clarissa asks her if she would like to go to bed. Laura says that she’ll be ready for bed in a little while. In Richard’s poems, Laura is portrayed as a failed suicide and a mother who walks out on her family. Clarissa considers this portrayal and how strange it is that Laura has outlived her whole family.
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