The Mark on the Wall

“The Mark on the Wall” as a Representation of the Thought Process 12th Grade

“Everything’s moving, falling, slipping, vanishing… There is a vast upheaval of matter." (Woolf 89). In Virginia Woolf’s 1917 “The Mark on the Wall”, the narrator is reflecting on the day she saw a marking on her wall and became utterly perplexed by it. As she stares at the wall, the thoughts in her head seem meaningless, just random ideas strung together as they enter her mind. She claims not to be able to remember anything, which is the real purpose of her reveries in this stream-of-consciousness narrative. Upon further consideration, however, it becomes clear that she is really describing the thought process and its challenges, and how difficult it becomes to focus when one is overcome with thought.

As the story opens, the narrator attempts to identify the first time she noticed the mark. This is accomplished by her recollection of the way the fire lit up the pages of her book, and how she was holding a cigarette, making it clear that it was both winter and after her dinnertime. At this point, her memory is serving a purpose, helping her focus on the mark and discover what it is. Yet as she sees the fire, her mind wanders to an old daydream of a fire-colored flag waving over a castle, as knights march by in front (Woolf 83)....

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