Yes, Clarissa thinks, it’s time for the day to be over. We throw our parties; we abandon our families to live alone in Canada; we struggle to write books that do not change the world, despite our gifts and our unstinting efforts, our most extravagant hopes. We live our lives, do whatever we do, and then we sleep—it’s as simple and ordinary as that.

This passage comes at the very end of the book, after the primary narrative threads have been wrapped up. Clarissa’s musings serve as a summation of the characters. All the dramas of their lives, which have played out over the course of three individual days, have drawn to a close. But even though we know the outcomes of the lives, we don’t see how the characters get there: Laura attempts suicide and leaves her family, but we don’t see this happen. Virginia gets to return to London, but Cunningham does not describe what happens in the years between the day he describes and her suicide. Clarissa’s future is uncertain as well. This passage puts everything in perspective. Even daily events as drastic as “abandoning our families to live alone in Canada” feel minuscule, because they happen to so many people every day. Clarissa acts as a kind of Greek chorus, summarizing the main action of the book. Though some of the journeys and outcomes remain unclear, in the end all people are alike, doing what they must to get through their days until they can sleep forever.