Virginia Woolf As An Artist Essay
“Perhaps it was the middle of January in the present that I first looked up and saw the mark on the wall” (Woolf 1).
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” (Woolf 1). The mark interrupts this thought process, bringing the speaker to halt in her “fancy” and launching the story into a whirlwind of cognizance. 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. As Robert Stanley Martin points out, Woolf uses modernist ideals that 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…