"And there is a dignity in people; a solitude; even between husband and wife a gulf; and that one must respect, thought Clarissa, watching him open the door; for one would not part with it oneself, or take it, against his will, from one’s husband, without losing one’s independence, one’s self-respect — something, after all, priceless."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"The whole world was clamouring: Kill yourself, kill yourself, for our sakes. But why should he kill himself for their sakes? Food was pleasant; the sun hot; and thus killing oneself, how does one set about it, with a table knife, uglily, with floods of blood, — by sucking a gaspipe? He was too weak; he could scarcely raise his hand. Besides, now that he was quite alone, condemned, deserted, as those who are about to die alone, there was a luxury in it, an isolation full of sublimity; a freedom which the attached can never know."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"This susceptibility to impressions had been his undoing no doubt. Still at his age he had, like a boy or a girl even, these alternations of mood; good days, bad days, for no reason whatever, happiness from a pretty face, downright misery at the sight of a frump."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"Brief, broken, often painful as their actual meetings had been what with his absences and interruptions (this morning, for instance, in came Elizabeth, like a long-legged colt, handsome, dumb, just as he was beginning to talk to Clarissa) the effect of them on his life was immeasurable. There was a mystery about it. You were given a sharp, acute, uncomfortable grain — the actual meeting; horribly painful as often as not; yet in absence, in the most unlikely places, it would flower out, open, shed its scent, let you touch, taste, look about you, get the whole feel of it and understanding, after years of lying lost…She had influenced him more than any person he had ever known."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"Life itself, every moment of it, every drop of it, here, this instant, now, in the sun, in Regent’s Park, was enough. Too much indeed. A whole lifetime was too short to bring out, now that one acquired the power, the full flavour; to extract every ounce of pleasure, every shade of meaning; which both were so much more solid than they used to be, so much less personal."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"For she was a child, throwing bread to the ducks, between her parents, and at the same time a grown woman coming to her parents who stood by the lake, holding her life in her arms which, as she neared them, grew larger and larger in her arms, until it became a whole life, a complete life, which she put down by them and said, “This is what I have made of it! This!” And what had she made of it? What, indeed? sitting there sewing this morning with Peter."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway 

"And it was smashed to atoms — his fun, for it was half made up, as he knew very well; invented, this escapade with the girl; made up, as one makes up the better part of life, he thought — making oneself up; making her up; creating an exquisite amusement, and something more. But odd it was, and quite true; all this one could never share — it smashed to atoms."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"By conviction an atheist perhaps, he is taken by surprise with moments of extraordinary exaltation. Nothing exists outside us except a state of mind, he thinks; a desire for solace, for relief, for something outside these miserable pigmies, these feeble, these ugly, these craven men and women."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"One cannot bring children into a world like this. One cannot perpetuate suffering, or increase the breed of these lustful animals, who have no lasting emotions, but only whims and vanities, eddying them now this way, now that."

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

"Clarissa had a theory in those days — they had heaps of theories, always theories, as young people have. It was to explain the feeling they had of dissatisfaction; not knowing people; not being known. For how could they know each other? You met every day; then not for six months, or years. It was unsatisfactory, they agreed, how little one knew people"

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway