I think the flowers are a powerful symbol of how she wants to be perceived. Clarissa wants it to look like she actually does something and is percieved as independent. Woolf begins the novel in her typical fashion, symbolically and methodically....
Sir William Bradshaw is a famous psychiatrist to whom Septimus' physician, Dr. Holmes, refers Septimus. Bradshaw notes that Septimus has had a complete nervous breakdown and suggests spending time in the country as a cure.
Clarissa Dalloway is the 52-year-old protagonist of the novel. She is Richard's wife and Elizabeth's mother, and, while reminiscing about her past, spends the day organising a party that will be held that night. She is self-conscious about her role in London high society.
Elizabeth Dalloway is Clarissa and Richard's 17-year-old daughter. She is said to look "oriental" and has great composure. Compared to her mother, she takes great pleasure in politics and modern history, hoping to be either a doctor or farmer in the future. She would rather spend time in the country with her father than at her mother's party.
Richard Dalloway is Clarissa's disconnected and haughty husband. He is immersed in his work in government.
Miss Doris Kilman, originally "Kiehlman", is Elizabeth's schoolmistress for history and is a born-again Christian. She has a degree in history and during the Great War was dismissed from her teaching job because "Miss Dolby thought she would be happier with people who shared her views about the Germans". She has a German ancestry and wears an unattractive mackintosh coat because she is uninterested in dressing to please others. She dislikes Clarissa intensely but loves to spend time with Elizabeth.
Sally Seton is a love interest of Clarissa's, with whom she shared a kiss, who is married to Lord Rosseter and has five boys. Sally had a strained relationship with her family and spent substantial time with Clarissa's family in her youth. She can be described as feisty as well as a youthful ragamuffin.
Lucrezia "Rezia" Smith is Septimus' Italian wife. She is burdened by his mental illness and believes she is judged because of it. During most of the novel she is homesick for her family and country, which she left to marry Septimus after the Armistice.
Septimus Warren Smith is a World War I veteran who suffers from "shell shock" and hallucinations of his deceased friend, Evans. Educated and decorated in the war, he is detached from society. He is married to Lucrezia, from whom he has grown distant.
Peter Walsh is an old friend of Clarissa's. In the past, she rejected his marriage proposal. Now he has returned to England from India and is one of Clarissa's party guests. He plans to marry Daisy, a married woman in India, and has returned to try to arrange a divorce for his current wife.
Hugh Whitbread is a pompous friend of Clarissa's, who holds an unspecified position in the British Royal household. Like Clarissa, he places great importance on his place in society. Although he believes he is an essential member of the British aristocracy, Lady Bruton, Clarissa, Richard, and Peter find him obnoxious.
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