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The Mark on the Wall
Transcript of The Mark on the Wall
The Mark on the Wall
By Virginia Woolf
1) In order to see the true meaning to life, you must be open to other people's point of view.
2) Judgement is based upon the viewer, and how their opinion changes.
3) World War 1 s a reminder of the conflict in the world
4) Is life's purpose or meaning accidental?
5) Women have a struggle for their civil rights.
Born on January 25th, 1882 in Kensington, Middlesex, England
Thought to have had bipolar disorder
Written in England, 1921
At first, her belief is that the mark is an indentation (further away).
Second, she observed that it could be a discoloration of the wall (level with).
Third, she understood that it could be a protrusion (that was closer than the wall).
Her perspective of the mark on the wall changes throughout the short story, even though she never gets up from her seat, directly across the room.
The short story is an attempt at using a variation of stream-of-consciousness writing, which was a modernist approach at fictional writing.
Her thoughts revolve around the black spot on the wall, which she discusses, and then goes on tangents repeatedly.
To the Lighthouse
A Room of One's Own
1) Woolf, Virginia. The Mark on the Wall. Richmond: Hogarth, 1919. Print.
2)"The Mark on the Wall - a Tutorial, Study Guide & Commentary." Mantex The Mark on the Wall Comments. N.p., 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 01 Feb. 2015. <http://www.mantex.co.uk/2013/04/01/the-mark-on-the-wall/>.
3) Marder, Herbert. "The Mark on the Wall: Overview." Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 1 Feb. 2015.
Setting of The Mark on the Wall
time: mid January, 1920s
Focused on feminist themes in her works.
realizes the mark on the wall
describes her living room with the fire
noticed the mark on the wall through the smoke of her cigarette
describes the mark on the wall as small, black on the white wall, and that it is 6-7 inches above the mantle piece
speculates that the mark could be from a nail, but not from a picture
thinks about the people who used to live in her house
Decides that the mark on the wall is not made by a nail: "it's too big, too round" (Woolf 3).
has an epiphany about how people do not have control over their possessions
she recalls all the items that she has lost over the years.
Reveals that the the mark is not a hole
says that it could be left over from a small rose leaf
the author wants to be deeper with her thoughts, wants to be like Shakespeare who always has ideas
digresses into talking about a Shakespearean scene
she wants her thoughts to be pleasing, and wonderful to think about
alludes to the fact that she wants to be a more genuine person who does not like getting complimented
talks about ones reflections and how people and yourself perceive you
there are rules for everything and there was also a rule for tablecloths
the rule for tablecloths was that "they should be made with tapestry with little yellow compartments marked upon them" (195)
speaker proposes the idea of men switching to be a woman, because life is always through the man's point of view
goes back to the mark on the wall
the mark is not fully circular
the mark casts a shadow
goes off to talk about South Downs, Tombs vs. Camps, antiquaries, and Retired Colonels
contemplates getting up from the chair and looking at the mark on the wall to see what it really is
"nothing is proved, nothing is known" (196)
finds it pointless to go see what it is because to others it might be something else
another idea of it being a head of a gigantic old nail
She realizes that she can think of what the mark is just as well sitting down rather than standing up at it.
doubts all the the knowledge that she has already learned
digression about a quiet, spacious world
she talks about the philosophy of Whitaker
wants nature to comfort and not enrage, so people should
the speaker finds peace with the mark on the wall
now the speaker fully understands the realness of the mark
the speak says that wood is a nice thing to think about because wood grows on trees and when trees grow they do not pay attention to anything else but themselves
likes to think of fish, water-beetles
the speaker gets so far off track that she does not know what she was thinking in the first place
The speaker finally has an epiphany about the mark on the wall when she starts to get frustrated with the war that is going on.
the mark was a snail
she finds out that the mark was a snail from someone else, the person who was going to get the newspaper.
Character Analysis: Speaker
The short story has one character, who is unnamed
the main character: goes into talking about many different people, including: previous owners of the house, God, Shakespeare, Charles the First,
many people think that the person dictating the short story is Woolf herself
This character has strong opinions about the mark on the wall that lead her into discussions about various topics.
jumps around from thought to thought (many seem irrelevant)
Her symptoms of bipolar disorder are prevalent in her writing
small rose leaf
miniature picture of the stereotypical woman
the previous owners
Language and Diction
constant and defined
extended similes and metaphors to explain her thoughts and the mark on the wall
the writing that the author uses makes it seem like you are there talking to the speaker, it is written like a speech
the tone of this short story changes from thought to thought
sometimes the tone is emotional
others times the tone is very calm
imagery is used often
her passionate nature is shown when she digresses into various topics
In this short story, the author focused on a small thing and made it have a deeper meaning.
The author used this small imperfection to identify the flaws in people and also the good things in life.
Also with the mark on the wall, the author was able to show the readers that things are not always what it seems.
At the beginning, the speaker had no idea what the mark was, and she went through various ideas to finally come to the conclusion that it was a snail on the wall.
Vocabulary from the Short Story
- having symptoms of a fever; marked by intense emotion
- differing in an odd way that is unusual from the norm; obsessed
- continuing forever or for a very long time w/o stopping
- a large amount of rain that falls in one area
- carefully noticing problems or signs of danger
- quiet and secret in order to avoid being noticed
- the state of being in hell as a punishment after death
- an artificial mound usually over a grave
- a person who is knowledgeable or collects antiques
- the quality or state of being solid
- an aquatic bird, of the rail family
- a reduction in the number of employees or participants that occurs when people leave because they resign or retire
Character Analysis: Person Going to get the Newspaper
important character- he/she brings about the conclusion of the mysterious mark
It is implied that the speaker and this person going to get the newspaper live in the same house because this person references the wall as "our wall"
"Though it's no good buying newspapers.... Nothing ever happens. Curse this war; God damn this war!... All the same, I don't see why we should have a snail on our wall." (197)